Used buyer's guide: Renault Scenic

The Renault Scenic compact MPV is comfortable and affordable to run

The Scenic’s top-five placing in our Driver Power 2013 satisfaction survey proves the great strides Renault has made on running costs, ease of use and practicality over the years. Only mid-table rankings for reliability and build quality let it down. However, the car is still great at transporting the family – it was the highest-placed MPV in this year’s survey. The Grand Scenic is even better at hauling people and luggage, so if you want an MPV with flair, the Renault is it.

When the third-generation Renault Scenic hit showrooms in 2009, expectations were high. Renault created the compact MPV with its original Megane Scenic in 1997. This car took all the best bits of a hatchback, estate and full-size MPV, then combined them in one brilliantly practical package that was affordable to buy and run, plus good to drive. When the new car arrived, few buyers were disappointed.

As before, this car was offered as a five-seat Scenic and seven-seat Grand Scenic, and it was safer, more generously equipped, more refined and better to drive than ever. As a result, the Renault is now a great second-hand buy.

History

The seven-seat Grand Scenic debuted in May 2009 with 1.4 turbo, 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol engines, or 1.5 dCi, 1.9 dCi and 2.0 dCi diesels. There were four trim options: Extreme, Expression, Dynamique and Privilege. Two months later, the five-seat Scenic arrived, with the same engines and trims as the Grand Scenic, as well as a TomTom edition, featuring standard sat-nav.

The 1.9 dCi diesel was replaced in autumn 2011 by a new 1.6 dCi, offering better flexibility, economy and power. Then, in February last year, a facelift brought updated styling and a 1.2-litre petrol turbo, while trims were pared back to just Dynamique TomTom spec.

Alternatives

The Ford S-MAX proves you don’t have to sacrifice style or driving enjoyment for practicality. It was crowned European Car of the Year in 2007, and it’s also proven reliable, although space can be tight for seven adults.

The Toyota Verso is reliable and practical, although pricier, while the Vauxhall Zafira is great value, versatile and well built. Also worth considering are the Citroen C4 Picasso, available in five or seven-seat form, the Peugeot 5008 – an excellent all-rounder with smart looks, a comfortable ride and generous kit – and the practical Mazda 5.

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