The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5
The Renault Scenic was the original compact MPV. This third edition offers even greater practicality, better dynamics and greatly improved build quality.
Reasons to buy
- Very practical
- Looks great
- Good to drive
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
With its swept-back headlamps and corporate grille, it’s easy to tell that the Renault Scenic comes from the Renault stable. The side profile is less distinctive and looks like it could wear badges from a multitude of rivals, such as Seat or any number of Japanese marques. Predictably, this third-generation Scenic looks far more modern than its predecessors, although Renault has missed a trick by not making the profile a bit more futuristic, as with the Espace.
What's the interior like?
The dashboard has a very high-tech feel. Large, full-colour displays are combined with brushed alloy highlights. It’s a bit over-fussy though, with the switchgear not always easy to identify at a glance. It doesn’t help that the remote controls for the audio are hidden behind the steering wheel rather than being on the front. Getting comfortable is straightforward though, thanks to ample adjustment of the seats and height and reach-adjustable steering.
How practical is it?
Practicality is impressive. There are three individual rear seats, which can slide back and forth to optimise the balance between rear seat leg room and boot space. However, while these seats can be removed altogether, they can’t be folded flat into the floor. With the rear seats in place, the boot provides 437 litres of luggage space, and with them removed, this increases to 1837 litres.
What's it like to drive?
The Scenic’s body can roll around in corners and the steering feels rather light but the handling is perfectly acceptable. The ride is a little firmer than previous Renault models, but the Scenic is still comfortable to live with.
How powerful is it?
Three petrol engines and three diesel engines are available, two of which offer different power outputs. The 84bhp 1.5-litre diesel is the slowest of the lot, but it still manages 103mph and 0-60mph in 11.7 seconds. There are 1.9 and 2-litre diesel engines offered too, the latter in 148bhp or 158bhp forms. The one to go for is the 1.9dCi 130 though, or if you prefer petrol, go for the excellent turbocharged 1.4TCe unit, as it’s more fun than the 1.6 or 2-litre units.
How much will it cost me?
The two most economical engines are the 1.5dCi and the 1.9dCi, which deliver between 57.6 and 51.4mpg average fuel economy. Predictably these also have the lowest CO2 emissions, with 130g/km for the 1.5dCi and 145g/km for the 1.9dCi. Even the cleanest petrol engine, the 1.4Tce, emits a high 168g/km while the 2-litre unit is pegged at 183g/km. However, whatever you buy, fuel and road tax costs will be outstripped by the cost of depreciation – Renaults never hold their value very well, and the Scenic is no exception.
How reliable is it?
This hasn’t been Renault’s strongest area for quite a while now. As well as squeaks and rattles throughout the cabin, many of Renault’s recent cars have suffered from electrical and electronic glitches. Things have improved with the latest models, but the company has yet to prove itself over a longer period.
How safe is it?
The Scenic has a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating. It’s packed with safety kit such as anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability programme and emergency brake assist. Front and front side airbags are fitted, along with front and rear curtain airbags. All seats feature an adjustable head rest and a three-point seat belt.
How much equipment do I get?
There are four trim levels offered, the more basic ones with the smaller engines, while the bigger engines get the more lavish trim levels. Entry-level Extreme comes with a trip computer, CD/tuner, air-con and electric front windows. Expression adds an electronic parking brake, a dash-mounted display screen, powered rear windows and extra interior lighting. Dynamique TomTom features alloy wheels, sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control and privacy glass. The range-topping Privilege has dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and part-leather trim.
The fairly priced Scenic is practical, spacious, safe and stylish. It feels very well put together, and there’s a wide choice of engines and trim levels to choose from.