What is it?
This is the Renault Grand Scenic 2.0 dCi 160 – the most powerful diesel engine in the model range. The Grand Scenic is the first Renault to get the 158bhp version of the 2.0-litre common rail turbodiesel amd we’re testing the range-topping Privilege model complete with standard six-speed manual gearbox.
If you want to save your left foot some effort, the lower powered 2.0 DCi 150 has an optional six-speed auto, or a new CVT auto is available on the 2.0-litre 140 petrol-engined models.
What’s it like?
Everything about the Grand Scenic is designed to make family life easier, and the driving experience is suitably serene and in keeping with that theme. It’s a long way from the sharp dynamics of an S-Max, but the diesel unit offers plenty of acceleration over a broad rev-range and, thanks to the decent refinement and economy, is a good choice if you undertake regular motorway miles or carry the full complement of seven passengers.
Ride quality is less composed and noticeably firmer in the DCi 160 than in the new TCe 130 petrol model thanks to the extra weight over the front axle, but it still absorbs all but the worst breaks in the road surface and is never an uncomfortable place to be.
It has various driver-oriented luxuries such as the sliding centre console that doubles up as an armrest, comfortable seats and excellent visibility. The new digital display graphics are very clear, and the novelty of changeable coloured backgrounds and various displays is sure to enthral new buyers. In truth, though, the system lacks user-friendliness next to many more conventional layouts.
Should I buy one?
There are many reasons to buy a Renault Grand Scenic – it’s good value, comfortable and endlessly practical. But the competition at the price level of the Grand Scenic DCi 160 is tougher than ever. Though the Grand Scenic is a pleasant thing to drive and spend time in, Ford’s S-Max is still in a class of its own when it comes to combining MPV functionality and engaging dynamics.