New Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic - What's the story?
It took the arrival of the Vauxhall Zafira in 1999 to convince Renault there was a market for something bigger but cleverer and more flexible than a five-seater compact MPV. So, while the Scenic is now into its third generation, the Grand Scenic is appearing in only its second iteration with the latest model.
The Zafira is one of three major Grand Scenic rivals due to be replaced within the next two years or so, the others being the Toyota Verso and the Volkswagen Touran. VW has admitted it intends to refresh the Touran with the new face, engines and technology seen in the latest Golf, while leaving the interior configuration largely unchanged. We'd expect it to go on sale in the UK around the turn of the year.
The new Zafira is further away – it's scheduled to appear some time in 2011. It will be based on GM's new medium-sized platform, which will be the basis of a number of cars, including the electric Ampera (shown at Geneva in March) and the next Astra (due to be revealed at Frankfurt in September). What we don't know is whether Vauxhall plans major changes to the interior: up to now the Zafira's ultimate practicality has always been compromised by the bench seat in the middle row.
However, GM will have a compact MPV using this platform in 2010. It's the Chevrolet Orlando which has been doing the rounds of motor shows in the past year. There'll also be one other manufacturer entering the compact seven-seater market for the first time. Peugeot has announced plans to introduce an MPV based on the 3008, the SUV-hatchback crossover it unveiled at Geneva, later this year. It's likely to be seen for the first time at Frankfurt.