What's the used Renault Scenic MPV like?
The idea of a stylish MPV might sound counter-intuitive, but the Renault Scenic is intended to be just that. With smooth lines and stylish touches on the outside, it’s a world away from the utilitarian boxiness of most MPVs, with the result that it stands out from the crowd. Some might even call it handsome.
But buyers value flexibility, versatility and space in this market, so good looks are only advantageous if they don’t compromise practicality. So can the Scenic hold its own in matters of the head, as well as the heart?
Four main models make up the range. Expression+ is the cheapest, with dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and a digital radio all coming as standard; Dynamique Nav adds, as its name suggests, sat-nav, as well as folding picnic tables and front and rear parking sensors; Dynamique S Nav then gives you a colour, touchscreen infotainment system and a panoramic roof, while Signature Nav tops out the range with such refinements as leather seats and LED headlights.
The Scenic’s huge windows make it feel very spacious up front, but further back things aren’t so good. The floor is strangely high and the rear seats are mounted low, which means if you sit in them, your knees are forced upwards and your legs feel cramped – there’s certainly less space back here than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf SV or Citroen C4 Picasso.
The portrait-oriented touchscreen you get on higher-spec Scenics is a sensible idea because it gives you a great view of the way ahead when you’re using the sat-nav. Sadly, the menus you use to navigate the system are labyrinthine and tricky to use, and there are only a couple of shortcut buttons, meaning you find yourself having to chop and change between menus whenever you want to adjust something.
Similarly flawed is the dashboard itself. It’s quite nicely styled, which means it looks good at first, but look closer and you find hard, cheap-looking plastics lower down. And while you get smart-looking TFT screens instead of traditional gauges, you can’t change their function like you can in the virtual cockpits you’ll find available on some rivals.
The news doesn’t improve out on the road because, in both petrol and diesel form, the lower-powered engines struggle to lug the Scenic’s heft around, even when it’s empty. Upgrading to a more potent version helps but, even then, there are rivals that do it better.