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In-depth reviews

Renault Scenic - Electric motor, performance & drive

It’s not particularly dynamic, but the Scenic feels sure-footed and capable of dealing comfortably with the worst of the UK’s roads

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Electric motor, performance & drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Renault Scenic Techno 60kWh

168bhp

8.6 seconds

93mph

Renault Scenic Iconic 87kWh

217bhp 

7.9 seconds 

105mph

The Renault Scenic’s CMF-EV underpinnings are shared with the Renault Megane E-Tech and while the Scenic is the larger car and features a longer wheelbase - there are similarities between the two in their driving experiences. Those looking for an exciting drive will be better served by the likes of the Skoda Enyaq, Kia EV6 or Hyundai Ioniq 5, but the Renault claws back some points in terms of comfort and refinement. 

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Unlike many of its close rivals, the Scenic utilises a front-motor setup rather than a rear-motor one - there’s no performance-focused dual-motor version of the Scenic either so all versions are front-wheel drive. That’s probably just as well because it doesn’t take long to realise the Scenic has been sensibly set up for a smooth and relaxed driving. The smaller 60kWh battery comes with an electric motor putting out 168bhp and 280Nm of torque, although the one we tested was the larger 87kWh battery model with 217bhp and 300Nm of torque. 

The larger battery adds 96kg to the Scenic’s kerb weight, taking it to 1,853kg in Techno trim. That’s still towards the lighter end of the electric SUV scale, but in a straight line, at least, the  weight is evident. A 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds will be perfectly acceptable for most family buyers, but the initial punch you expect from an EV isn’t there. At motorway speeds, however, the motor’s power is more quickly available, making overtakes a doddle.

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In the corners the Scenic feels solid rather than engaging. The steering is light, super-quick and devoid of feedback and the suspension setup is designed to round off bumps so it doesn’t communicate much to the driver about the road surface. Body roll is kept in check in long corners so your passengers won’t be leaning this way and that. In tighter bends or during sudden changes in direction you’ll find a bit of delay in the response of the front end to steering inputs. 

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The Scenic’s throttle feels well-calibrated, although the brake pedal feel was dependent on the severity of the brake regeneration setting. There are four levels of brake regeneration, ranging from one-pedal driving to nothing. With no brake regeneration selected you’ll be met with an extremely spongy brake pedal, so it's best to keep it in the higher regen settings for some more encouraging resistance. The brake regeneration itself is set up well without any jerkiness in the transition between throttle and brakes. 

There’s also a selection of driving modes with Sport, Eco, Normal and ‘Perso’ which lets you choose your own combination of settings. We’d recommend just leaving it in Eco where the most noticeable difference is a firmer throttle pedal, it’s well suited to day-to-day driving. 

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Around town the Scenic’s light steering really helps make it feel a bit more nimble than it is, although a 10.9-metre turning circle isn’t bad. Something we noticed coming out of side roads is that the steering seems keen self-centre, although you soon get used to this. 

During a long motorway cruise we found the tyre roar to be louder than expected, although the ‘acoustic windows’ do a good job of nullifying wind noise. The soft suspension succeeds in delivering a comfortable ride and after several hours we didn’t feel exhausted behind the wheel of the Scenic.

There’s the usual suite of safety systems on board the Scenic with lane keep assist and active emergency braking - although if you’re not a fan of these then you can remove them with two touches of a button on the dash - they’ll reactivate every time you turn the car on, however.

Electric motor, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The less powerful 168bhp electric motor found on the smaller battery achieves the 0-62mph sprint in 8.6 seconds where the larger battery with a 217bhp electric motor does the same in 7.9 seconds. It has almost 50bhp more but the larger battery 87kWh model weighs almost 100kg more - counting against it in terms of straight-line performance. The 87kWh Scenic has a top speed of 105mph while the 62kWh version will reach 93mph.

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