Renault Scenic review

Our Rating: 
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Renault Scenic is a stylish five-seat MPV that offers a degree of practicality and low running costs

Smooth and punchy diesel engines, smart looks, family-friendly touches
Poor resale values, rivals have more kit as standard, seating could be more flexible

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The Renault Scenic is credited with founding the mini-MPV segment. By combining the compact dimensions of a family hatchback with the practicality of a people carrier it opened the way to a succession of family-friendly imitators.

The Scenic was launched back in 1996, and now this third-generation version still near the head of the class - although there are now other talented rivals in the form of the Ford C-MAX, Citroen C4 Picasso and Vauxhall Zafira.

The latest Renault Scenic has more space than ever and, if that isn't enough, you can always opt for the seven-seater version - the Renault Grand Scenic.

The Renault Scenic is now available in rugged XMOD form, too, which adds mud and snow tyres, different bumpers, plastic cladding and roof rails.

There's a wide choice of efficient petrol and diesel engines - the 130bhp 1.6-litre dCi is one of the cleanest engines of its kind on the market and extremely cheap to run.

The Renault Scenic offers a generous amount of equipment and accessories, including cruise control, air-conditioning and electric windows as standard.

Our choice: Scenic Dynamique TomTom 1.6 dCi 130 Start&Stop



It's very difficult to make an MPV like the Renault Scenic visually appealing but a 2013 update saw the car gain a new grille, with a large Renault badge taking centre stage. It's a far sharper look than before but it's still not as distinctive as a Citroen C4 Picasso.

The new, rugged XMOD version of the Renault Scenic adds 30mm to the ride height, black plastic cladding to the wheelarches, doors and bumpers as well as silver skid plates to the front and rear. Visually, it certainly offers more than the dull Volkswagen Touran.

Inside the Renault Scenic, you'll find a centrally-mounted instrument cluster with a clear TFT display. Meanwhile, TomTom models - as the name would suggest - include a sat-nav screen. It's just a shame that the Renault Scenic's cheap and hard plastics mean the Citroen C4 Picasso edges it slightly in terms of interior styling.



The Renault Scenic offers great visibility thanks to its high driving position, and the new XMOD versions provide you with a great view of the road thanks to a 30mm increase in ride height.

The Renault Scenic is quite similar to the Renault Megane in that it offers decent handling and a smooth ride - that's because both share similar components and suspension. In corners, the Renault Scenic isn't as composed as the Volkswagen Touran - there's lots of grip but body control isn't that great and you'll experience a high degree of lean. Cornering is never going to be a key selling point for an MPV anyway so a little stodginess on the road isn't a major point of concern.

The 109bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine isn't nearly as efficient as the diesels and it feels quite underpowered too. The star of the show is the 1.6-litre dCi turbo diesel which offers a great balance of performance and efficiency - it manages to return 64.2mpg and emits just 114g/km of CO2.

All-new XMOD models get Renault's Grip Xtend system, which allows you to tailor the traction control to suit the terrain. There are three settings: Road, Loose Ground and Expert.



The Renault Scenic achieved a best-in-class ranking in our 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey - it came fourth out of 100 top cars. Owners were thrilled with the Renault Scenic, commending its practicality, ride and technology.

The latest Renault Scenic hasn't been tested by Euro NCAP yet, but previous generations have fared well so you can expect this car to be much the same. The larger, seven-seat Renault Grand Scenic has been tested and it received the full five stars with 91 per cent for adult occupant protection - that's another fine performance from Renault.

Renault as a manufacturer climbed six places to finish 21st out of 32 in our manufacturers rankings. Meanwhile, there have been no major recalls or problems reported so far.

The Renault Scenic comes fitted with electronic stability control (ESP), ISOFIX child seat anchor points and six airbags fitted as standard.



As you'd expect from an MPV, this is where the Renault Scenic excels. With all five seats in place boot space is 522 litres but with the back seats removed this expands to a massive 1,837 litres.

The Reanult Scenic's boot opening isn't as wide as you'll find with the Citroen C4 Picasso, but there's still a flat load lip which makes loading bulky items that little bit easier.

There's lots of handy storage space in the Renault Scenic, including underfloor compartments in the front and rear, deep door bins, and storage trays beneath the front seats.

The back seats slide back and forth to prioritise either passenger legroom or the amount of space on offer in the boot. You can even take the back seats out completely if you really need all that space. Meanwhile, the seven-seater Renault Grand Scenic is available for those wanting a little bit more practicality.

Running Costs


The cheapest option in the engine range is the 1.6-litre petrol, but it isn't all that economical, returning 36.7mpg and emitting 178g/km of CO2. The 1.2-litre petrol isn't much better - it manages 46.3mpg and emits 140g/km of CO2.

You'd be better off with one of the diesels, preferably the 1.5-litre dCi fitted with stop-start technology. This returns 68.9mpg and emits only 105g/km of CO2. The 1.6-litre dCi is also quite frugal, it manages 64.2mpg and emits a respectable 114g/km of CO2.

Spare parts shouldn't be hard to come by due to the popularity of the Renault Scenic, while insurance and servicing should be relatively cheap thanks to Renault's 4+ offer which includes a warranty, servicing and roadside assistance.

Last updated: 28 Jan, 2014
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