Renault Scenic Conquest (2007-2009) review
The family-friendly Renault is more of a spec choice than a standalone mud-plugger.
Driving The Renault has excellent road manners. While the chassis and suspension have been modified to improve comfort over rough terrain, ride quality on tarmac also benefits; the car is even smoother than the standard model. This means it’s an incredibly effortless and relaxed cruiser. However, body roll isn’t that well contained, and while the Scenic turns in neatly, it doesn’t feel as poised as it could. The electric power steering isn’t great, either – it seems over-assisted and lacks feedback. There are no gripes with the 1.9 dCi engine though. It’s punchy and responsive, and never feels strained, even under load. Do note that it’s not a true off-roader, though: the drivetrain lacks four-wheel-drive.
Marketplace Renault bosses claim the Conquest ‘crossover MPV’ is equally at home tackling high kerbs and potholes as it is muddy country tracks. The differences over the standard Scenic people carrier aren’t immediately obvious though; normally colour-coded bumpers are now black, leaving it look dated, and the 20mm increase in ride height is modest. However, the cladded wheelarches, roof rails and skid plates do help it stand out. The model range is limited to one trim and two engines, a 2.0-litre petrol or the 1.9-litre dCi diesel. Equipment levels are reasonable, with the Renault including climate control, cruise control and six airbags. Its chief rival is SEAT’s similarly conceived Altea Freetrack 4, though the Nissan Qashqai is also a key competitor.
Owning The Conquest is very roomy inside and offers a mammoth maximum boot capacity of 1,840 litres. The three rear chairs fold and tumble individually, or can be taken out completely. Rear passenger space isn’t quite as generous though, but neat touches make up for it – side window blinds and tray tables, underfloor cubby holes and a central stowage unit. The driving environment has an airy feel and the dash is stylish – enhanced by contour lines on the centre console, complementing orange stitching for the steering wheel and seats. It’s frugal – we returned over 40mpg when we tested the diesel – and should prove cheap to service. However, resale estimates are gloomy: our experts predict the Conquest will retain less than 30 per cent of its list price.