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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The original mid-sized MPV remains one of the most versatile you can buy

Against It only has five seats when some of its rivals have seven, and the gearchange is poor

Verdict The Scenic is a brilliant family car with a flexible and spacious cabin

Go for… 1.9 dCi Expression

Avoid… RX4

Renault Scenic MPV
  • 1. Even with all five seats in use, the boot will still hold their luggage
  • 2. Check for loose trim and listen out for rattles from all over the cabin
  • 3. It's best to buy a model from after 1999, as it will have extra safety equipment
  • 4. Broken wiper motors are not uncommon, and can be time-consuming to sort
  • 5. The engines are generally tough, but the gearchange can become vague and sloppy
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Renault Scenic MPV full review with expert trade views

Renault got it spot on again in the MPV sector with the Megane Scenic. It took a small hatch as a base and turned it in to a far more versatile car, thanks to three rear seats that can be individually removed to allow for all sorts of passenger and cargo permutations.

The driving position is a little too bus-like for some drivers, because of the awkward angle of the steering wheel, but comfort is good for other occupants. With all five seats in use, the boot is still capable of holding their luggage.

There’s a broad spread of trim and engine options, so there’s a Scenic for every driver, although the Renault is not as good to drive or as refined as a Vauxhall Zafira. The Zafira also has the advantage of seven seats, something this generation of Scenic never had.

Trade view

John Owen

Looking tired and dated now, reflected in values. Beware tired-looking cars - parts costly

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

A face-lift in July 1999 brought in a more distinctive and individual look for the Megane Scenic. It also ushered in front and side airbags as standard, so a face-lifted model is a better bet if you place safety high on your priority list.

At the same time, peppier new 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines arrived and these make the Scenic far better to drive than the previous engines. However, we’d go for the 1.9 dCi turbodiesel for its strong mid-range shove and excellent fuel economy, even if it’s not the most refined engine.

The mid-spec Expression has a good balance of useful equipment and comfort. It includes air-con, and later ones also came with a CD player.

One Scenic to avoid at all costs is the RX4 four-wheel-drive model. It’s no use off-road, costs more to run and is not as reliable as other Scenics.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Face-lifted model from ’99, 1.6 Sport Alize or 1.9 Ti Sport Alize

James Ruppert
Used car guru

You can find a Scenic to fit most pockets, thanks to the broad range of engines and trim options. All of the engines are easy on fuel, especially the diesels, but avoid the RX4 models, as they are also costlier to insure and service, while replacement parts cost more, too.

Renault’s franchised dealers are about average for labour rates according to Warranty Direct, and independent garages will have no problems servicing a Scenic. Just take a long look at any car’s service record to check if it has needed plenty of remedial work - Scenics can go wrong in an expensive way.

Trade view

John Owen

Looking tired and dated now, reflected in values. Beware tired-looking cars - parts costly

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The Megane Scenic is one of the better built Renaults of its era, but you may still find loose trim and hear rattles from all over the cabin. And, the rear seats can become loose on their mounts if they have not been properly reinstalled after being taken out, and their runners have been bent.

The engines are generally tough, but the gearchange can become even more vague and sloppy than it was when new. To cure this will require new bushes throughout the gear linkage – the parts won’t be expensive but the labour might be.

Broken wiper motors are not uncommon and this can be time-consuming to sort. The automatic gearbox is also known to cause trouble and is a much more costly item to put right.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Face-lifted model from ’99, 1.6 Sport Alize or 1.9 Ti Sport Alize

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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