Renault Scenic review

Category: Electric car

The Scenic is back as an electric car with good practicality and an official range of up to 379 miles

Renault Scenic E-Tech front cornering
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front cornering
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear cornering
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior dashboard
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech boot open
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior driver display
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front right driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front right driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear right driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech headlights detail
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech wheel detail
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech charging socket
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear lights detail
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior front seats
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior back seats
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear armrest
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech infotainment touchscreen
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech panoramic roof
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech underfloor storage
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front cornering
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear cornering
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior dashboard
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech boot open
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior driver display
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front right driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech front right driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear right driving
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech headlights detail
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech wheel detail
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech charging socket
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear lights detail
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior front seats
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech interior back seats
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech rear armrest
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech infotainment touchscreen
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech panoramic roof
  • Renault Scenic E-Tech underfloor storage
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Brands live or die by moving with the times and reacting to demand – and the team behind the new Renault Scenic appears to have done just that.

You see, while the previous Scenic was a rather unfashionable mini-MPV, the Scenic  you see here is a spacious five-seat electric family car. And – like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 – it blurs the lines between a very big hatchback and an SUV. 

The Scenic also continues the tradition of being a more practical alternative to the Renault Megane (which is now a fully electric car too), and is available with a choice of two batteries and two power options. Three trim levels provide plenty of equipment and Renault's pricing is aimed at making you think twice about choosing key rivals such as the Skoda Enyaq and Tesla Model Y.

Taking back its previous success won’t be easy though, so read on to find out whether the Renault Scenic really has what it takes to compete with the best electric SUVs...

Overview

The Renault Scenic offers decent space and practicality with a well thought out interior. It seems good value too, with the bigger battery option combining an attractive long range between charges while undercutting rivals on price. Some rivals offer more performance, but probably not enough to put off most potential Scenic buyers.

  • Smart and spacious interior
  • More powerful option has plenty of performance
  • Good value against most rivals
  • Rear seat versatility could be better
  • Spongy brake pedal feel
  • Steering response takes time to get used to
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The entry-level Renault Scenic comes with a 60kWh usable capacity battery and a 167bhp electric motor that gets it from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds. That time is on a par with the entry-level Skoda Enyaq 60 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 Standard Range.

The pricier version – which is the car we've test driven so far – has an 87kWh battery and a more powerful 215bhp electric motor. The extra power trims the 0-62mph time to 7.9 seconds, but the Scenic doesn’t leap off the line as immediately as most rivals, so it doesn’t feel particularly quick.

Even so, you could argue that you don’t need a family car like this to be super fast, because the Scenic will be more than sufficient for everyday driving.

There’s still plenty of punch to overtake traffic and get up to motorway speeds, and some buyers will welcome the Scenic building up momentum more gradually, in a similar way to the Enyaq. If you do want something quicker, the Tesla Model Y RWD will shove you harder into your seat, while taking just 6.6 seconds to sprint from 0-62mph.

The Scenic’s suspension has been tuned for comfort rather than agility, and it does a pretty good job of soaking up bumps and remaining calm most of the time. There’s not much of a thump when you tackle large potholes, either.

Although the Scenic doesn’t thud over imperfections like the firmer Model Y, occupants will still experience a fair degree of jostling in their seat, especially at low speeds. The Genesis GV60 is better controlled, but that car is significantly more expensive.

Renault SCENIC E-TECH image
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There’s no adaptive suspension available with the Scenic, so the various driving modes are more concerned with how much power you have and the weight of the steering. Even so, regardless of whether you’re in Eco, Comfort or Sport drive mode, the steering is always fairly light. The inconsistent steering response takes a little time to get used to though.

To help the Scenic avoid feeling twitchy, the initial response isn’t particularly quick, but the speed at which the nose darts into corners increases the more you apply lock. It’s less noticeable around town, but on a country road it takes longer to build up confidence than in a Model Y, with its heavier steering.

That said, the Scenic isn’t really the kind of car you’ll be taking for a weekend blast, and with plenty of body lean when cornering and moderate levels of grip, it’s best to drive it at a relaxed pace. At a cruise, road noise is kept to a minimum, but there is a fair degree of buffeting from the door mirrors.

At low speeds, the brakes take some getting used to. There’s a spongy, inconsistent feel to the brake pedal, which often makes it difficult to come to a stop smoothly, particularly when driving around town. Thankfully, it’s less noticeable when stopping from higher speeds.

We suspect dynamics won’t be as important to most buyers as battery range – and that's an area where the Scenic impresses.

You see, the bigger battery has an official range of up to 379 miles on a full charge in entry-level Techno trim, and only slightly less in higher trim levels. That’s more than the Ioniq 5 Long Range, the Enyaq 85 and even the Model Y Long Range. We doubt you’ll get that range in the real world but it’s encouraging that all trim levels come as standard with a heat pump, to help increase efficiency in the winter.

The smaller battery has an official range of 260 miles on a full charge, which is still slightly more than the Ioniq 5 Standard Range and Skoda Enyaq 60, although not quite as strong as the Model Y RWD’s 283 mile range.

Driving overview

Strengths Competitive electric range; more powerful version is as quick as rivals; reasonably comfortable ride

Weaknesses Some wind noise; inconsistent steering; spongy brake pedal feel

Renault Scenic E-Tech rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

You sit quite low down in the Renault Scenic, and you don’t feel like you’re perched quite as high as in a Tesla Model Y or VW ID 4. Even so, you have a clear view over the low dashboard and the bonnet, although the wide front windscreen pillars do hamper your view out at junctions and roundabouts.

The chunky rear pillars and small rear windscreen somewhat compromise rear visibility, but you get front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera to help out during low-speed manoeuvres. Top-spec Iconic trim adds a 360-degree camera and a digital rear-view mirror to improve rear visibility when your view is blocked by passengers' heads or luggage.

Finding a comfortable driving position is very straightforward, with plenty of height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel and seat.

All trim levels come with electric lumbar adjustment, while top-spec Iconic comes with full electric adjustment to make it even more effortless. It also adds a massage function. The front sports seats fitted to Esprit Alpine trim have much more side support and hold you in place when cornering much better than the standard ones.

If you’ve sat in the Renault Austral family SUV, you'll find the fundamental design of the Scenic’s interior very familiar. Having three stalks on the right hand side of the steering column for the gear selector, windscreen wipers and stereo initially feels quite busy, but doesn’t take too long to get used to.

The Scenic has a 12.3in digital driver display behind the steering wheel and a portrait-oriented 12in infotainment touchscreen tilted slightly towards the driver. They both look crisp and the infotainment software is easy to use, responding swiftly to your prods.

You get plenty of features, including standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. A Google-based system is used for the voice control function and you get built-in Google Maps for sat-nav

As with many of the Scenic’s rivals, you control almost everything through the touchscreen, including the heated seats. However, unlike most rivals (including the Model Y), the Scenic also gets a row of physical buttons below the touchscreen to make changing the fan speed and temperature really easy on the move.

It would be even easier if the stereo volume could be adjusted using a physical rotary dial, rather than the touch-sensitive buttons on the side of the screen. On the plus side, the Harman Kardon stereo on top-spec Iconic provides plenty of punch and is immersive.

Material wise, the Scenic is quite impressive and you’ll find plenty of padded fabric and faux-leather on the dashboard and doors, with fabric also lining the windscreen pillars and roof.

There are scratchy plastics in a few areas, including on the front door tops, but overall there’s much less than in the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The Scenic's interior doesn’t quite have the minimalist showroom appeal of the Model Y, which is filled with soft-touch materials, but looks and feels pleasant. 

Iconic trim cars get a very clever panoramic glass sunroof with an integrated tint called Solarbay, which allows you to switch from a see-through glass roof to an opaque one at the press of a button. You can pick which sections of the roof to tint so, for example, children in the back are protected from bright sunlight while the front remains well lit. 

Interior overview

Strengths Sound driving position; appealing materials; feature-packed infotainment; physical air-con controls

Weaknesses All-round visibility could be better; some cheap plastics

Renault Scenic E-Tech interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The Renault Scenic is focused on serving families, so practicality is obviously a big thing. To that end, there’s loads of space in the front for two six-footers, with plenty of elbow room and lots of leg room to stretch out.

Iconic trim's panoramic roof doesn’t eat into head room because its electronically controlled sun tint removes the need for a sliding blind.

Head room in the back of the Scenic is generous, even for someone sitting in the slightly raised middle seat. However, while there’s a generous amount of knee room, there’s hardly any space under the front seats for passengers' feet.

Indeed, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 have loads more leg room and will likely be more comfortable on long drives, especially for teenagers with long legs. If you’re hoping this Scenic will continue the tradition of offering a seven-seater version, you'll be disappointed – Renault isn't planning to sell an one.

There’s also a huge amount of storage space up front, including door bins that can each take a large bottle of water, a wireless phone-charging tray under the infotainment system and a deep storage cubby underneath the centre armrest.

You get a long storage tray on the lower centre console with a pair of movable dividers that slot into various places. There’s only one integrated cupholder though, and while you can create another one with the dividers, they can be quite fiddly to use.

Rear-seat occupants get map pockets and two smaller pockets for phones and devices on the backs of the front seats. The long, fold-down centre armrest provides lidded storage for your devices and has two cupholders. It also contains a pair of arms that swivel out and have integrated slots designed to hold mobile or tablet devices upright, allowing the outer rear occupants to watch videos.

The Scenic has a 545-litre boot capacity, which is 105 litres bigger than the boot in a Renault Megane. That makes it slightly larger than that of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 – a car that managed to swallow seven carry-on sized suitcases in our tests – so it should take a couple of buggies or a family’s holiday luggage easily. However there’s quite a drop from the boot entrance to the boot floor, so you’ll have to heave bulkier items over a high lip.

At least the load area is uniform in shape, and while you don’t get a height-adjustable boot floor, there is a storage area under the floor for storing the charge cables. Unlike the Ioniq 5 and Tesla Model Y, the Scenic doesn’t have a storage area underneath the front bonnet.

For the times when you need more space, the Scenic’s folding rear seats can be split in a 40/20/40 format. That’s on a par with the Model Y and more versatile than the 60/40 split in an Enyaq. You have to negotiate a big step up from the boot floor to the seat backs when you do though. Unlike the Ioniq 5 and Model Y, the rear seats don’t do anything else clever, like recline or slide fore and aft.

Practicality overview

Strengths Good head and leg room all round; loads of interior storage space; decent-sized boot

Weaknesses High boot loading lip; rear seats don't slide or recline

Renault Scenic E-Tech boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The entry-level Renault Scenic (which has the smaller, 60kWh battery) will cost a little less than the Skoda Enyaq 60 and is significantly cheaper than the Hyundai Ioniq 5 Standard Range, Kia EV6 Air and Tesla Model Y RWD.

If you go for the bigger, 87kWh battery and entry-level Techno trim, the Scenic still undercuts those rivals. The difference is significantly greater if you compare it like for like with their long-range versions.

The Scenic commands the same benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rate as other electric cars and electric SUVs but its lower list price should mean it works out a little cheaper each month as a company car.

The Scenic is expected to lose its value more slowly than an equivalent Ioniq 5, EV6 or Enyaq, and is on a par with the Model Y for depreciation. That should help reduce the monthly costs for private buyers buying on PCP finance (it's worth checking for the latest offers on our New Car Deals pages).

When you do need to plug in the Scenic, the bigger battery will accept a maximum charging rate of up to 150kW, slightly faster than the Enyaq 85 and VW ID 4 but slightly slower than the 175kW offered by the Ioniq 5.

A 10-80% charge takes around 40 minutes with a fast enough charger, which is longer than what it takes for the Enyaq (around 30 minutes) or the Ioniq 5 (around 20 minutes). Meanwhile, the smaller 60kWh battery has a maximum charging rate of 130kW but its smaller capacity means it takes around five minutes less to top up.

Entry-level Techno trim – which is available with either battery size – comes with 19in alloy wheels, two-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel, heated front seats and ambient lighting.

The top two trims – Esprit Alpine and Iconic – are only available with the bigger battery. Esprit Alpine gets larger 20in alloy wheels, sports front seats and blue interior highlights found on the carpet, storage compartments and trim finishers.

The flagship Iconic trim adds a panoramic glass roof, park assist, massaging driver’s seat and a Harman Kardon sound system upgrade.

We’ll have to wait a while before the Scenic features in the What Car? Reliability Survey but Renault finished 23rd out of 32 brands in the 2023 manufacturer league table. That's above Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes but a fair way below Tesla, Kia and Hyundai.

Renault provides a three-year warranty as standard, with unlimited mileage for the first 24 months and a cap of 100,000 miles after that. That’s fairly par for the course and doesn’t match Hyundai’s five year cover of Kia’s seven-year warranty. The Scenic’s main battery is covered for eight years.

The Scenic was awarded the full five stars for safety when it was tested by Euro NCAP. All versions come with automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic-sign recognition as standard.

Costs overview

Strengths Competitive pricing; good level of equipment; holds its value well

Weaknesses Charging time is average


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Renault Scenic E-Tech interior driver display

FAQs

  • Yes, the Scenic is the bigger car.

  • The Scenic has an official range of up to 379 miles.

  • No, there won't be a Grand Scenic version of the latest model.

At a glance
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Target Price from £37,495
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RRP price range £37,495 - £45,495
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)2
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 5
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £75 / £91
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £150 / £182
Available colours