The start point for the best source of fleet information
With the new Scenic, Renault is seeking to give customers the car they want as well as the car they need. So the fourth generation promises SUV style with MPV practicality.
Looks may be subjective, but to our eyes the first part of Renault's mission has been achieved. User-choosers with a family who don't want to drive a frumpy box on wheels should certainly pay close attention to the new Scenic.
As with the outgoing range, there are both five-seat (Scenic) and seven-seat (Grand Scenic) versions. We've driven both, but it's the five-seat car we'll focus on here.
Engines and emissions
There are two petrol engines - 115hp or 130hp - and from launch there are three diesels, offering 110hp, 130hp or 160hp. In the spring of 2017 Renault will add a diesel-hybrid to the line-up, with carbon dioxide emissions of just 92g/km.
Until then, the engine variant with the lowest emissions - the 110hp 1.5-litre diesel - is the one expected to prove most popular with fleet customers. It's refined, quiet, and competitive in terms of economy and its carbon output.
With a six-speed manual gearbox it returns 72.4mpg on the combined cycle and emits 100g/km of CO2 (that rises to 104g/km with the seven-speed EDC auto). That matches the emissions of the equivalent Citroen C4 Picasso and beats the Ford C-max 1.5 TDCi by 5g/km. It's a solitary gramme behind the BMW 216d Active Tourer.
Cleverly, Renault has achieved these frugal and tax-friendly numbers even with standard-fit 20-inch alloy wheels. Normally, such big alloys worsen emissions, but although the Scenic's wheels fill the arches nicely they are relatively narrow to improve aerodynamics, and are fitted with low rolling-resistance tyres.
Driving the Scenic
Something else you might not expect with such big wheels is tall tyre sidewalls. These help protect the alloys from a brush with the kerb and also help the Scenic's ride comfort. Sharp bumps and potholes send a thump through the cabin, but otherwise the Renault's suspension is acceptably smooth.
It's not as entertaining as a Ford C-max, though. Even with the Multi-Sense system set to Sport mode, adding weight to the wheel and sharpening the throttle, the Scenic is rather bland to drive.
Space and practicality
Practicality rather than handling is more likely to be a deciding factor when choosing between MPVs. Certainly the Scenic has lots of storage space, with a huge sliding centre console with 13 litres of space, as well as storage under the feet of rear-seat passengers.
Boot space is class-leading, with 572 litres with all five seats upright. The rear seats fold flat at the push of button, using either the touchscreen or a control to one side of the tailgate.
However, whereas the old Scenic had three individual rear seats, the new car has a 60/40 split rear bench. It still slides back and forth on runners, but some of the flexibility of the old design has been lost. What's more, that huge boot seems to have come at the expense of passenger space, as legroom isn't especially generous.
We've already touched on the Renault's competitive emissions, but how does the Scenic stack up in terms of other costs?
Thanks to lower emissions that the equivalent Ford C-max, higher-rate taxpayers would be £4 per month better off with the Renault. However, because of its significantly lower P11D value, the closest Citroen C4 Picasso works out £18 cheaper.
Groupe Renault's sales boss Nick Tame says he feels residual value predictions for the new Scenic are conservative. Time will tell, but as it stands the Scenic's 28.8% three-year retained value outperforms the C-max by a scant 0.1%, and beats the C4 Picasso by 2.1%. However, none of these mainstream MPVs come close to the BMW 2-series Active Tourer, which retains 36%, according to KwikCarcost's figures.
That bullish resale value is the main reason the BMW has a lower cost-per-mile figure than the other rivals we've benchmarked the Scenic against, at 51.8p. The Renault sits between the Citroen and the Ford with a cost of 53.8p.
Renault Scenic Dynamique S Nav dCi 110
Model price range: £21,390-£30,590
Residual value: £7,300 (28.8%)
Service, maintenance and repair: £1,796
Vehicle Excise Duty: £0
National insurance: £2,313
Cost per mile: 53.8p
Fuel consumption: 72.4mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 100g/km (20%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £85/£169
Boot space: 572 litres
Engine size/power: 1,461cc/110hp
The SUV styling is a hit and the boot is huge, but otherwise the Scenic is competitive rather than class-leading.