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Renault Grand Scenic 2.0 dCi: Test Drive

Date: 24 April 2009   |   Author: Dan Trent

Renault Grand Scenic seats
Category: Mini-MPV
P11D price: £21,270
Key rival: Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

The original 1996 Scenic was a landmark car for Renault, with sales of more than two million.

Well over a million second-generation Scenics have also been sold but the sector has found itself under increasing pressure from trendier crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai and a new wave of smarter, cleaner compact small off-roaders, such as the lower-emitting versions of the two-wheel drive Ford Kuga and Volvo XC60.

So Renault is out to seize the initiative back with this all-new seven-seat Grand Scenic, based on the Megane launched in 2008 and due to be partnered with a smaller five-seat Scenic later this year.

Pricing is keen, starting at £14,995 while the biggest seller - the Dynamique 1.6 VVT petrol - costs £17,595, a £660 saving over the current equivalent.

The look has softened somewhat, losing some of the existing car's style in the process. But the cabin takes a significant step forward, both in space and quality. Indeed, compared with the recently launched Toyota Verso the Grand Scenic is in a different league, its Japanese rival offering decent practicality but a disappointingly plasticky interior.

Longer overall, an extra 36mm in the wheelbase helps boost interior space and versatility, the latter improved by doubling the middle row's sliding adjustment to an impressive 170mm.

With the third row stowed there's up to 702 litres of boot space as a result, and a still decent 208 litres available in seven-seat configuration.

Folding and unfolding the rear seats is an impressively straightforward, one-handed operation too.

Dynamique spec is the expected best seller. Standard features include...