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Expert Review

Renault Scenic E-Tech SUV (2023 - ) Electric review

Mark Nichol

Words by: Mark Nichol

Published on 13 March 2024 | 0 min read

The Auto Trader expert verdict:


Available new from £37,495

Renault launched this all-new Scenic to the public having already seen it win the 2024 European Car Of The Year award. Car reviewers like it a lot, then. But, as anyone who’s sprinted to HMV to buy the latest Mercury Music Prize winner will attest, critical acclaim doesn’t necessarily guarantee an enjoyable experience for all. Don’t worry though, the all-new Scenic is excellent, and for a variety of good reasons. Renault is careful not to call it an SUV, but it basically is one now, so it intrinsically looks better than it ever did - the Scenic was always a fully-fledged, substance-before-style people carrier. It’s not lost much substance, though. It’s highly spacious - rear leg room and boot space are excellent - and now it’s genuinely sharp-looking, which is not something the Scenic has ever really been. It has lost one key thing though: internal combustion. It’s all-electric now, which Renault realises could restrict its appeal somewhat, and so is describing it as "a great family car that happens to be electric." Make of that what you will but, genuinely, the Scenic is a brilliant family car. It’s quiet, refined, clever and interesting. And it does have a reassuringly vast range if you’re willing to spend on the bigger battery. It’s not flawless, which we’ll come to, but it’s definitely good enough to turn EV-sceptic family buyers over to electric, we think.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickMasses of space and some clever interior features
  • tickBig battery version has excellent range
  • tickVery comfy and quiet

At a glance:

Running costs for a Renault Scenic E-Tech

Add electric power into the equation and the Scenic looks reasonable, undercutting the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Peugeot e-3008 and the (much smaller) Mini Countryman
The Scenic is pretty expensive on the face of it: £37,995 for a base car, and at least £40,995 to get the Long Range model, for maximum range. Glance at any given car park and you’ll see that most family buyers find a Nissan Qashqai or a Peugeot 3008 or a Kia Sportage (or any number of those middle-sized family crossover type cars) perfectly adequately sized - and most of those can be yours for closer to £30,000. Hmm. But… add electric power into the equation and the Scenic looks reasonable, undercutting the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Peugeot e-3008, and the (much smaller) Mini Countryman, which starts at £42,000. Beyond that though, it is going to be cheap to run day-to-day if you charge it smartly – as in, overnight at home – or if you run it as a company car. And as massive SUV-style electric cars go it’s relatively light, too, weighing 1.7 tonnes with the smaller battery; a Peugeot e-3008 weighs 2.1 tonnes. Two battery options in the Scenic: 60kWh and 86kWh, with quoted ranges of 260 miles and 379 miles respectively. That latter number is quite headline-grabbing, but the reality is that the 60kWh battery will be just fine for most drivers. We’d probably go that way and save on the purchase price.
Expert rating: 4/5

Reliability of a Renault Scenic E-Tech

There’s no reason to think that the Scenic will be below average for reliability
This is an all-new car but it’s not made using all-new parts, utilising the same chassis and electric running gear as the Megane E-Tech, basically - a car we lived with for six months and found very pleasant and reliable. A lot of these parts form the basis of the Renault 5 too. There’s no reason to think the Scenic will be below average for reliability. Plus there’s the whole thing about electric cars being intrinsically more reliable because they use FAR fewer moving parts than those that burn fuel, or course. All that said, it’s worth mentioning that the particular Scenic we drove for the review here had a minor digital breakdown. For some reason, it decided there was an obstacle nearby when parked (there wasn’t) and it wouldn’t go into gear. The classic ‘IT Crowd’ fix sorted it out (we turned it off and on again), but this is the sort of problem you’re most likely to encounter in a car so reliant on software, sensors and electrical systems. Not that likely, but possible.
Expert rating: 4/5

Safety for a Renault Scenic E-Tech

It’s choc-a-block with safety and driver assist systems, so it’s impressive that they generally don’t interfere with the driving experience
As we write this (March 2024), the Scenic hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, but we’d be amazed if it didn’t receive the full five-star score, like the Megane E-Tech has. It’s choc-a-block with safety and driver assist systems (up to 30 of them), so it’s impressive that they generally don’t interfere with the driving experience. And when you do see them in action, they’re useful – features like the always-on blind spot monitor and the braking distance indicator really do make you a more considerate driver. Plus, some of them can be turned off with the simple press of a button on the dashboard, so if you find lane-keeping assist annoying, you don’t have to dig into a screen menu to get rid of it. The infotainment software could be a little easier to fathom. And, as per the Megane (and plenty of other recent cars), it still sucks that the volume adjustment requires jabbing small icons on a touchscreen. You can grab a dial easily without taking your eyes off the road. In fairness, there is a media control stalk behind the steering wheel that you can use instead, but still.
Expert rating: 4/5

How comfortable is the Renault Scenic E-Tech

The Scenic’s overarching quality is of a big, refined family car, with plenty of room, lots of convenience features and oddment space, and a high-quality interior
Broadly, the Scenic is very comfortable. It has a real sense of space throughout, a highly adjustable driving position, gently sculpted seats, a very clear instrument panel, ride quality on the softer side, and like virtually all electric cars, it’s oh-so-quiet. It has a couple of slightly jarring qualities though. The brake pedal is surprisingly spongy. And the wheel sizes, either 19- or 20 inches, can make things feel a bit thumpy when the road is less than smooth, which is of course frequently the case in the UK. Plus, to make the car feel “agile”, Renault has given it very sharp (but also quite weightless) steering – a Tesla influence, probably. It makes the car turn in unusually quickly, which is good for low-speed manoeuvrability but can make the Scenic seem a little edgy at higher speed. All this makes for a slightly confused character at times – not as floaty and outright luxurious as a Hyundai Ioniq 5, nor as entertaining and involving to drive as a Peugeot e-3008. That said, the Scenic’s overarching quality is of a big, refined family car, with plenty of room, lots of convenience features and oddment space, and a high-quality interior.
Expert rating: 4/5

Features of the Renault Scenic E-Tech

It’s rammed with features designed to make it a pragmatic family car
This is really where the Scenic shines. It’s rammed with features designed to make it a pragmatic family car. Boot space is excellent. At 545 litres (rising to 1,670 with the rear seats folded), it’s a little bigger than the Peugeot e-3008’s (520 litres), albeit slightly smaller than the outgoing Scenic’s – the price for SUV-style design. There’s compartmentalised underfloor storage and a standard 40/20/40 split folding rear bench, although the drop from the tailgate lip to the boot floor is substantial. You’ll have to pay just over £100 for an optional twin floor to raise the loading bay and make it easier to slide things in. It does have… and stick with this… the coolest rear armrest in any car, though. It features two USB-C ports, a large recessed tray and, best of all, cupholders that swivel outwards and act as phone or tablet holders. Simple but clever, and the kids will love it. The ‘solarbay’ glass roof is pretty awesome too, switchable from clear to opaque in four sections at the touch of a button – that’s for top-spec cars only, though. But the Scenic is really well-equipped from the base. Techno spec cars get twin 12-inch display screens, wireless phone charging and screen mirroring, automatic air con, a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, an electric tailgate, heated front seats and steering wheel, and all the safety kit is standard, including adaptive cruise control with lane-centring assist. You really don’t need anything else, unless you’re desperate for bigger wheels, a fancy glass roof and a bum-massage on the driver’s chair.
Expert rating: 5/5

Power for a Renault Scenic E-Tech

We think the lower-powered version will suffice unless you really feel you’ll need the extra mileage of the bigger battery
Two powertrains are available, the lower one with 170 horsepower and a smaller 60kWh battery, good for a 260-mile claimed range. The Long Range model has 217 horsepower, a little more torque, but a much bigger 87kWh battery, sending the range to 379 miles. We’ve only driven the latter, but the performance stats tell you how little difference there is between them: 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds or 7.9. It’s not a great leap, and nor does the more powerful version feel especially quick. So, again, we think the lower-powered version will suffice unless you really feel you’ll need the extra mileage of the bigger battery. The battery itself is impressive either way. Max charging speed is 150kW, although from a day-to-day use point of view it’s probably more significant that it comes with 22kW on-board charging as standard – most EVs still have 7kW or 11kW. It means that if you’re using a 22kW charger at your office, say, the car will actually draw charge at that rate, meaning a much quicker fill-up; an EV with 7kW or 11kW onboard charging will peak at that speed. The Scenic has a heat pump as standard, too, which quickly brings the battery up to its most efficient operating temperature on cold days. It’s water heated and cooled, to keep it as efficient as possible at all times. The upshot is 3.8 miles per kWh claimed efficiency (3.7 for the bigger, heavier battery), which in a car this big is excellent.
Expert rating: 4/5

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