Renault Grand Scenic

Dynamique S Nav dCi

130

Renault Grand Scenic, dynamic
Renault Grand Scenic, front quarter
Renault Grand Scenic, boot
Renault Grand Scenic, front quarter
Renault Grand Scenic, profile
Renault Grand Scenic, rear seats
Renault Grand Scenic, interior
Renault Grand Scenic, rear interior

RENAULT kick-started the compact MPV revolution when it launched the Megane Scenic in 1996.

Bosses at the French car maker apparently expected it to be a niche product. How wrong could they be?

The clever use of cabin space, imaginative storage solutions practical touches made it an instant hit and a year later it had been voted European Car of the Year.

Scenics rapidly became a common sight on the school run and firm favourites with family buyers, sparking a flurry of imitations, and the seven-seat Grand Scenic debuted with the second generation in 2003 - adding even more flexibility.

In the last decade, though, the rise of stylish compact SUVs and crossovers has provided stern competition for MPVs, which has seen the impetus fall away.

This fourth-generation Grand Scenic, along with its five-seat counterpart, is out to reinvigorate the class with some stunning looks and even more innovations in terms of space, practicality and everyday usability.

With 36 different versions across the two body styles, two petrol and three diesel engines, six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes and a hybrid due anytime now, there's certainly no lack of choice.

And there's plenty of visual impact too, characterised by huge 20-inch alloys, muscular wheel arches and a bulbous nose - all echoing those chunky SUVs.

Along the flanks the design language mirrors that of Renault's other family models and the steeply raked windscreen and sloping roofline ensure that the Grand Scenic avoids the van-like appearance of many MPVs.

This car was powered by the 1.6-litre diesel engine tuned to pump out 130ps and had sufficient oomph to propel this sizeable family bus along without any signs of strain.

Performance can't be described as sporty - even with the five-mode drive select programme in sport setting - but it pulls well across a wide rev range, proving perfectly civilised in town and relaxed and refined on the motorway.

Handling is assured and controlled with less body roll in corners than many rivals, and this is a perfectly easy car to pilot although, like most MPVs, it can't match a family hatchback or saloon for engagement.

What you get in spades is all the space and practicality that is expected of an MPV as Renault push the boat out in search of family-friendly features.

The entire centre console, for instance, slides forwards and backwards to reveal or hide two cup holders and also features a spacious draw for those in the back as well as the usual compartment under the armrest.

Hidden storage spaces in the footwells have long been a Scenic staple, and are present here, as have aeroplane-style drop down tables but these now feature ridges and restraints to support a tablet, with two USB charging ports within reach - so there's no danger of the kids running short of power or entertainment on long trips.

As with most seven-seat MPVs, the rearmost pair are probably best reserved for youngsters but the 60-40 split middle row slide forwards and backwards independently to help with access and strike a comfortable balance in terms of legroom.

With seven seats in use the Grand Scenic still offers a useable load space and all five rear ones can be folded individually or simultaneously via switches in the boot or, even more impressively, from the 8.7-inch portrait style touchscreen that features in Dynamique S Nav trim cars and above.

This heads a generous list of safety and comfort equipment that also includes active brake assist, satnav, climate control, digital radio, Bluetooth, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition and cruise control.

FAST FACTS

Renault Grand Scenic Dynamique S Nav dCi 130

Price: £28,445

Mechanical:130ps, 1,600cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front 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: 25%

Warranty:4yrs/100,000 miles

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