The Renault Scenic did for mid-sized MPVs what the Espace did for full sized versions. It led the market for several years before other manufacturers realised the benefits of adapting their C-segment platforms to accommodate more space. Now in its third generation, Renault's expertise is evident. It ticks all the boxes required for an MPV - space, practicality, robust build quality and value for money.
The seats are comfortable in a functional sense, and there is no end of storage space dotted around. It's a shame the sliding centre unit is a redundant gimmick, and removing the rear seats proves almost as inconvenient as mining coal, but otherwise it's hard to find fault inside. There's a wide range of trim levels to choose from, but all have a generous amount of kit.
Three petrol and two diesel engines are offered, with the 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesels the champions when it comes to cost of running, if not initial purchase cost. The 1.5dCi engine develops 109bhp and 177lb ft, making it good for a 12.4sec 0-62, while the 128bhp 1.6 makes 236lb ft for a 10.3sec 0-62 time. Renault's new 1.6-litre diesel replaces the old 1.9-litre unit, which includes a range of fuel-saving features, including stop-start, 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 illustrate how much reducing consumption is an incremental task, the Energy dCi's stop-start system reduces CO2 output by just three percent and the new oil pump by just one percent.