From £19,590
A sensible, spacious seven-seat MPV

Our Verdict

Renault Grand Scenic

The Renault Grand Scenic isn't interesting to drive, but it is pleasurable to sit in and live with

Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130

What is it?

This is the new Renault Grand Scenic, the French brand’s latest iteration of its staple seven-seat MPV. The new MPV is based on the new Megane’s architecture, and Renault has endowed the Grand Scenic with two new engines.

Here we’re testing the Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130 Dynamique, which is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine that Renault claims offers the power of a 1.8-litre, the torque of a 2.0-litre, but much lower CO2 output and fuel consumption. A 157bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel also makes its debut in the Renault Grand Scenic.

What’s it like?

The new Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130 Dynamique is comfortable, spacious and very practical. The interior is a triumph of child-friendliness, with so many storage cubbies (40, if you’re counting) that school kids could hide in the car for whole terms without anyone finding them. The three central seats slide individually, and the front five headrests can be folded around weary heads to offer airliner seat-style support and sleeping potential.

The two rearmost seats are still uncomfortable for anybody bigger than a small child for long trips, even for the most tolerant of passengers. In fact, the rear-most area is best used as a 564-litre boot (702 litres with seats slid forward), when it will easily swallow all the paraphernalia of a modern family.

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Unfortunately, changing the seating layout isn’t so simple. There’s some hefty tugging and pulling to be done to gain access to the rear two seats, as you need to fold the outer second-row seat down and then tip the whole thing forward. Thankfully, creating the flat boot floor or raising the rear two seats is a much simpler task.

The driving position is now lower and more ‘saloon-like’, and the suspension has been set up to produce less body roll. This makes the Grand Scenic feel like a truly well-sorted MPV, if not like the saloon car that Renault would have you compare it with.

The ride is excellent and, though the soft suspension results in a predictable rocking sensation over speed bumps, even the most severely broken road surfaces are absorbed without fuss. Well-judged steering weight also improves the driving experience and makes the car very easy to place on the road.

The 1.4 TCe engine is all that most Grand Scenic buyers could want. Noise is minimal, refinement is excellent and the engine spins freely enough and has a broad enough torque band that the 1457kg kerbweight doesn’t leave it feeling out of its depth. Still, at higher speeds the engine will need working hard, so if you plan on carrying seven people reguarly the diesel engines are the better bet.

The Renault Grand Scenic’s 1.4 TCe 130’s 173g/km CO2 output, 39.8mpg economy and 0-62mph time of 11.5sec is also competitive, but hardly ground-breaking in this segment.

Should I buy one?

If you’re looking for a spacious seven-seater that can cope with all the family’s needs in comfort and with some interesting flair, then yes. The Renault Grand Scenic is more practical and better to drive than ever, and deserves to remain the default small seven-seat MPV. But competition is strong, and with a Vauxhall Zafira or Citroen Grand C4 Picasso available at Grand Scenic prices there are plenty of reasons to shop around before signing the cheque.

Join the debate


16 April 2009

You can definitely spot more of the styling dept crossover between Renault and Nissan - those boomerang rear lights are straight off the 370Z.

16 April 2009

Good initial report then you'll do a full test and then slag it off as it doesn't handle as well as an S-Max or what ever and all of a sudden it'll be a c**p car.

16 April 2009

hmmm.....I have a soft spot for Renault due to previously owning a Clio Mk2 and their awesome RS versions but their cars are looking more blander by the model. The previous Scenic looks way better. Very disappointing me thinks!

16 April 2009

I was due to have training on it two weeks ago but it was postponed but I saw it yesterday and had a quick poke about, I was at the Renault-Nissan alliance training centre in Watford.

Considering the increased size, 22cm longer than the current one which makes it longer than and Espace, the designers have done a great job of hiding it's extra bulk, the quality of fit and finish is brilliant and it is a good looking car.

16 April 2009

what the hell have renault done to this car, was the designer half asleep. The back end looks fine, actually it looks very good. Then when you make your way to the front of the car it looks like a grasshopper !!!1, awful front end, Renault answer me this question what happend?

16 April 2009

With Renault questioning the format of the next Espace, this is now going to be their flagship MPV. Bearing that in mind, the review on the rear most seat room is slightly disappointing.

Unlike others though, I quite like the look of it. Much more pleasing to the eye than the Zafira.

16 April 2009

I much prefer these rear lights than those on the new Megane Tourer...

16 April 2009

I actually really like it. It looks quite like the ford galaxy It has the same overall shape. I think Renault could Be on to a winner...about time

17 April 2009

I love it, maybe I'm getting old but I think it looks pretty cool - at least in the colour, alloys and general spec that Autocar have in the pictures. On 15" plastic hubcaps with no options in a'doom blue' colour maybe it would look less appealing.

17 April 2009

Nice arse, shame about the face.


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