What is it?
As well as taking the trouble to facelift the Scenic, Renault has added a new model to the popular MPV lineup: the rufty-tufty XMOD, a peculiar creation intended to gatecrash the crossover sales bonanza.
Although it may be papering over the hole where a proper SUV-shaped contender would sit (Dacia gets that), the car does have notable antecedents - not least the short-lived and four-wheel-drive Scenic RX4.
For the sake of cost, the XMOD doesn’t send power beyond the front axle. Instead it receives a new traction control system roughly comparable to Peugeot’s 'Grip Control'. Dubbed Grip Xtend, Renault’s version comes with three operating modes - Road, Loose Ground and Expert - assigned to a similar centre console selector. Like the recently reviewed 2008, the ASR’s revised software code is backed up by a set of Continental mud and snow tyres.
To help it live up to its rugged billing, Renault has clad the XMOD in extraneous off-road flippery, including beefier body mouldings, modified front and rear bumpers and black roof bars. Underneath it shares the Scenic’s revised engine range, comprising three petrol engines — most notably the new 1.2-litre TCe — and two versions of the familiar 1.5-litre diesel lump. In 108bhp format, tested here, the Dynamique TomTom model is reportedly capable of 68.9mpg and emits a lowly 105g/km CO2.