Practicality is the name of the game here. The Scenic led the charge into compact MPVs back when the genre was in its infancy – and you can tell how long ago that was by the fact that Renault today launched the third-generation Scenic and Grand Scenic duo.
No prizes for guessing they’re closely related to the Megane hatchback family, so much of the hardware is shared. These are entirely conventional front-wheel drive people carriers, although there is a usefully large range of petrol and diesel engines:
• 1.4 petrol turbo, 128bhp
• 1.6 petrol, 109bhp
• 2.0 petrol, 138bhp
And for diesel diehards:
• 1.5 dCi turbodiesel with 85bhp, 105bhp or 109bhp (each producing less than 140g/km of CO2)
• 1.9 dCi turbodiesel with 128bhp, 148bhp or 158bhp
New Renault Scenic: Mothercare on wheels
Some of the press blurb on the new Scenic makes for interesting reading. The seven-seat Grand Scenic packs an astonishing 92 litres of cubby holes in which you can lose your children’s belongings. It’s a stroke of organisational genius or madness, depending on your point of view – with four underfloor compartments, up to four drawers below the seats, six map pockets (imagine the navigators’ arguments!) and an 11-litre glovebox.
The regular Scenic remains a five-seater, and both have large practical boots. The smaller model’s stretches to 522 litres up to the parcel shelf, while the Grand’s is a fulsome 702 litres in five-seater mode. However, Renault doesn’t mention here what that shrinks to in seven-seat MPV mode which makes us suspicious.
That rearmost row of chairs folds out of sight when not needed, while the middle row can be removed altogether for really big jobs.
The new tech
Renault is launching its first TV-style TFT (thin film transistor) digital panels on the Scenic range. They’re claimed to provide higher definition read-out and adapt automatically for lighting conditions.
Also new is the electric power steering system, designed to snip fuel bills without cutting back on driver’s entertainment. We’ll come back to you on that one when CAR drives the new Scenic this spring. Sales of the Grand Scenic start in May 2009, followed by the five-seat Scenic in July 2009.