Regardless of model, all Scenics get 20in wheels; these are much bigger than the wheels you’d usually get in this class. Such large wheels often tend to cause an uncomfortable ride but, thanks to the scenic's large tyre sidewalls, the ride is actually not too bad and certainly no worse than its rivals on 18in wheels.
While expansion joins and potholes can thump through your seat, the car copes well with undulating roads and is comfortable at speed. Tall tyres and soft suspension compensate for the wheels’ significant size.
The downside to this is handling that’s nowhere near as much fun as a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Corner hard and you get lots of body lean, before the nose of the car loses its grip on the road. Factor in precise but uncommunicative steering and you get a car that drives well but isn’t very enjoyable.
The 1.5-litre diesel feels surprisingly flexible and refined for an oil-burner, but it might feel sluggish with a full car. The 1.6 diesels are better for lugging heavy loads, but aren’t as refined; even the more potent version isn’t what you’d call brisk.
That’s partially down to a standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Driven carefully, it’s smooth, but it sometimes pauses before changing down if you accelerate hard. Manual transmissions are available, but the 'box takes its time to respond to a gearshift and can feel a bit rubbery.
Renault also offers a petrol-electric Hybrid Assist variant of the 1.5 dCi 110 diesel 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.
We have yet to sample the new 1.3-litre petrol engines, which replaced Renault’s chronically underpowered 1.2-litre units.