Renault Grand Scenic review
The Renault Grand Scenic is highly efficient, spacious and flexible inside
Often regarded as the original seven-seat MPV, the Renault Grand Scenic has been given a mid-life refresh to keep it up to speed with rivals like the Ford Grand C-MAX and Toyota Verso. There are two engines offered, and the range has been simplified so there’s now just one trim level to choose from. The Scenic and Grand Scenic are both well priced, comfortable and spacious inside, and what it lacks in dynamic poise is more than made up for with high equipment levels and superb ride comfort.
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Both the Scenic and larger Grand Scenic have been updated for 2012, and Renault’s designers have aimed to move it upmarket. To help achieve that there’s a new chrome grille and gloss black inserts in a neater front-end which now includes LED running lights. Extra styling touches like chrome roof rails and bigger alloy wheels are available as optional extras. Inside a low window line means there’s great visibility all round, and a large colour display mounted in the middle of the dash takes the place of traditional dials, and the interior of the Grand Scenic has a lounge-like feel.
The best petrol engine is the 115bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol. It’s cleaner than the entry-level 1.6-litre VVT unit, but both can feel breathless and underpowered in a car of this size and weight. The 110bhp 1.5-litre diesel manages 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds, but it's noisy. The pick of the range is the flagship 1.6-litre diesel with 130bhp. It’s really smooth and delivers strong in-gear acceleration. The Scenic isn’t very sporty though, and doesn’t drive as sharply as bigger rivals like the Ford S-MAX, focusing instead on giving a comfortable, relaxing ride and high levels of refinement.
Renault has a strong reputation for safety, and the Grand Scenic is no exception, and comes fully loaded with eight separate airbags. Other standard safety features include traction control, seat belt pre-tensioners and adjustable head restraints on all of the seven-seats. Reliability could be a worry as some of the interior fittings aren’t up to the standards of its rivals. No major problems have been reported for mechanical like the engines or gearboxes, but the Scenic won’t hold its value as well as a Ford S-MAX or VW Touran.
The Grand Scenic is one of the most practical cars on sale, with fully removable seats, hidden storage bins in the floor of the passenger footwells, foldable picnic tables for the middle row, huge door pockets and an optional sliding centre console that can be moved back and forth to improve rear legroom. The back seats slide and recline too, and the tall roofline means head room is decent even in the third row. The seats are cumbersome to remove, but it creates a huge amount of luggage space. Touches like the integrated sun blinds and a storage area for the boot's tonneau cover only boost its appeal as family transport.
The 1.5-litre diesel posts amazingly frugal economy stats and combined with Renault’s start/stop system it will return a combined 68.9mpg and emits just 105g/km. However the bigger 1.6 diesel only adds another 9g/km to that total. The Scenic also sits in a lower insurance group then some rivals, and Renault’s new 4+ servicing scheme which includes free servicing, roadside assitance, unlimited mileage warranty and 0% finance gives the Renault a real edge over manufacturers with more basic after care packages.