New Renault Scenic E-Tech embarrasses Tesla Model Y on price and range
Renault’s latest electric family car focuses on practicality and sustainability, while offering range of up to 379 miles
Order books for the all-new all-electric Renault Scenic E-Tech are officially open, with prices starting from £40,995. This confirms that the new Scenic will significantly undercut its chief rival, the Tesla Model Y - the cheapest version of which is priced at whisker under £45k and offers close to 100 miles less range than the Renault.
Every Renault Scenic E-Tech sold in the UK is equipped with a single 217bhp electric motor and 87kWh battery that allows for an official range of up to 379 miles – roughly 40 miles further than any variant of the Tesla Model Y or the recently updated Volkswagen ID.4 can cover on a single charge. It's also more than 60 miles further than the longest range offered by the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Renault’s first electric SUV is offered in a choice of three trim levels: Techno, Esprit Alpine and Iconic, though even entry-level Scenics boast an impressive kit list that includes 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail-lights, heated seats and steering wheel, ambient lighting, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and a 12-inch central touchscreen. Apps like Google Maps come built-in, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, plus there’s a wireless charging pad.
Base models come packed with safety and driver assistance features as well, ranging from a reversing camera and parking sensors for the front and rear, to adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and an active emergency braking system with pedestrian and cyclist detection.
For an extra £2,500, Esprit Alpine trim gives the cabin a few sporty touches like sports seats, a bespoke steering wheel design, plus blue door panel inserts, carpets and stitching. The exterior gets satin grey detailing, 20-inch ‘speedway’ rims and Esprit Alpine badging.
Upgrading to top-of-the-range Iconic specification adds a further £2,000 to the price tag, and in return you get a unique set of 20-inch wheels, a massaging driver’s seat, a Harman Kardon sound system, an opacifying glass roof, upholstery made from recycled materials, a soft fabric dashboard with real wood inserts, hands-free parking systems and a 360-degree parking camera.
The first examples of the Renault Scenic E-Tech are due to arrive in the UK in May 2024. The sharply-styled electric family car sits on the same bespoke EV platform as its little, slightly less practical sibling, the Renault Megane E-Tech hatchback, as well as our 2022 Car of the Year, the Nissan Ariya.
The Scenic E-Tech is the latest addition to the brand’s growing EV line-up, which will expand again next year when the long-awaited Renault 5 arrives, followed by the new Renault 4 compact SUV in 2025 and sub-£17,000 Renault Twingo in 2026.
New Renault Scenic design
Drawing on Renault’s new design language, previewed back in 2022 with the Scenic Vision concept car, the Scenic E-Tech blends SUV-derived elements, such as black wheel arch surrounds, while harking back to the monobox style pioneered by the Espace and the original Megane Scenic from the late 1990s.
The Scenic E-Tech’s lengthy 2.78-metre wheelbase and flat roof help to increase interior space, a USP Renault feels will help to attract customers away from rivals such as the VW ID.4, while there’s also a focus on sustainability with 24 per cent of its materials coming from recycling streams.
“The new Scenic is designed for families and their needs; to travel freely, safely and more responsibly. To reduce its environmental impact, the Scenic has also eliminated all use of leather, paving the way for more sustainable mobility,” commented Agneta Dahlgren, Design Projects Director.
The chunky-looking exterior, penned by chief designer Gilles Vidal, looks purposeful enough, accentuated by its wheel-at-each-corner layout and short overhangs at both the front and rear.
At almost 4.5 metres long, the Scenic is shorter than its VW ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 competitors, while it stands just 1.57 metres tall which should help it to cut through the air a little easier than some other rivals.
Renault claims aerodynamic performance was a central concern in the design process of the Scenic E-Tech, and to help maximise efficiency it includes features such as air curtains under the daytime running lights to help improve air flow, a sculptured rear spoiler, flush door handles and specially designed door mirrors, while lightweight, aluminium forged wheels in either 19- or 20-inch sizes also play their part.
Interior, technology and practicality
Inside, perceived quality is good and befitting of Renault’s aspirations for a new-generation of electrified models. The roomy cabin will certainly appeal to busy families, and the (mostly renewable) materials used across the regular touch points have a premium feel.
Plenty of leg and kneeroom in the rear adds to overall practicality, while the completely flat floor means taller occupants are well served and will find the Scenic a comfortable place in which to travel.
The driver enjoys an SUV-like raised driving position, with an angled centre console for a cocoon-like feel, but it’s the Scenic E-Tech’s OpenR Link digital cockpit that takes centre stage, comprising a colour 12.3-inch driver’s display and a 12-inch portrait-style infotainment screen. The system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and comes with more than 50 apps including Deezer, Spotify, Amazon Music and Waze, to help plan your journey and access different media while on the move.
Renault’s focus on providing ‘home-like’ levels of comfort is further demonstrated by its Solarbay panoramic glass roof, which can opacify and clarify the glass one segment at a time. The driver and passengers can choose any of four roof settings: all light, all opaque, light at the front and opaque at the back, and the reverse. It’s more practical than a standard sunroof screen too, as it usefully frees up 30mm of headroom.
Rear passengers also benefit from what the manufacturer describes as the Scenic’s “ingenious” rear armrest. The jury’s out on just how much ingenuity is involved here, but what the armrest does do is bring together 3.6 litres of storage space, two drink holders, fold-out stands to be able to watch screens more comfortably, and two USB-C outlets – it’s a neat all-in-one solution for those travelling in the back seats.
But, perhaps what defines any worthy family car are its space and storage options, and the Scenic E-Tech comes up trumps in this important area. Its 545-litre boot offers more carrying capacity than the VW ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, while folding the rear seats unlocks a useful 1,670 litres. A ski hatch is included, too, which makes transporting longer items that bit easier.
Renault claims the Scenic E-Tech is best in class for its additional storage areas dotted around the cabin, all of which add up to an extra 38.7 litres. These include a sizeable glove compartment, deep door bins, a huge compartment under the front armrest and ample storage space under the centre screen, including a wireless charging port for smartphones.
Range, battery, performance and charging
In certain markets, the Scenic E-Tech is available with two battery sizes – 60kWh or 87kWh – however it’s only fitted with the larger unit in the UK. Fully charged, the Scenic E-Tech can cover up to 379 miles before its battery is out of juice, which is among the longest ranges offered by any electric car currently sold in the UK.
Every Scenic E-Tech sold in the UK uses a single electric motor to drive the front wheels. It produces 217bhp and 300Nm of torque, and can propel the nearly 1.9-tonne family car from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 105mph. A further dual-motor model has been hinted at for the future.
Another positive aspect for drivers who make more frequent longer journeys is that the Scenic E-Tech’s 150kW maximum charging speed allows a top-up from 15 to 80 per cent in around 30 minutes, while an AC three-phase charging system supplying up to 22 kW is also included.
Renault has thoughtfully added a heat pump as standard which helps to preserve the range in colder temperatures. The Scenic E-Tech’s infotainment system uses Google Maps to automatically start pre-conditioning the battery when the car is nearing the charging points selected in the app, which means that the battery is then at an ideal temperature on arrival, so you can charge it faster and more efficiently.
On the road, the driver can choose from four levels of regenerative braking, adjusting the system using two paddles behind the steering wheel to best suit the conditions. There’s also a selection of four ‘Multi-Sense’ drive modes: Comfort, Sport, Eco and Perso.
Safety hasn’t been forgotten, either, with the Scenic E-Tech featuring more than 30 driver assistance systems and on-board safety features, while the firm has even collaborated with french musician Jean-Michel Jarre to develop VSPs – Vehicle Sounds for Pedestrians, to warn people that the car is approaching when it is moving at less than 18mph.
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