Used Renault Scenic MPV 1997 - 2003 review

Category: MPV

The Renault Scenic is a brilliant family car with a flexible and spacious cabin

Renault Scenic MPV (97 - 03)
  • Renault Scenic MPV (97 - 03)
  • Renault Scenic MPV (97 - 03)
Used Renault Scenic MPV 1997 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Renault Scenic MPV like?

Renault got it spot on again in the MPV sector with the Renault Megane Scenic. It took a small hatch as a base and turned it in to a far more versatile car, thanks to three rear seats that can be individually removed to allow for all sorts of passenger and cargo permutations.

The driving position is a little too bus-like for some drivers, because of the awkward angle of the steering wheel, but comfort is good for other occupants. With all five seats in use, the boot is still capable of holding their luggage.


The Renault Scenic is a brilliant family car with a flexible and spacious cabin

  • The original mid-sized MPV remains one of the most versatile you can buy
  • It only has five seats when some of its rivals have seven and the gearchange is poor

There's a broad spread of trim and engine options, so there's a Scenic for every driver, although the Renault is not as good to drive or as refined as a Vauxhall Zafira. The Zafira also has the advantage of seven seats, something this generation of Scenic never had.

Ownership cost

What used Renault Scenic MPV will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Renault Scenic MPV?

You can find a Scenic to fit most pockets, thanks to the broad range of engines and trim options. All of the engines are easy on fuel, especially the diesels, but avoid the RX4 models, as they are also costlier to insure and service, while replacement parts cost more, too.

Renault's franchised dealers are about average for labour rates according to Warranty Direct, and independent garages will have no problems servicing a Scenic. Just take a long look at any car's service record to check if it has needed plenty of remedial work - Scenics can go wrong in an expensive way.

Our recommendations

Which used Renault Scenic MPV should I buy?

A face-lift in July 1999 brought in a more distinctive and individual look for the Megane Scenic. It also ushered in front and side airbags as standard, so a face-lifted model is a better bet if you place safety high on your priority list.

At the same time, peppier new 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines arrived and these make the Scenic far better to drive than the previous engines. However, we'd go for the 1.9 dCi turbodiesel for its strong mid-range shove and excellent fuel economy, even if it's not the most refined engine.

The mid-spec Expression has a good balance of useful equipment and comfort. It includes air-con, and later ones also came with a CD player.

One Scenic to avoid at all costs is the RX4 four-wheel-drive model. It's no use off-road, costs more to run and is not as reliable as other Scenics.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used Renault Scenic MPV?