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Soulcare Motors

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Considering how boring the old model was, the new Renault Scenic makes for a welcome a dose of continental fresh air.

It’s an imposing car to look at – it’s 20mm wider than the car it replaces and comes as standard with two-tone paint and blingy 20-inch alloy wheels that look, well, fantastic!

And that matters because in a small MPV class dominated by less interesting metal such as the Ford C-Max, Volkswagen Touran and, to a lesser extent, the Citroen C4 Picasso – the Renault’s head-turning appearance means it really stands out.

Those looks couldn’t come at the expense of practicality, though, so the Renault has a big boot, cubbyholes and under-seat bins that provide 63 litres of storage and one of the most elaborate gloveboxes we have ever seen.

The engine range is extensive, too. Buyers can choose from five diesels, two petrols and a diesel-electric hybrid that returns fuel economy of 80.4mpg. Petrols are manual only, but diesels are available with a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch auto with the same number of gears.

All models come with emergency city braking that works at speed of up to 31mph and can detect people (a class first), cruise control, two Isofix child-seat mounting points, a height adjustable driver’s seat and a Bluetooth phone connection.

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nside a Renault, one normally expects to find a slightly confusing-to-use but very interesting-to-look-at cockpit that ultimately isn’t really well built. The new Scenic, though, does things differently – build quality is much improved over the old model and the few buttons are neatly grouped around the infotainment screen. The drawback is that it all feels a bit dull, although models in the upper end of the range get ambient lighting and a leather-wrapped dashboard that raises the game slightly.

Renault Scenic passenger space

This being the non-Grand Scenic it’ll only seat five, but there should be no gripes space-wise because the new model has a longer wheelbase than the car it replaces for more cabin space. Unlike in rivals, though, the rear bench doesn’t have three individual seats and the VW Touran offers more shoulder room.
Renault Scenic boot space

According to Renault, the Scenic boasts the biggest boot in class, but someone must have forgotten about the huge 743-litre boot in the VW Touran. Still, at 572 litres in capacity, it’s bigger than the 537-litre load area in the Citroen C4 Picasso.

Storage is impressive, though, with large door bins, plenty of places to stash phones and you can charge up to four at the same time if you put them in the clever centre console. It can slide between the front and rear rows to be either huge storage area for the front seat passengers or a seat divider for those in the back.

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Renault Scenic petrol engines

That’s not to say the petrols aren’t good. Far from it – the 1.2-litre turbocharged unit in the TCe 130 is potent enough to zip through traffic and easily overtake slower cars on the motorway. It’s as fast as most rival MPVs with a 0-62mph time in the 11-second range, however, load it up with people and/or luggage and you won’t see anything near the claimed 48mpg official fuel consumption.

Official mpg and CO2 figures are identical in the smaller 1.0-litre TCe 115. However, the smaller engine is considerably slower, adding a second to the 1.2’s relatively sedate 0-62mph time and struggling when fully loaded. On the upside, the TCe 115 is the cheapest way into Scenic ownership.
Renault Scenic diesel engines

Kicking off the range is the 1.5-litre dCi 110 – a fuel-sipper that’s also found in the Megane and Kadjar. In the Scenic you’ll have to work the gearbox to keep up with traffic, but the engine is smooth and also pretty quiet once up to speed. Ignoring the expensive hybrid (that uses the same engine boosted by an electric motor), the dCi 110 is the cheapest Scenic to run with fuel consumption of 72mpg.

The 1.5-litre diesel is so well suited to life in the Scenic, there’s little point in considering either the 130 or 160hp 1.6-litre models. Both return fuel economy of more than 60mpg, while the latter is the quickest car in the range, but 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds still won’t set the world alight.

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