THE fourth generation of Renault's Scenic and Grand Scenic family cars are now on sale.
The Scenic and Grand Scenic are each offered in four trim levels that owners of other Renault vehicles will be accustomed to - Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav. There are over 40 versions in the two bodystyles.
It sets new safety standards as the only model in its class fitted with standard active emergency braking and pedestrian detection. They get a full five-stars from Euro NCAP tests.
First introduced in 1996, with successive versions coming in 2003 and 2009, the newest MPV comes as Renault UK is seeing a boom in orders and more dealers joining their network.
Renault UK communications director Jeremy Townsend said: "Despite the growth in crossovers, the traditional MPV market still accounts for about 100,000 sales annually in Britain and the Scenic has always been a firm favourite.
"The fourth generation Scenic and Grand Scenic bring new levels of safety and more comprehensive features to customers as well as the latest powertrain technology and cleanest engines."
Renault UK has seen over 117,700 new cars registered this year and it is holding about 4.4 per cent of market share, compared to 2.4 per cent a year ago so the new models are coming as sales are surging for the brand in Britain.
Renault pushes the family card forward with a Scenic rear luggage capacity of 572 litres and 596 litres in the Grand Scenic if the rearmost seats are stowed while four underfloor compartments and other oddments room amount to 57 litres inside the car.
Some models get personalisation settings as we have seen on the Megane to alter dynamics and comfort as well as interior ambience, more sophisticated sound systems and added luxury features but all come with standard 20-inch wheels.
The Scenic and Grand Scenic are based on the company's Common Module Family platform which is scaleable for each car and system and used in the Kadjar.
The Grand Scenic wheelbase is 68mm longer and the overall length adds 228mm to the Scenic.
The launch range will see five engines, 115 and 130 1.2 litre petrol units, a 110 1.4 diesel, a 130 1.6 diesel or a 160 1.5 diesel with the six-speed automatic transmission. Next spring will see the addition of a 110 1.4 diesel with 10kw electric motor for the first hybrid in the popular range.
Scenic prices rise from £21,445 to £30,645 while the Grand Scenic enters at £23,375 and tops at £32,445.
The anticipated best sellers will be models with the 110 dCi engine, particularly in the Scenic, and we achieved a creditable 56.3mpg on an 80 mile route of mostly country roads.
There is excellent visibility for looking over hedgerows which gives you a chance to anticipate correct gears as the engine is not particularly gutsy and felt a bit sluggish from standstill.
The ride was generally good, slightly firm, but the body was quite well controlled negotiating a series of bends with little roll.
The longer Grand Scenic had a noticeably better ride and pickup but the price of using the 130hp to its fuller potential meant we saw the fuel economy plunge to 23.3mpg at times and selecting the Eco mode pushed it up to 30.3mpg overall.
With the extra seats you can have electric folding from the luggage area or through the R-Link on the big central display, a very useful feature with multitude of permutations.
The loadbed was low and wide, particularly good in the Grand Scenic and getting into the rearmost pair of seats would be fairly easy for a child.
The camera, sensors and parking aids will be welcomed by owners as the overall design does not give you a good view of corners. My driver colleague did complain about the distractions of using the central touch-screen for so many functions and likened it to using a mobile phone while driving, so our advice would be to set up as many defaults or standards settings before setting off.
Nevertheless, the sophistication and refinement of the Scenic and Grand Scenic will be appreciated by Renault owners and I think it will bring new buyers to the brand but you will need to carefully pick your powertrain to make sure you get what you want.