Renault really understands what family buyers want and that approach has helped the new Grand Scenic score a well deserved victory in this test. It fully justifies its place in the company’s refreshed line-up and everything from the revised stereo to the comprehensive aftersales package shows that Renault is trying to address its traditional weaknesses.
There are brilliant family-friendly touches like the convex mirror, which lets you see what’s going on in the back from the driving seat, and they demonstrate the depth of the company’s MPV expertise. You also get a generous supply of stowage cubbies and these user-friendly details help to compensate for the Grand Scenic’s less flexible seating arrangement.
In contrast, the miserly equipment list, poorly judged pricing structure and firm ride of the Vauxhall make it difficult to recommend after driving the Renault. The Zafira Tourer is not a bad car – it features a versatile and practical seating system and looks bang up to date – but it sits somewhere in the middle of the MPV segment.It’s too expensive for a compact model and too small to rival a full-sized people carrier.
In the end, that costs it dearly as the cheaper Renault is just as big inside, more comfortable and comes loaded with desirable kit.
Renault Grand Scenic ★★★★
A masterly performance by the Renault sees it return to the ranks of the compact MPV class leaders. It’s not as agile as the Zafira, but its focus on comfort rather than thrills makes it a brilliant family car. The revised looks, advanced engine and superb kit count only serve to maximise its appeal. Renault’s 4+ package is the icing on the cake.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer ★★★
Another near miss by the Vauxhall as it records a second straight defeat. With its striking design, premium interior and clever seats, it has all the ingredients of a cracking MPV, but it fails to fulfil its potential. We’d gladly trade some of the Zafira’s poise for a more forgiving ride, and the Vauxhall is both more expensive and less well equipped than its rival.