Renault Grand Scenic 1.5dci 2010

I have never really had a desire to own an MPV of any kind, the only one that ever tempted me into buying such a thing was an S-Max, they look cool while still being big. Other than that the rest of them could all vanish over night and I wouldn’t have noticed. So when I was offered a Renault Grand Scenic I was a little, to use internet speak, meh. But when I saw it I changed my mind somewhat, it’s still a big long car but it’s understated and dare I say it, a bit cool. The lower than usual nose and long head lights give it a puppy dog who’ll bite look, there’s a high roof line leading to boomerang shaped tail lights and a flat square tailgate, it’s a good look and it works. Speaking of things that work, the keyless entry is great, just keep the card in your pocket, when you pull any door handle the car opens, get into the drivers’ seat push the start button and off you go; you can even turn the lights on from the key card. When you get out and walk away the doors lock and the alarm is set, it’s a little strange at first because if you go back to check the doors actually locked they open again but you soon learn to trust it. The boot is perfect, at 702ltrs it’s huge. The square shape of the opening mixed with a low rear bumper means you’ll have no trouble getting anything you want in; with the 7 seats in place its 208ltr which isn’t very big but it’s enough for short journeys. Now if you really need some room you can fold all the rear seats away and get a whopping 2063ltrs of space, that’s bigger than some vans. There are also lots of cubby holes around the car, under the floor and drawers under the front seats, if you add them all together you get another 84ltrs of storage, in fact there’s so much storage it’s a bit easy to forget where you put something in the car.

It’s in the cabin where this car comes into it’s own, there’s plenty of light and space, in 5 seat mode there’s tonnes of room in the back for 3 adults, the three individual seats means you can even put two big child seats and adult in the back. Each of the seats move forward, flipped up, turned into a table or removed altogether. Also in the back you get two airline type tables that flip up from the back of the front seats, there’s a hole in each for a cup but I couldn’t find a cup that would fit into them, also on the rear of the front seats there’s pockets galore, two at the top and a bigger one down low. The drivers’ seat is a very comfortable place, all the useful controls are at hand, and the big TFT screen is bright and easy to read, it tells you all the things you need to know without being over complicated. The Tomtom sat nav sits right next to it, the controls for the sat nav are on the arm rest in the middle of the car and if I’m honest the control unit feels clumsy, the control wheel in the middle (which does most of the work) seems to lag behind the screen a bit meaning it’s hard to spell out the place you want to go. Once it’s set its great, lane warnings and an ability to fix mistakes in the maps means you won’t get lost. The sound from the stereo is exceptional, but the interface is difficult to use, scanning for a channel seems to take a couple of key presses and using an iPod with it needs a degree in engineering.

The biggest problem was turning the radio off, you see there’s a button to do it but that same button turns off the sat nav and Bluetooth hands free, fine you say just turn it down then, but that means turning down the sat nav voice too. It would have been much easier to put in a button for the radio separate from everything else. The fit and finish along with exceptional materials used gives a feeling of luxury, the whole car seems really well put together.
The 1.5dci engine struggles to give low down power, it’s 106bhp but all of that is at the top end of the rev range, but once you get it up to speed it’s very quiet and composed on the motorway. Speaking of motorways, I took the family down to Galway in the Scenic along the M6, my god what a boring drive that is, never in all my life have I wanted to have auto pilot on a car as when I drove down that road. Not only does nothing happen but there’s nothing to look at, still the car was great, I kept myself occupied with looking at the points of interest on the sat nav; there were none, even the kids fell asleep. I pulled over for a rest and a coffee, that’s when I found the drivers’ cup-holder, it’s on the floor of the car, it’s awkward to get at and if you slide the armrest forward it becomes impossible.
Around the town the car feels big and the rear suspension is bouncy over speed bumps. If you get onto the back roads the rear of the car wallows around a bit, that said there’s no sign of under steer, as big as the Scenic is the turn in is fine.
The Grand Scenic is a fantastically practical car that can be put to any use, it’s just not desirable but none of the MPV type cars are. The key factor of this car is price, with all the best equipment in the Tomtom edition the retail price is €30190 plus €450 for metallic paint, but with discounts and the scrappage scheme taken into account you could have this car for €26,140, that’s cheaper than some hatchbacks on the market! It’s even in tax band B, €156 a year tax. So if you need a huge 5 seat car or a decent size 7 seat then look no further. Contact your local Renault dealer for more details or you can see the car I drove on
Just incase you missed it, I did a video review of the Scenic, you can find it here.