By Patrick James on 2017-02-19 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Renault Grand Scenic
Dynamique S Nav dCi
IT really is the truth that a near-neighbour stopped and asked what car had been parked outside the house that morning.
"It looked beautiful," he said.
If beautiful might be overstating it, yes, it is a truly good-looking MPV even if the longer Grand is not quite as striking as the smaller Scenic.
It is a big step forward in design and is the latest is a bold new line-up of models from Renault.
This fourth generation of the people carrier or MPV, launched at the end of last year, has bucked the crossover trend somewhat by retaining its DNA as a multi purpose vehicle.
Now wider and sitting higher on the road, it still looks sleek and elegant with steeply raked windscreen, large window areas and new quarter panels for better vision.
One of the styling highlights are the 20-inch alloy wheels, which can be customised with inserts, while the light clusters are also eye-catching.
The range-topper tested here also featured a full-length glass panoramic roof, which lets light flood the interior while aluminium roof bars are also standard on the Grand Scenic.
The snazzy look is replicated inside the car which offers traditional practicality with high levels of fit and finish and is decently equipped. All feature dual-zone climate control, a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, auto lights and wipers plus automatic braking.
It offers the largest stowage capacity in its class, together with, on the range topper, one-touch folding seats which can be operated from both front and rear, a first in its class.
In five seat configuration there are 596-litres of space, which opens up to van like proportions with all rear seats down. However, the rearmost seats really are only suitable for children or shorter adults if on a longer journey and with all seats in place luggage space is compromised.
In addition there is a large illuminated multi-function sliding centre console with 13 litres of space, where you can plug in your phone or music device through USB and audio ports, a further two USBs are available for rear seat passengers. It can slide forward to give extra legroom to the rear middle passenger.
Dominating the dash is a tablet-style touchscreen which houses Renault's Multi-Sense system to allow owners to personalise their driving experience and the R-LINK 2 connectivity system. It uses ‘pinch and zoom' screen and includes voice recognition for the navigation system, telephone use, apps and radio.
There are a number of engine options available, but the 130bhp diesel unit tested here offers plenty of urge and excellent economy, with a claimed 61.4mpg and 119g/km of CO2 emissions.
If you want to race this car to 60mph from a standing start, it will take just over 11 seconds, but that is not the point really, it is about comfort, practicality and economy.
So the ride is comfortable with the suspension despite the vehicle sitting on 20 inch wheels, soaking up bumps and potholes with little discomfort to the occupants. For an MPV handling is decent although there is definite lean into corners, while the steering is direct and responsive.
Safety measures are comprehensive. This model featured adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and traffic sign recognition, reversing camera and hands free parking, auto dip lights, plus the usual stability control, comprehensive list of airbags and assisted braking, all of which earns a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.
Renault Grand Scenic Dynamique S Nav dCi 130
Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,600cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 11.4 seconds
Combined MPG: 61.4
Insurance Group: 16
C02 emissions: 119g/km
Bik rating: 23%
Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles
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