Renault Scenic E-Tech reader test team

A familiar name has returned on Renault’s new electric SUV. But will it capture the public imagination in the way its MPV namesake did? Our readers give their verdicts...

Renault Scenic E-Tech reader test team

Once denoting a family-friendly MPV, the new Renault Scenic now graces a family SUV. Expected to start at just over £40,000, it’s an electric rival to the Nissan Ariya, with which it shares its underpinnings, and a host of other models, including the Skoda Enyaq. 

In spite of the switch from MPV to SUV styling, the Renault Scenic’s interior remains a paragon of practicality. It’s said to offer enough space for five adults, plus lots of useful storage cubbies and USB ports for device charging dotted around the cabin. 

There will be some other clever tech on offer, too, including variable tinting for its panoramic glass roof and a camera-based rear view mirror. All versions will come with the Google-based infotainment system that’s backed up by voice control. 

Buyers will be able to choose between a 60kWh battery that brings a 261-mile official range, and an 87kWh that’s good for 385 miles. The smaller unit can charge at up to 130kW, and the larger battery at up to 150kW. Importantly, all new Scenic models will be supplied with a heat pump as standard. This efficient way of heating the interior should lessen the effect that colder weather has on reducing the electric car range. 

To find out if the new Scenic has the wow factor to become a best-seller like its namesake, and whether it'll appeal more than the Nissan Ariya and Skoda Enyaq, we asked a panel of readers to tell us what they think of it. 

Michael Bye

Renault Scenic E-Tech RTT

Age 63
Job Retired
Drives Ford Galaxy, Mazda CX-3

“The Scenic is a great-looking car. The front end looks brilliant; I think it’s more attractive than many other new electric SUVs.

“The driving position is good, too, and the two digital screens up front are large and easy to read. The portrait-orientated touchscreen is responsive and clear, and I like how there are physical buttons for important controls, such as the air-con.

“I also like the idea of the camera-based rear-view mirror, because it means you’ll still be able to see what’s behind you if you’re carrying large, bulky items in the boot.

“Other neat touches include a fold-down rear armrest, which has two cupholders and two smartphone stands in it that can be twisted to angle phones towards each rear seat passenger.

“The sunroof’s variable shade is clever; you can keep the sun off children in the back seats, while allowing it into the front. There’s not much foot space for those sitting in the rear seats, though.

“My big concern with electric cars, prior to finding out about the Scenic, was range. However, the 380-mile capacity of the larger-battery model would be acceptable. Having the heat pump should also help it retain its range in the winter.” 

Star rating 5/5

Holger Marsen

Renault Scenic E-Tech RTT

Age 52 
Job IT manager and science teacher
Drives Skoda Kodiaq

“Renault has always been an interesting brand to me, and I think the Scenic looks fantastic. It’s not overly exotic or too futuristic-looking like some EVs, but it looks fresh and modern. The creases on the bonnet give it a slightly aggressive air, and the angled panels at the back should help it stand out from rivals.

“The seats are comfy, and even though I’m 6ft 5in tall, I was able to find a good driving position. I often have to sit in front of or behind the central door pillars for good side visibility, but I didn’t have to in the Scenic.

“I avoid cars with traditional sunroofs because I tend to bang my head on them, but the panoramic glass roof in the Scenic works well for me.

“The boot is good and deep. It’s bigger than my wife’s Skoda Yeti’s; we sometimes carry hay bales, and I think the Scenic’s boot is big enough to take one.

“The two USB ports on the rear seat armrest are a family-friendly feature; they give children somewhere to plug electrical devices in on long journeys.

“I’m very impressed by what I’ve seen of the Scenic so far, but I’ll hold off from giving it a fifth star because it’s not as roomy in the back as my Kodiaq.” 

Star rating 4/5

Steve White

Renault Scenic E-Tech RTT

Age 58
Job Electrical engineer
Drives Volvo V60

“Renault’s styling has come along in leaps and bounds. The new Scenic is much more stylish than the frumpy MPV it used to be.

“The interior trim has lots of different textures and I think that gives it a premium feel. I also like the fact that it’s trimmed in vegan leather, because it will be as hard-wearing and easy to keep clean as leather, but it’s better for the environment.

“Having the gearlever behind the steering wheel is clever; it makes it easy to reach and frees up space between the front seats for a storage bin. The squared-off steering wheel might take a bit of getting used to, but it makes sense so that taller people don’t knock their knees on it getting in and out. You can use all the controls on it without taking your eyes off the road, too.

“I’m not convinced that having the charging port on the front wing of the car is the best idea, though; I think it’ll be a stretch to get some public charging leads to reach it and you might need to drape the lead across the bonnet, which could mark it.” 

Star rating 4/5

David Tinker 

Renault Scenic E-Tech RTT

Age 69
Job Retired
Drives Mini Convertible, Volvo V60 Cross Country

“We’re thinking of replacing my V60 and my wife’s Mini with a single vehicle, and I was keen to see the Scenic to find out if it would be practical enough and have enough range to do the jobs of both of our existing cars.

“We drive from Bedfordshire to Devon fairly often and the diesel Volvo is ideal for this, being quiet, comfortable and economical. The drive is around 250 miles each way, so the Scenic’s range would be good enough to mean we don’t have to charge up at motorway service stations on the way.

“I’m very taken with the way the Scenic looks. The front end is quite bluff, but it works well, and the rear is striking and quite avant-garde.

“The interior has a premium feel and there are lots of high- tech features. I’m pleased to see that Renault has decided to leave lots of physical buttons on the dash, too; these will be far less distracting to use on the move than touchscreen controls.

“On first impressions, I think the Scenic could make a fitting replacement for my Volvo. I’m more inclined to go electric now that I’ve seen it, but I can’t give it a perfect score until that price tag has been confirmed.” 

Star rating 4/5

Simon Carpenter 

Renault Scenic E-Tech RTT

Age 51 
Job Commercial operations manager 
Drives Kia EV6

“Having three children, I would like to see how the Scenic stacks up against my current car in terms of practicality, comfort, range and ease of charging.

“I’m not sure the rear bench would be wide enough to seat all three of my children in comfort. One is still using a booster seat, and it doesn’t look as wide as the rear seat in the Kia.

“For work, I regularly drive from Surrey to Poole, in Dorset, so range is important to me, but if the 380-mile range of the 85kWh Scenic is as good as they say, it would work well for my

commute. I’d like to know if there are plans to increase the maximum charging speed from 150kW, though; my EV6 can charge at up to 225kW, and that worked well with the extremely fast chargers I found in France earlier this year.

“I’m impressed by the Scenic’s technology. The Google-based infotainment system lets me send a note from my laptop to the car so I can share pre- planned routes and automatically see them on the screen. I do a high mileage and spend a lot of time sorting out routes in advance, and at present I have to manually input them into the EV6’s sat-nav.” 

Star rating 4/5

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