Renault Grand Scénic: road test

Posted on February 13th, 2015 by James Luckhurst

An excellent car for families who need the flexibility of seven seats.

Renault Grand Scénic: road test

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What is it?

The Renault Grand Scénic is a seven-seat MPV that offers a high level of comfort, safety and flexibility. It has a high driving position, positive road holding and a high specification.

How safe is it?
Renault places safety high on its agenda. The Grand Scénic is available with a wide range of primary and secondary safety features, including lane departure warning and automatically dipping headlights.

Who should buy one?
Families requiring the flexibility of seven seats and looking for a quiet, comfortable and safe vehicle that performs well in all situations.

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Renault Grand Scénic: road test

The Grand Scénic’s 1.6 dCi diesel performed remarkably well. It just goes to show you can’t judge an engine by its capacity. With 130PS (128bhp) and 236lb ft of torque, the Renault’s 1.6-litre diesel closely matches some 2.0-litre engines, and accelerated strongly even with four adults and associated luggage.

Strong performance doesn’t come at the expense of fuel economy. During our 545-mile test on a variety of roads the Grand Scénic returned a creditable 53.4mpg (the official combined figure is 64.2mpg).
Other engine options include a 110PS 1.5-litre diesel, which trades some of the 1.6-litre’s performance for even more impressive official economy figures, returning 72.4mpg on the combined cycle. There’s a choice of a 110PS 1.6-litre and a 115PS turbocharged 1.2-litre engine if you prefer petrol power.

The ride is on the firm side with just a little body roll on corners but overall passengers reported a high level of comfort. The high driving position and large glass area provides excellent all-round vision. We were delighted that Renault uses a large digital speed display to aid compliance with limits. Despite its height (1,645mm), the car was quiet even at motorway speed, with minimal wind, road or engine noise to disturb the peace in the roomy cabin.

The six-speed manual gearbox worked efficiently and smoothly as did the automatic parking brake and the Hill Start Assist, two features that not all manufacturers have yet perfected! A six-speed automatic version of the Grand Scénic is available but was not tested.

Our test vehicle included a reversing aid camera (part of the £650 Safety Tech pack) which displays colour depictions within the screen showing the path of the vehicle as it moves. This feature proved especially useful when manoeuvring into tight parking spaces.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Renault Grand Scénic: road test

Externally the Grand Scénic does not look as large as some seven-seat people carriers. However, the Tardis-like interior offers excellent room for five adults plus two children in seats six and seven. The third row is easy to reach and remarkably comfortable, although when these seats are in use the boot is severely restricted. When not needed the third row simply folds away to leave a sizeable load area and a flat boot space.

Set up to carry five and their luggage, passenger and load space in the Grand Scénic is excellent. Storage for odds and ends is ample and well thought out although the folding ‘aviation style’ tables seem to have their cup holders in such a position that cups cannot be fitted!
For the rare occasions when large removal van-like capacity is needed it is possible to remove all three middle row seats to reveal an enormous load space of over 2000 litres.

SAFETY
Renault Grand Scénic: road test
The Grand Scénic has eight safety airbags and ISOFIX child seat mounting points on all three seats in the middle row – the extra rear-view mirror to assist with ‘passenger control’ is a nice touch. The now expected list of safety refinements are included together with CSV understeer control and LED daytime running lights. Front seat headrests include an anti-whiplash system. The car has a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

EQUIPMENT
Renault Grand Scénic: road test

Equipment levels are excellent and include automatic headlights, a TomTom satellite-navigation system, dual-zone climate control and cruise control. The BOSE+ pack on our test vehicle costs £1000 and provided a BOSE sound system with nine speakers and digital amplifier plus electrochrome rear mirror, heated and folding exterior mirrors and a variety of other goodies. For another £500, buyers can upgrade to ‘Limited’ spec, which adds a panoramic sunroof and different upholstery.

COSTS

Renault Grand Scénic: road test
Starting at a cost of £23,615 the dCi 130 Dynamique TomTom represents excellent value given the practicality of this seven-seater. VED band C means no tax in the car’s first year and only £30 a year afterwards. Renault’s four-year or 100,000 mile warranty plus roadside cover for the same period can be supplemented for just £299 to provide servicing for the first four years or 48,000 miles depending which comes first.

WE SAY

An excellent car for families who need the flexibility of seven seats.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £23,615
Performance: 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds
Economy: 64.2mpg combined
Insurance: 24E
Tax: Band C (£0 first year)

Renault Grand Scénic dCi 130 Dynamique TomTom