2016 Renault Scenic TCe 130 Signature Nav
The latest trend in the MPV market is that people have been leaving it behind and buying SUVs instead. So Renault’s response with this all new Scenic has been to make it look more like an SUV.
In addition to chunkier styling, the Scenic now has a huge 40mm more ground clearance than before. All models now run 20″ alloys, too, and it’s not so long since that sort of thing was the stuff of rap videos.
So that’s promising, but is it still an MPV at all? Look inside and you have your answer. It’s more spacious than ever, whether in standard or Grand form, and the glovebox and cubby box are epic in size and practicality alike. That’s one example of the thought that’s gone into making the Scenic as practical as possible for family duties, though it’s not the roomiest in the back for adults.
RENAULT SCENIC IV (JFA) MOVING
In our range topping Signature Nav test car, however, what grabs your attention first is a mighty 8.7″ tablet style media screen. This looks great and can be used to do all sorts of things (including folding the rear seats, would you believe), but it’s less than intuitive to operate and takes its time over some functions that ought to happen instantly.
Similarly, the top two models also get a head up unit and there are flat screen displays instead of traditional dash dials. This all looks good, but the former shakes gently as you drive and the latter isn’t as helpfully comprehensive as similar systems used by some other manufacturers.
So it’s flattering a little to deceive thus far. What about once you get up and running?
Let’s start with those 20″ rims. You expect this to be a recipe for the ride from hell,pandora charms but in fact the tyres have higher sidewalls than you’d normally associate with even, say, an 18″ fitment and while it’s not perfect, it bears comparison with cars on that sort of wheel.
It settles down at speed, too, where the fuss you feel over urban roads ebbs away.
RENAULT SCENIC IV (JFA) MOVING
So that’s all fine, and there’s a pleasing accuracy to its steering that makes the Scenic easy and trouble free to pilot at typical speeds. The 1.2 litre engine in our test vehicle gets you about without a problem, too, delivering its power smoothly and settling down to run in near silence on the motorway. We’d expect the diesels in the range to offer a bit more grunt, though.
The 1.2 does need to be thrashed when overtaking, at any rate. Or, by extension, if you want to have fun. Which you won’t behind the wheel of one of these, because its handling is very much safety everything.
It does takes a certain mindset to consider this a bad thing when you’re talking about a car designed to carry children, however. So over to you on that one.
What we certainly can tell you is that for all the body roll and lack of chassis feedback a keen driver will lament, the Scenic is a comfortable and hassle free way of getting about. It’s big, practical and well made, and though some of its high tech gadgets leave us unconvinced its styling is pure yummy mummy.
RENAULT SCENIC IV (JFA) DASHBOARD
No, thought, it’s not a car for keen drivers. That’s what we are, and it’s one reason for the score we think its worth. We might only have given it three and a half stars, though but one look and your kids will give it five.
On sale November; Price (est); Engine 4 cyls, 1198cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 128bhp at 5000rpm Torque 151lb ft at 2000rpm Gearbox 6 spd manual Kerb weight 1430kg; 0 62mph 11.4sec; Top speed 117mph; Economy 48.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 129g/km, 22%.