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Renault Scenic: Test Drive Review

Date: 19 June 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Mini-MPV
P11D price: £20,000 (est.)
Key rival: Citroen C4 Picasso

Following hard on the heels of the seven-seat Grand Scenic, Renault is now launching the five-seat version simply badged Scenic.

As with its larger sibling and other new Renaults launched in the past year, the most noticeable change has been to the quality of the interior.

The quality levels are impressive in both the type of material and the construction, and well above those if its rivals.

Helping the quality feel is the introduction of a digital TV-style screen in the dash that replaces mechanical instruments. It is placed off-centre and is only compromised by the fact that on the left-hand drive cars we tested, parts of the speedo display (mainly the fuel gauge) were obscured by the rim of the steering wheel. The steering wheel can be adjusted to avoid this clash, but this means suffering a less than ideal driving position.

As you'd expect in a car in this segment of the market there's plenty of room inside for five adults, although taller people sitting in the rear will find their heads brushing the roof, where a sunroof is fitted.

The rear seats easily fold (and can also be slid back and forth) but are heavy and difficult to remove and refit should you want maximum boot space. Handily, the front passenger seat also folds flat so you can fit loads of up to 2.5m in length if you need to.

The boot cover is hard, which is good for putting things on (which you shouldn't do from a safety perspective), but bad from a stowage point-of-view should it need to be removed.

The only engine available to drive on the Scenic launch was the 1.5-litre 110dCi, which will not be coming to the UK because it's fitted with a particulate trap that worsens CO2 and mpg and adds cost. The UK gets a 106 dCi version, which is more economic (57.6mpg and 130g/km compared to 54.3mpg and 136g/km) but does without a particulate filter.

The driving experience is mainly comfortable, but can jiggle over some particularly rutted surfaces. However, Renault has reduced the amount of body roll in the Scenic over the previous generation model. Meanwhile, the 1.5 diesel pulls well and has smooth power delivery, although the gearing seems too short for economical motorway driving because at 70mph in sixth gear the rev counter's at 2500rpm when rival engines would typically be at 2000rpm. But despite this the extra-urban fuel figure is still at a reasonable 62mpg.

If you're after the highest quality five-seat MPV, the Scenic is probably the car of choice this side of a Mercedes B-class.

Renault Scenic Privilege
1.5 dCi 110 manual
P11D price£20,000*
Model price range£13,595-£22,295
Fuel consumption54.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 136g/km (18%)
BIK 20/40% per month£60/£120
Service interval18,000mls
Insurancegroup 13*
Boot space (min/max)437/1837 litres
Engine size/power1461cc/110PS
Top speed/0-62mph112mph/12.3secs
On sale 17 July 2009**
VerdictThe quality offering
in mini-MPVs
* estimated ** But not the 110dCi


The quality offering in mini-MPVs