Making a green MPV isn't easy. You need something big and high-sided for practicality purposes, but that means strapping on an engine powerful enough to haul all that bulk around. You'd think there would always be a penalty in emissions and fuel economy.
Not in the Grand Scenic's case, because this new version of Renault's seven-seater pumps out less CO2 than a 1.0-litre Vauxhall Corsa. It's all down to a new ultra-efficient 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine (which will be filtering down to Renault’s smaller models over the coming months).
Despite such impressive green credentials, there’s 128bhp on tap, which makes ferrying around a big family and their accompanying baggage remarkably effortless. You do need to keep the engine spinning at more than 1500rpm – below that it’s rather flat – but otherwise it’s smooth and punchy.
The Grand Scenic has enough space for seven adults, with good legroom in the front and middle rows, and excellent headroom throughout, while the rearmost seats fold into the floor to create a huge boot. The Grand Scenic isn't quite as big or flexible as a Seat Alhambra, but it emits less CO2 and is cheaper to buy.
We say cheaper, not cheap, because even in entry-level I-Music trim the 1.6 dCi 130 will set you back more than £21,000. However, there’s plenty of equipment to keep you and the family happy and safe, including climate and cruise controls, automatic lights and wipers, an MP3 adapter, Bluetooth, stability control and six airbags.
Fiat Qubo 1.3 Multijet 75 Mylife Price £14,100 Target Price £12,995 CO2 113g/km NOx 0.173g/km Particulate emissions 0.30mg/km Average economy 65.7mpgSeat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 140 Ecomotive S Price £24,780 Target Price £23,275 CO2 146g/km NOx 0.138g/km Particulate emissions 0.00mg/km Average economy 50.4mpg