Renault Scenic

Is new five-seat people carrier class leader?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Renault’S strong MPV pedigree shines through in the new Scenic – it’s still a real contender in the class it created 13 years ago. Under the inoffensive styling is a clever interior with 86 litres of hidden storage space, while there’s an engine to suit all buyers. Adding to the appeal are the competitive prices – the new model is not only cheaper than its predecessor, it undercuts all its key rivals, too.

Europe’s favourite compact MPV is back – and it’s roomier, better equipped and cheaper than ever! We’ve already tested the long-wheelbase, seven-seat Grand Scenic (Issue 1,067) – but Renault expects this standard five-seater to account for nearly three-quarters of sales. We tried the 1.5 dCi Privilege version.

Smaller dimensions give the Scenic the styling edge over the Grand. Even so, Renault designers have played it safe again with the exterior. Inside, cabin quality is far better, with a curvy soft-touch dash and chunky switchgear.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Renault Scenic

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There’s plenty of headroom and rear legroom is class-leading. With the sliding back bench in place, there’s up to 437 litres of space. Fold it flat and that increases to 1,837 litres.

There are three petrol engines and five diesels, with outputs ranging from 85bhp to 158bhp. Our 1.5-litre dCi 106 oil-burner was both punchy and smooth.

Underpinnings shared with the Mégane hatch deliver solid handling and a comfortable ride – it’s certainly better than the more cumbersome Grand Scenic. And while the digital dials are a matter of taste, the built-in TomTom sat-nav gives our top-spec Privilege an upmarket feel. With prices from £13,595, that’s some achievement.

Rival: VW Golf Plus pitched as the Golf for those who need extra room. But the Plus doesn’t offer much more space than the standard hatch, its handling isn’t as precise and the tall roofline spoils the looks.

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