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Renault Grand Scenic

If you thought Renault's latest mini-MPV was stylish, then we're pleased to tell you it has got even more Scenic! The seven-seat version of the Megane-based car has just gone on sale, dubbed the Grand, and as well as having an extra pair of chairs, it's 23cm longer than the five-seater model.

The Grand Scenic looks set to be this year's must-have accessory outside primary schools. Effectively a baby Espace, it has the bigger car's comfort and refinement, plus a dash of styling flair. It will benefit from strong residual values, but there are cheaper alternatives on the market if you place practicality over elegant design.

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If you thought Renault's latest mini-MPV was stylish, then we're pleased to tell you it has got even more Scenic! The seven-seat version of the Megane-based car has just gone on sale, dubbed the Grand, and as well as having an extra pair of chairs, it's 23cm longer than the five-seater model.

While the Grand manages to avoid an ugly rear overhang, some may prefer the shorter lines of its stablemate. But we think it is better looking than rivals such as the Vauxhall Zafira and VW Touran, with a more modern front end and a larger glass area.

Thanks to the latter, the interior feels bright, especially with our test car's beige trim. Forward visibility is excellent, while the driving position is superb, with supportive seats, a clear dash and stubby stalks which are a delight to use. And a clever sliding centre console offers a generous 15 litres of storage. Renault has achieved this by fitting an electronic switch-operated handbrake, although this is fiddly and awkward.

Space for passengers in the rearis best described as adequate. There isn't much leg or shoulder room for adults, especially for those in the rearmost row. The fold-down chairs are very simple to operate, though, and are erected by simply pulling a cord.

We drove the 120bhp 1.9-litre dCi version, as the diesel models are expected to account for one in three sales in the UK . The engine feels livelier than its performance figures suggest and is refined at cruising speeds, while the six-speed automatic gearbox proves pleasant to use.

In top Privilege spec, the Grand Scenic isn't cheap - even the 1.6 petrol costs £17,000-plus - but lesser models represent good value, with the mid-range Expression giving the best combination of pricing and equipment. A fine offering, then, which will no doubt continue the Scenic success story.

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