Renault is a major player in the MPV segment. It practically invented the sector when it launched its large Espace in the ‘80s, and has produced credible and practical people carriers ever since.
While buyers might be shying away from them - and buying crossovers instead - there is still a market there for Renault to exploit.
The new Grand Scenic has two more than seats than the standard Scenic, and has been given some modern and classy touches including leather massaging seats and a Bose sound system, on top-spec models.
The latest model is noticeably better-looking than the last, with the model receiving a complete overhaul on the exterior and interior. Renault has turned up the style, too, meaning you no longer have a bland design from MPVs in the past. It’s also been given Renaults latest ‘face’, as seen on the new Megane and Kadjar.
Renault offers three engines on the Grand Scenic, a 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel that we got behind the wheel of.
Our test car was the higher output 158bhp version, which is capable of getting from 0-60mph in an average 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. While it’s not exactly brisk, it’s easily fast enough for everyday driving.
Ride and handling
Despite its size, the Grand Scenic is actually pretty easy to manoeuvre the Grand Scenic – even in the city.
The Scenic has several driving modes – Neutral, Comfort, Eco, Perso (personalised) and Sport. In Sport mode it’s actually quite responsive with reasonable acceleration.
While it’s no sports car to drive, it’s competent, although not anywhere near the heights of the Ford S-Max. It does lean quite heavily through corners, though, but only in quite hard driving. In normal conditions, there is little to complain about.
Interior and equipment
The interior of the MPV is certainly the Grand Scenic’s main strength. As you might expect, it’s very spacious, with plenty of leg room and a vast number of storage areas. While boot space is a bit poor with seven seats up, you get an impressive 596 litres of space with the two rear seats folded down.
It’s certainly far more premium than the old version, too, with full-leather seats on all but the base model helping to give it a more upmarket image.
The 8.7-inch touchscreen isn’t particularly intuitive to use, though. Luckily, you do get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to help with this, while we were also impressed with the Multi-sense personalisation feature, that allows you to switch between six different users depending on your preferences – it can change everything from driving modes to seating position.
Standard equipment on the Expression+ includes seven-inch touchscreen, climate control, a digital speedo, 20-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and automatic headlights.
Our top-of-the-range Signature Nav came loaded with kit, including full LED headlights, a full leather interior, a memory driving seat, panoramic roof and all-around parking sensors with a rear parking camera.
The Grand Scenic range starts at £23,805, which seems good value considering the kit and space on offer.
Even the top-of-the-range model, which costs £28,805, still seems excellent value for money with the vast list of equipment and features, too. It certainly puts similarly-priced crossovers to shame, that really are tiny in comparison.
Our top-spec 1.6-litre diesel engine returns a claimed 60.1mpg, and emits 122g/km of CO2. We struggled to get anywhere near these figures, though. For those wanting more in the way of fuel economy, there is the less powerful diesel unit, which can also be had with a mild hybrid system to boost efficiency even more.
The Grand Scenic is funky-looking MPV, that’s spacious and decent to drive. It’s certainly worth looking at, for the amount of space you get
It also looks good when you put it next to similarly-priced crossovers, such as the Jaguar E-Pace and Audi Q3.
While it’s not perfect, the Grand Scenic proves there is life in the MPV, and that there are alternatives to crossovers.