"The Renault Grand Scenic offers good value for money and is designed to take whatever family life can throw at it."
The Renault Grand Scenic is practical, comfortable and well suited to family life thanks to 21cm of extra length over the standard Scenic. That means more room inside, but a big selling point of the Grand Scenic is the extra two seats, making it a seven-seater. The Grand Scenic is good value compared to its main seven- seat MPV rivals, but the range of models has also now been limited to the sat-nav-equipped Dynamique TomTom version only. Earlier this year, Renault updated the Grand Scenic, adding LED daytime running lights and improving fuel economy, but also making it look more like the stylish new Clio with a larger central Renault badge.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
Despite the extra length and the two extra seats, the Grand Scenic doesn’t suffer too badly in terms of economy compared to the standard Scenic. The 1.5-litre dCi diesel is very efficient and will return 68.9mpg, while the more powerful 1.6-litre dCi 130 gets 64mpg and 114g/km emissions. Be aware, however, that carrying seven people or a lot of luggage around with you will really reduce the fuel economy thanks to the extra weight.
Interior & comfort
Thanks to the extra 21cm in length Renault have added to the Grand Scenic, all passengers benefit from extra leg and knee room, and there's space to seat seven. Wind and road noise is minimal for passengers in the car, and the ride is definitely comfortable enough for most families. The clever dashboard layout places the instruments as far back towards the windscreen as possible, which frees up extra room in the front for the driver and passenger – a neat touch.
Practicality & boot space
The Renault Grand Scenic is very flexible, with a maximum of 2,063 litres of boot space available if you remove the rear seats completely. You’ll need to leave them outside of the car, however, as there's nowhere in the car to store them. There are plenty of cubbyholes dotted around the cabin too, making it really well suited to families. The only blot on the Grand Scenic's record is that the rear seats are heavy and cumbersome to refit when you need them back, which is important to note if you intend to use the Grand Scenic as a passenger car some days and a cargo van on others.
Reliability & safety
Renault's reputation for poor reliability is improving, and the company has worked up a name for itself in terms of safety – and the Grand Scenic has eight airbags, traction control and adjustable headrests on all of the seats. The current Renault Scenic came fourth in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, so the Grand version should prove to be very good as well. The quality inside the Scenic is better than it has ever been – the car feels very classy and robust, and the interior should stand up to family life pretty well.
Engines, drive & performance
The Grand Scenic's handling is reassuring, with smooth suspension and light steering, but the best part about the drive is the high driving position and large glass area, which means all-round visibility is excellent. The entry-level 109bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine is cheap to run and offers decent performance, although it can feel slow with a fully loaded car. The 128bhp 1.6-litre dCi diesel offers a more relaxed driving experience thanks to the extra power, so if you’re planning on doing some motorway miles this is probably the better engine to go for. The 1.6-litre petrol engine is underpowered, so avoid that one. The new 1.2-litre TCe 115bhp turbo petrol engine is the best petrol in the range, especially as it now includes stop-start to improve economy.
Price, value for money & options
The Grand Scenic carries a premium of at least £1,400 over the five-seat Scenic. There's only one trim on offer at the moment, the Dynamique TomTom, so your only choice is which engine to go for – we recommend going for a diesel, but the 1.2-litre petrol is good too. List prices are very competitive throughout the Scenic range, so there's no doubt it offers good-value family motoring with an impressive four-year warranty. It's always worth trying to haggle at the dealership, as Renault showroom staff will frequently offer good deals and discounts – plus Renault often have good deals on their cars. Poor resale values can be a problem for Renaults, but practical people carriers are quite desirable second-hand.