Renault does not have the distinction of creating the family hatch-sized MPV market segment, but its Scenic and, latterly, the Grand Scenic are undoubtedly responsible for popularising it.

Cars such as the Vauxhall Zafira, Volkswagen Touran and Citroën Picasso owe their existence to the Renault.

The original Scenic was a tall hatch with a great deal more practicality than a regular C-segment competitor, and it wasn’t just families that grew to like it. In the UK, initial customer surveys found that just as many empty-nesters as parents with domiciled offspring were buying it.

Since then, the Scenic has developed into a more mature MPV, and none more so than in this latest guise, facelifted as it is for 2013.

The Grand Scenic is a seven-seater variant, with two rear chairs that fold into the boot floor and a middle row with seats that slide individually and can be removed. This bolsters its practicality and makes it an ideal choice for those with large families.

Yet for all their practicality, previous Scenics have failed to deliver on driving appeal – something Renault has attempted to rectify this time, by aiming to give its seven-seat MPV saloon car dynamics.

So has Renault's round of 2013 improvements really served to address the Grand Scenic's lack of engagement, or are they purely cosmetic and practical upgrades? Let's find out.

Top 5 Large MPVs

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    29 May 2015
    New compact Vauxhall shows lots of promise, but sluggish performance and intrusive road noise leave it trailing its rivals
  • First Drive
    28 May 2015
    BMW's luxurious coupé has been given a style refresh and more equipment. This is our first chance to drive the popular 640d Coupe on UK roads
  • First Drive
    28 May 2015
    We drive Ssangyong's new small SUV, which isn't up with the best in class but is certainly worth consideration as a budget option
  • Car review
    26 May 2015
    Hardcore 493bhp GT3 RS represents a new level for the Porsche 911 - faint hearts need not apply
  • First Drive
    25 May 2015
    Track drive of Lamborghini's astonishing limited-run special, the Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce