The fourth-generation model features a striking new design and enlarged proportions, with Renault claiming the car now occupies a new segment that straddles the MPV and crossover classes.
The new Scenic inherits much of the design philosophy seen on the R-Space concept of 2011, which mixed the lines of a conventional MPV with the stance and presence of a crossover. Alhough it’s bigger than the old car, short overhangs and 20in wheels – which are standard fitment across the range – help to create the illusion that the new Scenic is actually more tautly proportioned.
The tyre is narrower than average, but the big diameter gives it a decent footprint, as does the tyre’s design, which has been co-developed with Michelin and Continental.
Apart from removing the need to develop different chassis set-ups for different wheel sizes, this one-size-fits-all approach allows the styling to be optimised around that wheel size, while the narrowness reduces drag and rolling resistance. The tyre has also be developed to provide a good ride.
Renault says it worked hard to ensure the car’s stance was just right, because it wanted to inject flare and style into the new model; two things it admits were lacking from the Mk3. On first glances it certainly seems to have done the job, with pushed out wheels and a sleek roofline giving the Scenic a much more muscular stance.
The Scenic has a higher than usual H-point for an MPV, to provide the seating position of an SUV. This “puts us in a bit of a bind with aerodynamics,” says Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker, “because the car is taller, and wider too. But the dropping roofline and the narrowing of the car’s body in plan form compensates.”
Optional extras for the car’s exterior include LED headlights, diamond cut alloy wheels and two-tone paint – which sees the roof painted in a contrasting colour. The 10 colours options list includes several bold colours, confirming Renault’s intentions to spruce up the Scenic’s image.
This design focus has been carried onto the inside, where a driver-hugging dashboard creates the feeling of a more cockpit-like interior. For drivers wanting a more airy cabin, part of the centre console can be opened, while a full-length fixed panoramic roof extends the view to the outside world.
The whole cabin is significantly more premium feeling that the outgoing car, with soft touch plastics and well finished trim giving the Scenic clout to compete with more expensive models. Renault says it wants the Scenic to appeal to drivers who want both style and practicality in their car, and a wide window of customisation is offered to cater for different tastes.
There are two USB charging ports, and all models aside from the base car get two digital displays. One is an 8.7in vertical touchscreen located on the car’s floating centre console (it houses the car’s R-Link 2 infotainment system), and the other is a 7in horizontal display that sits behind the steering wheel, taking place of conventional dials. A head-up display is also included on these models.
The Scenic’s boot can swallow 572 litres of luggage, but more space can be accessed when the 60:40 split rear bench is folded. Optional One Touch Folding can lower the rear seats electronically via the touch of a button in the boot, or through the car’s infotainment system.
Powering the new Scenic will be an option of six diesel engines and two petrols. The diesels are made up of dCi units that produce between 94bhp and 158bhp, with a Hybrid Assist model in the mix, while the petrols produce 113bhp and 128bhp.
No economy figures have been released as of yet, though using Renault’s other models as example, we’re expecting as much as 70mpg combined to be on offer from the diesels.
As standard the Scenic comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic is available with the mid-spec 108bhp dCi engine, while a seven-speed dual-clutch auto is exclusively available with the most potent diesel.
The car uses Renault’s latest active emergency braking and pedestrian detection systems, which work at speeds between 4mph and 99mph. It also features adaptive cruise control, which can follow traffic between the speeds of 25mph and 99mph, and lane departure warning.
Inside there are six airbags, and a tiredness detection warning system works to prevent drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
Though pricing is yet to be revealed, we’re expecting the new Scenic to be priced from about £21,000 – about £500 more than the outgoing car. This places it well above conventional C-segment MPVs like the £18,395 Ford C-Max, and edges it towards the firing line of premium models like the £23,310 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
Van den Acker explained that the Scenic does not represent the end of his ‘Circle of Life’ product and design philosophy, originally created to provide a development framework for the new generation of models that started with the current Clio.
Van den Acker’s plan now is to “reinvent the brand and stay consistent to the philosophy. We have learnt from our mistakes. Permanent revolution was the way we used to do it, and if that had worked I would have stuck to it.”
Van den Acker added that there are ten more models coming from Renault, Dacia and Alpine this year, including a one-tonne, separate chassis pick-up truck, which is a shared product with Nissan and Mercedes and will arrive in the UK in 2017.
Other vehicles include the Megane Sport Tourer also unveiled at the Geneva motor show, the Talisman estate (not UK-bound), a D-segment SUV to sit above the Kadjar (reaching the UK in 2017), the Alpine sports car, a phase two Clio (but no manual transmission for the Renaultsport version, sadly), and phase two versions of the Dacio Sandero, Duster and Logan MCV.