It was only when I was driving the Renault Scenic that I noticed how popular this MPV model is in Ireland. There were Scenics of all generations everywhere I looked.
The 2017 Renault Scenic however is very much a car of the now and makes the previous generations look like dowdy relatives. The new Renault Scenic is another design creation from Laurens van den Acker, the man responsible for the stream of gorgeous models the brand currently produces.
With MPVs looking like an endangered species with family car buyers switching rapidly to the perceived ‘cooler’ SUV, Renault has attempted to reinvent the Scenic and boost its desirability.
The styling of the Renault Scenic has been beefed up and given a significant injection of attitude. It really works and the Scenic is a beautiful car. After a few days driving the test car in Honey Yellow, I even felt quite cool. Believe me that’s a rare feeling when driving an MPV!
Inside, the interior has been overhauled with a large portrait style touchscreen being the focal point in the centre of the dash on higher trimmed models. There are hard plastics but plenty more soft touch materials too in the important places that you see and touch regularly.
There is an excellent feeling of space in the cabin and storage is very good too. Standard equipment (Expression+, from €26,000) includes 20” Silverstone alloy wheels, cruise control, LED DRLs, manual air conditioning, analogue dashboard, electronic handbrake, 7″ touchscreen, FM/AM/DAB tuner, Bluetooth® audio streaming and handsfree calls, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, automatic high/low beam.
Dynamique Nav starts from €29,100. My test car was a Dynamique S Nav model (from €33,300) and equipment includes 20” Exception alloy wheels, colour head up display, rear parking camera with front and rear parking sensors, panoramic fixed glass sunroof with electric sunblind, contrasting roof and door mirror colour, R-Link 2 multimedia system with 8.7″ touchscreen and navigation.
Top of the range Signature models start from €32,700.
I was testing the five seat Scenic (from €26,000), but there is also a seven seat ‘Grand Scenic’ (from €28,400). The Renault Scenic offers generous space even as a five seater compared to say an equivalent five seat hatchback like the Renault Megane. There are three individual seats in the back that can slide forward and back. The footwells are large and there is a flat space for the middle seat passenger to put their feet. Headroom is also beyond good.
Move around to the boot and again you can see how this car is more practical than a hatch. The boot is a huge 572 litres and it’s a large and square space that will be easy to load.
In Ireland, the Renault Scenic is available with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine (115hp), a 1.5-litre diesel (110hp) or a 1.6-litre diesel with 130hp or a 160hp version with automatic gearbox. My test car had the 1.6-litre dCi 130hp and it’s a robust engine for this car with plenty of power. It’s reasonably refined too, but makes itself known in the cabin when revved hard.
On the road, the Scenic is more about being a comfortable and spacious people carrier, than a pin sharp sporty one – but it does grip well and the steering is direct, albeit with little in the way of feedback. It’s more or less comfortable but there is some harshness over bumps.
Renault has done a tremendous job to give the new Scenic some credibility and as a family car it does tick the boxes exceptionally well for space and practicality. The MPV is an endangered species and the Scenic faces not just competition from other brands, but also from within the Renault camp: the five seat Kadjar SUV is similarly priced and arguably more engaging to drive.
But in terms of space and practicality at this price, the Scenic easily offers something different and when all those current owners decide it’s time for a trade in, the new Scenic will be a pleasant surprise.
Model tested: Renault Scenic Dynamique S Nav dCi 130
Price: €32,500 (Range starts at €26,000)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 11.4 seconds
CO2 emissions: 116g/km
Motor tax: €200 per year