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Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130 review

Renault invented the people carrier in the 1970s. But it its latest MPV, the Grand Scenic, any good? Read our review to find out.

"2.4 kids? Why not try the 1.4 engine?"

MPVs are bought by a specific type of person; usually harassed-looking parents with a small army of kids, their mates and all their gubbins in tow. Renault is the expert at catering for this very demanding market segment, and 10 percent of all of the French firm’s sales a people carriers.

But its latest Megane-based MPV, the Grand Scenic, promises to be its best yet. And that’s because it offers both the incredible practicality that MPV buyers demand – this one has no fewer than 40 storage boxes, cubby holes and cup holders spread around its cabin for a start – and a new 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, to make it cleaner too.

Let’s start with the practical stuff. As well as the cubbyholes, the Grand Scenic offers seven seats, with the third row springing from the boot floor at the pull of a little red tag. There’s enough space for small kids in the back, and the seats are substantial enough to offer comfort on longer journeys. Teenagers and adults will struggle to fit without sliding the middle row seats fully forward though.

The middle row seats all slide and fold individually and are mounted higher than the fronts to give a better view out too. This is helped by the fact that Renault has worked hard to make the Grand Scenic very easy to see out of by slimming down the pillars and offering a huge panoramic sunroof as an option. Clever stuff, and it works. Up front, the seats are super-comfortable and it seems that wherever you drop a bottle there’s a cupholder for it to land in.

Renault has made the Grand Scenic drive like a proper big French car. That means it’s soft and supple, and while it bounces over speed bumps, the ride is very comfortable on a long drive. There isn’t that much body roll for a big bus either, and while the steering is incredibly light, it’s still direct and allows you to drive the Grand Scenic with precision.

As for the 1.4-litre engine, it performs surprisingly well, and only runs out of puff at higher motorway speeds. Don’t get me wrong; if your family is big, get a diesel, you’ll need the torque to lug the extra weight around. But if you’re a 2.4 child family, then the 1.4 engine makes a fair bit of sense. If you don’t do mega-miles, the extra cost of the diesel engined car and the extra cost of diesel mean it’ll take years to recoup the extra investment.

But I’d be tempted to shop around too. The Renault Grand Scenic is a seriously competent MPV, but so is the similarly priced and similarly specced Citroen Grand C4 Picasso VTR Plus.

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Car Specs - Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130

Engine:1.4-litre petrol, 130hp
0-62mph:11.5 seconds
Top speed:118mph
Economy/emissions:39.8mpg/173g/km CO2
Price/On sale £18,595/May

We rate:
Impressive practicality
Decent petrol engine
Quality fit and finish

We slate:
Very light steering
Some cheap plastics
The competition

Rating: Image removed.

by Tom Phillips

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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