Every Grand Scenic comes with wheels that, at 20in, are far bigger than the class norm. You might expect them to cause the car to thump and crash over bumps and ruts, but the ride is actually surprisingly comfortable. Yes, you do feel potholed roads and sharp-edged bumps through the base of the seat, but it’s no worse than the majority of rivals with wheels that are an inch or two smaller. That’s partially down to big tyre sidewalls, but also suspension that is pretty soft.
The Grand Scenic leans over noticeably in corners, though. Throw in steering that’s precise but numb and you get a car that’s pleasant enough to drive along at normal speeds but not much fun on a winding road.
In terms of engines, the 1.5-litre diesel is surprisingly refined and flexible for an oil-burner, but you might struggle a little if you regularly have a full car. The 1.6-litre units are much stronger but not quite as refined.
Renault also offers a petrol-electric Hybrid Assist variant of the 1.5 dCi 110 engine for a small outlay. It’s a mild hybrid, so it can’t run in silent electric-only mode like a Toyota Prius+ or Hyundai Ioniq, but it’s the most efficient option on paper and is worth considering if you’re a company car buyer.
The most powerful engine, the dCi 160, is only available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox called EDC. When driven sensibly, it shifts smoothly, but it can be slow to change down when you put your foot down. You can change gears manually but, again, the gearbox is slow to respond to your commands. The manual gearboxes do the job well, but feel vague and rubbery.
We have yet to sample the new range of turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol engines that have been brought in to replace Renault’s chronically underpowered 1.2-litre petrol units.