Renault Grand Scenic

When it comes to people carriers, Renault is king of the school run. With a range of family ferriers which runs from the compact-MPV Modus to the full-sized Espace, all bases are covered.

While not a high-performance range-topper like the Vauxhall Zafira GSi, Renault's new 2.0-litre turbocharged Grand Scenic offers decent pace. With smooth power delivery and excellent refinement it is worth a look, but keen drivers will be disappointed. For most, the diesel variant makes more sense.

When it comes to people carriers, Renault is king of the school run. With a range of family ferriers which runs from the compact-MPV Modus to the full-sized Espace, all bases are covered.

But the firm also has a reputation for producing sparkling hot hatches, too. Combining the DNA from the Renault-sport performance line-up with the Grand Scenic's practicality was a logical step, but has it been a success?

The 2.0T version of the mid-sized MPV is a far cry from the full-on range-toppers which wear the Renaultsport badge, but it does provide the model with more power than ever before.

Under the bonnet, the new model has the same 2.0-litre engine found in lesser variants, but a turbocharger boosts the output to 163bhp. However, drivers expecting to set their pulses racing with rapid acceleration will be let down. Renault's claimed 0-62mph sprint time of 9.6 seconds may sound pessimistic, but the mid-sized MPV feels no quicker than that.

Rather than pure performance, the 2.0T provides smooth and accessible pace across the rev range, delivering its 270Nm peak torque at 3,250rpm.

As a result, this Grand Scenic is far more flexible than a typical turbo-charged model, with strong in-gear progress allowing the driver to be lazy with the standard six-speed gearbox, rather than being forced to shift down in order to accelerate.

The trouble is, Renault offers another torquey turbo model in the Grand Scenic line-up which betters the 2.0T's fuel consumption of 34.9mpg by an incredible 39.5 per cent, delivering an impressive 48mpg. The difference is that it runs on diesel. While the 1.9 dCi 120 takes a ponderous 12.2 seconds to get to 62mph, it will save the owner a fortune in running costs. What's more, with the same suspension as the 2.0T, the oil-burner's driver appeal isn't affected.

If refinement is key, then the petrol unit is far quieter and smoother, but for most the dCi will do the job. At £18,910, the 2.0T Dynamique model, featuring alloy wheels and rain-sensing wipers, is keenly priced, despite costing £500 more than an identically specced 1.9 dCi. Until now, Vauxhall has monopolised this sector with its sporty £20,995 Zafira GSi, but if it's only a mild performance hike that you are after, Renault's newcomer certainly fits the bill.

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