Petrol fans can choose between a 109bhp 1.6 and a turbocharged 1.2 with 114bhp. However, most buyers will prefer diesel power, and both choices are good ones. There’s a 109bhp 1.5-litre unit that comes with or without stop-start, and it offers reasonably eager performance. The 128bhp 1.6 turbodiesel offers more grunt.
The Scenic’s steering has a rather artificial feel, but body roll is well controlled for such a tall car and there’s plenty of grip. Ride comfort is more important than sharp handling in an MPV, though, and the Scenic is starting to feel a little old and uncultured on that score – there’s a jittery, unsettled feel at all speeds.
The Scenic isn’t exactly raucous, but it’s not the quietest MPV around, either. There’s a bit of wind and road noise to be heard on the motorway, and you’ll hear the suspension clunking over urban potholes. The engines are pretty quiet, but with the diesels, you do feel a wee bit too much vibration coming through the pedals.
Family motoring should be good value and that’s what the Scenic offers. List prices are competitive and big savings will be possible with a bit of haggling, although these have to be weighed against comparatively weak resale values. The clean and fuel-efficient range of engines means running costs are good.
Renaults are a mixed bag quality-wise. The cabin has quite a posh feel at first glance, but on closer inspection, the quality of one or two panels lets things down. The assembly is very sturdy, though. Traditionally, Renault hasn't performed brilliantly in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys, but in the 2012 JD Power survey, the Scenic scored reasonably for reliability.
Every model has intelligent front airbags (which deploy by a differing amount depending on the severity of the impact), plus front side airbags, and curtain airbags that run the full length of the car. Stability control is standard, too. The numerous cubbyholes around the cabin can be used to keep valuables away from prying eyes. You also get deadlocks and a fully integrated stereo.
There’s lots of adjustment to help you get comfy, but that’s about where the good news ends. Rear visibility isn’t great, and the system that controls the radio and Bluetooth functions is a mess of poorly-marked controls and overly complicated menus. What’s more, you lose half of the information displayed on your digital instrument cluster every time you use the radio.
All five seats are surrounded by a decent amount of head and legroom, and the three individual second-row seats can be slid, reclined, folded and tumbled independently of one another. However, the back seats have to be lifted out completely to free up the car’s maximum cargo space. In other, more user-friendly rivals, this involves simply folding them flat into the floor.
The Scenic comes in just one trim level – Dynamique TomTom, - but it comes with all sorts of luxury goodies. Alloy wheels, Bluetooth, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and (yep, you guessed it) TomTom satellite navigation are all provided as standard. Also standard is a four-year warranty that includes free servicing and roadside assistance for the same period.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
We may prefer the dCi 130 engine, but it's too expensive. This cheaper dCi 110 model is much more affordable - and the pick of the range.