Hybrid Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic go on sale

Long-distance MPV drivers may wish to spend an extra £1,000 to get one of Renault’s diesel-electric Hybrid Assist Scenics

The Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic Hybrid Assists are hybrids, but not as you may know them. Rather than go for a full hybrid setup, Renault has chosen a ‘mild’ version of the technology; and rather than pair a petrol engine with the cars’ batteries and electric motors, Renault has opted for diesel power.

A mild hybrid works – as Renault’s name suggests – by assisting the engine in powering the car’s wheels. And unlike a traditional setup where the car can be powered by the electric motor alone – often via a separate mode – Renault says the motor can only take over from the engine “in certain situations”.

The two cars – the smaller of which comes with five seats and the larger with seven – are fitted with the same 108bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine found across the rest of the two ranges, but for an extra £1,000, Renault will fit a 10kW electric motor and a 48-volt battery pack. These batteries will be replenished both by the engine and from energy recovered during braking.

Any performance advantage is, however, negated by the extra weight of the batteries, which makes the Hybrid Assist model fractionally slower from 0-62mph than the dCi 110, taking 12.9 seconds as opposed to 12.6. In truth, few owners are expected to drive these cars with maximum acceleration in mind, nor are the differences likely to be hugely noticeable.

Economy is the real reason to choose the Hybrid Assist model: it's said to be 10% better than the regular dCi 110, with the Scenic and Grand Scenic Hybrid Assist officially returning 80.7mpg – compared to the 72mpg figure achieved by the unassisted dCi 110 engine. And while economy is up, CO2 emissions are down – from 100 to 94g/km. This means company-car drivers will be liable for a Benefit-in-Kind rate (BiK) of 20%, rather than the 22% attracted by the dCi 110.

The Hybrid Assist Scenics are offered from Dynamique Nav trim and above, so expect all-round parking sensors, ambient lighting, a five-mode ‘Multi-Sense’ driving mode selector and sat nav as standard.

You can order the cars now. Prices for the Scenic Hybrid Assist start at £25,055 and the seven-seater Grand Scenic Hybrid Assist is available from £26,855.

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