When Renault launched its new 1.6 dCi engine last year, the first model to have it installed was the Grand Scenic, which gave us a very good reason to run the seven-seater on the BusinessCar fleet for six months.

The low-emitting (115g/km) 130hp diesel powertrain did not disappoint, especially on the motorway. One particular late-evening post-rush hour motorway cruise revealed a smooth, very able performer with responsive acceleration – even when close to the 70mph speed limit. Unfortunately, for both me and the car, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to experience this pleasure often enough, as the Grand Scenic spent more time in urban conditions than on open roads. Naturally, this had a negative effect on average fuel economy, and while those longer runs returned mpg in the mid-40s, being starved of uninterrupted higher-speed trips never gave the car a chance of achieving anywhere near the official fuel consumption figure of 64.2mpg (see ‘Renault Grand Scenic fuel log’ graph’).

Like the engine, the interior was another agreeable aspect. The cabin felt spacious, a feeling confirmed by Renault’s class-leading claims regarding some of the more notable interior measurements, and featured an excellent TomTom satnav [1], ample storage space, including under the seats [2], and flexible rear seating. There were even nice touches, such as the child-minder mirror that gives the driver a clear view of your toddlers sat in the second row of seats, and drinks-holder trays for occupants in the second row. [3]

There were, though, a few dislikes. The slim-profile key was forever playing hide and seek in jeans pockets and (my wife’s) handbags. And I couldn’t overcome my initial impression of not being keen on the exterior styling, while others objected to the unintuitive dashboard layout, although both issues have been addressed in the recently facelifted Scenic range.

But that, admittedly small, list of complaints hasn’t been enough to spoil the overriding impression of the Grand Scenic being a far better mode of family transport than I suspected it would be when it first arrived in the BusinessCar car park half a year ago, despite us not getting the best economy possible from the 1.6 dCi.

Renault Grand Scenic 1.6 dCi 130 Dyn. TT
Mileage 5941
Claimed combined
Our average
Forecast CPM 53.8p
Actual CPM 58.7p
Why we’re
running it
To sample Renault’s crucial
new 1.6 diesel engine in
the UK’s most fuel-efficient
Plus Engine power and
refinement, storage
Minus Exterior, slim-profile
key, dash layout