Renault Scenic MPV
Renault Scenic MPV
Price £18,165 - £22,895
- Practical interior
- Good value for money
- Five and seven-seat options
- Poor resale values
- Basic petrol engine feels underpowered
- Starting to feel dated against rivals
At a glance
“The Renault Scenic and seven-seat Grand Scenic offer great value for money and are designed to take whatever family life can throw at them.”
The Scenic gives the versatility of an MPV in a car that's about the same size as a Ford Focus. The Scenic is perfectly suited to family life and it has lots of useful cubbyholes dotted around the interior. The Scenic's rear seats can be completely removed to reveal a huge load bay.
Buyers can choose from three petrol and two diesel engines. We would go for one of the diesels, which offer enough pace for a car like this and are also cheap to run.
Buyer can also opt for the Renault Scenic XMOD, which gives the MPV a limited off-road ability thanks to a clever electronics that give the car extra grip. It also comes complete with plastic cladding that protects the car from scratches and scrapes. The larger Renault Grand Scenic offers seven seats.
All models come well equipped with even the basic trim level coming with cruise control, sat-nav, climate control and alloy wheels.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Petrol engined Scenics are cheap to buy, but cost more to run
The dCi 110 and dCi 130 diesel Renault Scenics make the most sense in a car like this thank to decent economy and reasonable performance. Both diesel return economy of more than 60mpg, while their low emissions figures mean neither cost more than £30 to tax annually.
Choose a petrol model and it will be cheaper to buy, but more expensive to run. The basic 1.6-litre petrol engine is the most expensive – achieving just 38.2mpg, and CO2 emissions of 178g/km for annual road tax of £225. The remaining two petrol engines are modern and efficient as a result. The lower-powered TCe 115 1.2-litre petrol can return economy up to 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 135g/km (for road tax of £130 annually), while the TCe130 manages figures of 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 140g/km. The latter figure means road tax is £145 a year.
Renault offers fixed price services for £159 and also offers service plans that let you pay for your car's maintenance in small monthly instalments, starting from £8. The Scenic doesn’t hold it value very well, with most models dipping under 35 per cent of their original value after three years and 36,000 miles.
Interior & comfort
There’s lots of room for passengers and all Scenics are quiet on the move
Get inside and you’ll find the Scenic feels nicely put together and looks smart, although it doesn’t seem as durable as the Volkswagen Touran. Big windows also mean that the inside has an nice and airy feel.
The Scenic gets a raised driving position that gives excellent visibility of the road ahead. Getting a comfortable driving position is simple to thanks to a height adjustable driver's seat and a steering wheel that moves for rake and reach.
The Scenic has been designed to provide comfortable family transport and the body lean in corners will put you off over enthusiastic driving. It also means that the Scenic is extremely comfortable to cover distances in and the suspension does an excellent job of smoothing out bumps. Boosting comfort is an interior that does a good job of suppressing wind and road noise.
Practicality & boot space
Remove the rear seats and the Scenic doubles as a van with windows
The Scenic upright body shape means that there is plenty of head and legroom in both the front and back seats. As with many of its rivals, the Scenic's back seat slides backwards and forwards to increase boot space or rear legroom, but in the Renault it can also recline for added comfort. Even the third passenger in the middle of the back seat should be able to settled thanks to a flat floor that means there is somewhere for them to put their feet.
Keep the back seats in place and the boot offers 522 litres of storage space, which sounds very generous next to the 380-litre boot you get in the Volkswagen Golf. Unlike conventional hatchback such as the Golf, the Renault's back seats can also be completely removed to leave a 1,837-litre load bay to rival some vans. It's worth noting that removing the heavy seats can be quite awkward.
The Scenic's gearstick sprouts out of the dashboard to free up space between the front seats. That leaves space for a lidded storage space in the centre console and the car also gets compartments in the floor and drawers underneath the front seats, and rear seats. The glovebox is small for an MPV, however.
Reliability & safety
Sketchy Renault reliability is still a problem
After a strong showing in last year's Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, we had high hopes for the Scenic this year. Sadly though, it dropped 49 places to finish 53rd out of 150 cars. A lack of performance was owners’ biggest gripe, but build quality, reliability and ease of driving all came in for stick.
When you’re carrying you and your family in a car you want to know it is safe, and in this respect the Renault does well. The Scenic's five-star rating from Euro NCAP comes courtesy of front and side airbags, curtain airbags and electronic stability control.
Engines, drive & performance
Scenic has a large range of engines and safe handling
The basic petrol engine in the Renault Scenic is worth avoiding because it costs a lot to run and takes 11.7 seconds to get from 0-60mph. The 113bhp 1.2-litre is no quicker, but is more economical and returns better CO2 emissions figures. The more powerful 1.2-litre petrol engine remains frugal, but gets from 0-60mph in 11.4 seconds.
The diesel engines make more sense in an MPV where mid-range power is important when the car is fully loaded. The 1.5-litre diesel engine doesn’t feel as slow as its 10.5 seconds 0-60mph time suggest, while the 128bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine is the pick of the bunch, getting the Scenic from 0-60mph in 10.3 seconds.
Under the raised body, the Scenic is based on the Renault Megane hatchback. The result is that, although there is more body lean, the Scenic still feels car like to drive thanks to its direct steering.
Price, value for money & options
Low list prices and all-inclusive servicing makes the Scenic good value
Even the basic Renault Scenic Dynamique TomTom comes loaded with kit to including automatic headlights and wipers, sat-nav, climate control, cruise control, keyless entry and go, a Bluetooth phone connection and a USB plug.
Low list prices and all-inclusive servicing makes the mini-MPV good value
The Scenic model comes well equipped and all cars get cruise control, front and back electric windows, and air conditioning. Opting for the Dynamique Tom Tom version gets you sat-nav. Dynamique Tom Tom (WITH BOSE®+ PACK) models add to that with rear parking sensors, as well as keyless entry and start. The top-of-the-range Limited model adds to that impressive list with upmarket interior fabric and Limited badges, a panoramic sunroof, and rear parking sensors.
As with all Renaults, the Scenic now comes with a four-year/100,000-mile warranty, and if you purchase the car using Renault finance it also comes with four years free servicing. That said, you can expect the Scenic to lose more value than the Volkswagen Touran.
What the others say
It's a really nice little engine to use: torque spread over a wide range, an ability to rev to a high-for-a-diesel 5,000rpm if you need to finish your overtake before changing up. There's barely any turbo lag, and not much either in the way of rattle and shake. Beyond that, not much to say. It just works.
It's very difficult to make a people carrier interesting visually because of the almost inescapable requirement to make it a tall, two-box shape. Therefore, the details are paramount, which thankfully on this occasion Renault has done a decent job with. The family DNA gets an outing via the loosely triangular shapes flanking the lower grille, coloured silver, and raked headlights that manage to make the car look lower and more athletic from the front. The way the taillights frame the rear screen is neat too.
The Scenic is a spacious five-seat MPV with a swanky cabin and a big, well-shaped boot. It’s good to drive and refined, and running costs shouldn’t break the bank.
Renault claims to have invented the compact people carrier with the Scenic in 1996 and its third generation model remains among the best of its type. Launched in 2009 highlights include new engines including a frugal small turbocharged petrol engine and a powerful diesel, a roomier interior and sharper looks. While the used market might prefer the versatility offered by the Grand Scenic and it's seven-seat layout, the Scenic still offers plenty including comfortable access and extra practicality over a conventional hatchback.