From £18,420
Generous space and a comprehensive specification, with a wide and elegantly styled cabin

Our Verdict

Renault Scenic
The Scenic is the original mid-sized MPV

Well priced and equipped, the Renault Scenic is still a class act.

What is it?

Renault’s ever-green Scenic compact MPV is getting the option of a brand new, downsized, diesel engine, the Energy dCi 130.

With stringent EU ‘fleet’ Co2 requirements bearing down on carmakers (not least the need to hit an average of just 95g/km by 2020) engine capacities are heading in just one direction: downwards.

Renault’s brand-new Energy dCi 130 diesel motor is a perfect example of this trend. An all-new 16-valve unit, it will replace the company’s current, 8-valve, 1.9-litre diesel engine, appearing first in the Scenic range, before being fitted to the Megane.

The company says the Energy dCi unit ‘is the world’s most powerful engine of its size’ offering 128bhp and 236lb ft of torque at 1750rpm, though 80 percent of the twist action is on tap from 1500rpm. Average Co2 output is 30g/km lower than the 1.9-litre diesel.

Work on the new engine started back in 2006 from a clean sheet and features a completely new block (using a ‘square’ short-stroke design), which will form the basis of other, future, downsized engines. A 230m Euro investment, Renault says this engine was tested for a lifecycle of 186,000 miles or 20 years of driving.

The unit includes a number of fuel-saving features including a new stop-start system, regenerative braking, a variable displacement oil pump, a double water jacket in the head (which improves cooling efficiency, allowing the use of a smaller water pump) and low-friction, F1-derived, UFLEX piston rings.

To give an idea of how much reducing consumption is an incremental task, the Energy dCi’s stop-start system reduces CO2 output by just three per cent and the new oil pump by just one per cent.

What’s it like?

The Scenic is the first Renault model to get the new engine and, arguably, its age (the Scenic III is a heavy make of the 2003 Scenic II) means the motor is not shown in its best light. Despite the claims made for the refinement, I found the Energy dCi unit was notably dieselly at tickover and at low speed with wide throttle openings.

However, once the car was rolling, mid-range torque delivery was smooth and seamless, engine noise was decently subdued and the six-speed ‘box was clean shifting. The stop-start works well, too, kicking in virtually as soon as the driver’s foot pressed the clutch pedal.

The Scenic, however, suffered from tyre noise and an occasionally unsettled ride on the roads around Chantilly, especially compared to the Megane I drove on the same route. Overall, the car’s dynamics cannot be described as more than humdrum. OK, it may be a family carrier but it might have been imbued with either a little spark or the sort of old-school loping and languid Frenchness that might particularly suit a car such as this.

Should I buy one?

This Scenic offers both generous space and a comprehensive specification. The cabin, especially upfront, is noticeably wide and spacious and elegantly styled. In this ‘Dynamique TomTom’ specification, there is not much more you could reasonable want (even the seat fabric is Teflon-coated), aside from the bizarre decision not to fit parking sensors as standard. Front and rear, Renault wants another £520. Ultimately, though, most drivers will conclude that Ford’s similarly priced C-Max Titanium is both fresher and sharper to drive.

Renault Scenic Dynamique Tom Tom dCi 130

Price: £20,900; Top speed 121mph; 0-62mph 10.3sec; Economy 64.2mpg (combined); Co2: 115g/km; Kerb weight: 1430kg; Engine type: four cyls, turbodiesel, 1598cc; Power: 128bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
6

20 May 2011

Ultimately, though, most drivers will conclude that Ford’s similarly priced C-Max Titanium is both fresher and sharper to drive.

This may be true hilton, but it looks vile. also when i drive around with my family i don't need a sharp steering hot hatch, just something comfortable and safe. We tried all sorts of other small mpvs and only the scenic offered the best interior and relaxed ride. We love ours! (although, we do have the 1.4 turbo petrol which is obviously lighter than the bigger diesels...)

20 May 2011

As with most of this class of car, it is designed to do a job and not a lot else. It is not about dynamic appeal, its about airiness and practicality (hence the Teflon coated seats) rather than how punchy the engine is or how well it goes round corners. This is why the last Citroen Picasso (formerly Xsara Picasso) lasted so well.

From that point of view the price is decent enough (well a good starting point for a discount) and as was said in the report fitted with pretty much everything you'd ever need.

Personally, for a definitive review on the engine, I will wait for it to be stuck in the Megane.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

rlg

20 May 2011

Not sure about the car but the engine sounds interesting. Those power and torque figures are on par with some current 2.0 diesels which is a step in the right direction. Wonder how soon a mainstream player will knock out a twin turbo 1.6 diesel with 160bhp and 300lb ft. Can't be long now . . .

21 May 2011

"OK, it may be a family carrier but it might have been imbued with either a little spark or the sort of old-school loping and languid Frenchness that might particularly suit a car such as this."

I really miss loping and languid Frenchness. It really should be out there as an alternative choice if you don't particularly want a family holdall with a good time around the bloody Nurburgring.

21 May 2011

[quote 275not599]

"OK, it may be a family carrier but it might have been imbued with either a little spark or the sort of old-school loping and languid Frenchness that might particularly suit a car such as this."

I really miss loping and languid Frenchness. It really should be out there as an alternative choice if you don't particularly want a family holdall with a good time around the bloody Nurburgring.

[/quote]

I agree, and I would have thought it was particularly suitable for a model such as this. I'm surprised that parking sensors aren't standard, though...

25 May 2011

[quote catnip]

[quote 275not599]

"OK, it may be a family carrier but it might have been imbued with either a little spark or the sort of old-school loping and languid Frenchness that might particularly suit a car such as this."

I really miss loping and languid Frenchness. It really should be out there as an alternative choice if you don't particularly want a family holdall with a good time around the bloody Nurburgring.

[/quote]

I agree, and I would have thought it was particularly suitable for a model such as this. I'm surprised that parking sensors aren't standard, though...

[/quote]

Was chatting at the weekend about the Megane with some friends who dsgn for Ford and Rnault and both conceded that thy both miss the French old school dynamics. Th Mgane is far too Germanic but all three of hav owned a 5 and commented on the true french A road handling. They need to bring that back. Inan ovr-stiffly sprung sportline S Audi, hitting a pothol midbnd is horrible, skipping all over the place, yet the 5 would just brush it off.

Also to quote Autocar: "Despite the claims made for the refinement, I found the Energy dCi unit was notably dieselly at tickover and at low speed with wide throttle openings."

t

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