ANY talk of Renault ditching diesel in the foreseeable future can be taken with a pinch of salt as the French car maker launches its first hybrid in the shape of the fourth generation Scenic MPV.
And the engine it has chosen to hook up to an electric motor for ultra fuel economy is none other than its 1.5-litre diesel tuned to slash emissions to 92g/km.
That's more than 80 to the gallon on paper and in everyday conditions it is good for 60mpg as we have just discovered.
The hybrid is one of five power options Renault will be offering on the all-new Scenic which is set to reclaim its throne as king of the compact MPVs - a sector it created when the Megane Scenic first arrived 20 years ago.
In that time it has grown and grown and is now almost as large as Renault's original Espace seven seater.
And in a nod to the current crossover craze Renault has given the new Scenic some SUV traits such as an elevated driving position and purposeful looks.
The new Scenic - and the even longer Grand Scenic - sit on 20-inch alloys as standard, a first for MPVs and the first time a car has gone into production with bigger wheels than the concept model shown at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2011.
Renault's new design theme is distinctive and eye-catching and the latest Scenic impresses in every department.
It's longer and wider than the current model which makes for more room inside and the cabin is as trendy as they come with the dashboard dissected by a vertically-mounted touchscreen.
The instrument panel uses high tech graphics and in front of the driver - no longer in the middle of the facia as on previous generations.
A head up display is standard on higher grade trims and sat nav is fitted on all but the basic model.
The Scenic has built its reputation on being family friendly and the new one takes that up a league.
Boot space is huge ranging from a minimum of 572 litres or 720 litres depending on the position of the sliding rear seats.
There is even more room in the Grand Scenic with rearmost pair of its seven seats folded and with a quick release function operated from a button in the boot or from the touchscreen in the front all the back seats can drop flat in an instant.
Additional underfloor compartments are sited throughout the cabin, there are sturdy, fold-down tables on the back of the front seats and a large centre console that slides fore or aft, its reach extending from under the dash to the rear seats. It also includes a slide out drawer at the back.
It's all incredibly practical, very comfortable, can be set up with a variety of ambient light displays and all-in-all the new Scenic is an ideal family car.
While the rearmost seats on the Grand Scenic are realistically only for children the car itself is nearly 10 inches longer than the five seat model.
The bigger version also has a slightly different tailgate and rear light design but the word ‘Grand' does not appear anywhere on the body.
Power points are available for all occupants, Bluetooth is standard and the onboard software is intuitive to use.
From next year connectivity will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but that will be missing from the first batch of models due to arrive in December.
Performance data for both the regular Scenic and the Grand Scenic is nigh on identical and for an MPV with big wheels the ride and refinement is first class.
We tried the new Scenic with a variety of engines including the diesel hybrid and a 130bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol in the five seater plus a high powered 160bhp 1.6-litre diesel in the Grand version.
All three work well but the hybrid is particularly impressive. Around town and on a cold engine it averaged 61.4mpg and although performance figures still have to be ratified it was not lacking in power in any way.
Renault claims an official fuel return of 80.7mpg and the hybrid system is a clever set up that is permanently engaged to ease the workload on the engine.
As such it is mated to a six speed manual gearbox, drives in an utterly conventional manner and delivers great economy - some 10 per cent more efficient than the non-hybrid 1.5-litre diesel.
There is no impact on interior space with the batteries slung under the rear seats and the only visible difference is some extra gubbins under the bonnet to accommodate the equipment associated with the 10kW electric motor.
It does not have to be charged either as it is not a plug-in but a conventional hybrid powertrain which Renault will roll out onto other models with the new Megane next.
Fuel consumption on all the versions we sampled was good with the Grand Scenic - which was an automatic - returning an average of 52.3mpg against an official figure of 62.7 (emissions are 118g/km) and the petrol coming in at 38.2mpg compared to test results of 48.7mpg (129g/km).
Prices have still to be confirmed but with a new entry level trim in the line up the Scenic range will be cheaper than before at around £19,500 for the five seater and topping out in the region of £25,000.
The Grand Scenic will be £1,400 more expensive and the hybrid models, which will be on stream in the New Year add a further £1,000 to the price.