How do you make the super-sensible MPV class sexy? With the seven-seat Grand Scenic, Renault seems to think that the trick is to add some of the design flair and muscularity that have helped make SUVs so popular, so as standard you get a relatively lofty ride height, a high waistline and massive 20in wheels.
But don’t go thinking that Renault has compromised on practicality (arguably the Scenic’s USP) in order to jump on the SUV gravy train. Even those massive wheels have been designed with usability in mind, coming with specially designed tyres that have high-profile sidewalls to give a pliant ride that’s comparable to that of the competition; cleverly, the tyres also have a low rolling resistance to counteract any impact the larger-diameter wheels have on the CO2 figures. It’s all very clever stuff.
But, that said, things are a little less advanced under the bonnet. The Scenic comes with a familiar range of petrol and diesel engines that range from a 1.3-litre petrol engine with two power outputs, to 1.5 and 1.6-litre diesels. There are also three trim levels, all of which get the basics such as electric windows and air conditioning. Importantly, all models get automatic emergency braking and scored a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s safety tests – a vital factor for a car designed for families.
So, on paper, then, the Grand Scenic looks like a worthy adversary to the Volkswagen Touran and Citroën Grand C4 Spacetourer, but to learn how it drives, how practical it is, what it’ll cost you to buy and own and how it compares with its rivals, read on. And remember, if you decide the Grand Scenic is right for you, head over to our New Car Buying pages, where you could get a discount from the list price without the hassle of haggling.