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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For It's a practical and cheap compact MPV with a comfortable ride and willing diesel engines

Against It's not the sharpest car to drive and the smaller engines are too weedy

Verdict The best version yet of the original compact MPV

Go for… 1.9 diesel Expression

Avoid… 1.4/1.6 petrols

Renault Scenic MPV
  • 1. The bulky pillars and small rear screen are frustrating when reversing
  • 2. Check for electrical glitches, like windows with a mind of their own and indicators that cancel themselves
  • 3. The best engine for this car is the 1.9 dCi turbodiesel
  • 4. Maintenance costs are just above average, and servicing a VW Touran will be cheaper
  • 5. Squealing brakes can be common, and often fixed by using a different type of brake pad
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Renault Scenic MPV full review with expert trade views

There's plenty of space and practicality in both five-seat Scenic and seven-seat Grand Scenic. The three rear seats can be folded or removed completely, while the additional two rearmost chairs in the Grand can be folded into the boot floor. Plenty of storage areas take care of the little things in family life.

Most trim levels are well equipped with creature comforts and all have first-class safety features, which helped earn the car a maximum five-star crash safety rating from Euro NCAP.

It’s also a comfortable and pretty refined car, provided you avoid the smaller engines. The ride is supple and it feels grippy and composed in corners, albeit with a fair degree of lean in bends and precious little feel in the steering.

The gearshift is imprecise, too, but more irritating are the bulky pillars and small rear screen that are frustrating when reversing.

Trade view

John Owen

More durable than previous model. Some minor mechanical concerns. Avoid beige paint

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The best all-rounder is the 1.9 dCi turbodiesel with either 118bhp or 128bhp. It remains quiet at speed, copes with a full load and delivers impressive fuel economy.

Of the other diesels, the 85bhp 1.5 dCi diesel is frugal but slow, while the 105bhp 1.9 dCi is a good bet if you can’t stretch to one of the more powerful versions.

As for petrol engines, the 1.4-litre (Scenic only) and 1.6-litre (both models) can feel underpowered when the family is on board or on steep inclines. However, the 2.0 pulls well and, if that still isn't enough, there’s an even stronger 2.0 turbocharged model.

Picking between the two body styles is difficult, too. But, overall, we just prefer the longer Grand for its seven seats and more supple ride, although we wouldn’t feel hard done by with a five-seat Scenic.

If you're buying one of the smaller engined models, avoid the Authentique models, which miss out on air-con. Instead, go for Expression, which gives the best value (air-con, four electric windows, CD player, automatic headlights and wipers), although Dynamic runs it close. Privilege trim is the top spec, but not worth the cost.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Petrol struggles, diesel the preferred buy, Grand Scenic still rare

James Ruppert
Used car guru

All models lose money pretty fast from new, so even nearly new examples are relatively cheap – although you’ll still lose a chunk of your initial outlay if you buy too new.

And, alongside cheap prices, affordable running costs are one of the Scenic's greatest attractions, and all models are very easy on the juice.

Our pick, the more powerful 1.9 dCi turbodiesel, should manage more than 45mpg, while the 105bhp 1.9 takes it to just over 50mpg and the 1.5 dCi into the mid-50s. Even the 1.4 and 1.6 petrols nudge close to 40mpg, and the 2.0 and 2.0 turbo petrols mid-30s.

Servicing costs are just above average. A VW Touran will be cheaper, for instance, especially if you choose diesel, but the Scenic is broadly on a par with a Vauxhall Zafira. Still, insurance ranges from a modest group 4 up to just 8 for the 165bhp 2.0 turbo.

Trade view

John Owen

More durable than previous model. Some minor mechanical concerns. Avoid beige paint

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

There are no known major faults with the Scenic or Grand Scenic. However, there is a long list of niggly things that would drive you mad fairly quickly, so check for the following.

Build quality can be patchy, especially on the rear window blind, glovebox, sunroof and, occasionally, body panels. Squealing brakes can be common, and often fixed by using a different type of brake pad.

Electric windows can have a mind of their own, as can the electric door mirrors. Indicators have been known to cancel themselves prematurely on some cars.

There are plenty of reports of faulty alarms, frequently caused by dodgy sensors. The central locking may be reluctant to work and electric parking brakes can stick. There can also be intermittent problems with engine starting, stalling and uneven idling on some cars.

All in all, it’s worth getting one that’s still within its three-year, 60,000-mile Renault warranty.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Petrol struggles, diesel the preferred buy, Grand Scenic still rare

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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