THE MPV gets a bad rep compared to the estate and the SUV. Buyers rarely consider one these days.
Renault is looking to change this with the new Grand Scenic, which boasts a seriously sharp exterior, huge alloy wheels and hi-tech cabin.
Let’s start with the styling, which draws heavily from the R-Space concept of 2011 and sees the typically unattractive shape chiselled into a sleek, steeply raked side profile.
In a brave move, Renault is kitting out all Grand Scenics with 20in alloy wheels as standard. It could be a potential nightmare for ride and comfort, but engineers have created a special rim that’s thinner, and tweaked the suspension to cope.
Key facts: RENAULT GRAND SCENIC DYNAMIQUE S NAV dCi 130
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
0-62mph: 11.4 secs
Top speed: 118mph
Turning circle: 11.39m
It now takes a bespoke resistance tyre, but the firm has hooked up with three major manufacturers to keep the cost of new rubber to a minimum. Inside, the machine is treated to Renault’s cool R-Link touch-screen display, which takes care of every-thing from digital radio to personal-isation of the interior lighting.
The boot is enormous
Impressive as the cabin may be, it doesn’t feel as practical or hardy as its rivals, with a lack of stowage solutions and materials that look as if they’d take a battering from small hands and feet. That said, the boot is enormous, extending to 1,900 litres when all rear seats are folded flat but the rear feels a bit cramped.
Yes, you can slide everything backwards and forwards to create room but it doesn’t feel as spacious as, say, a Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.
On the plus side, a cool optional armrest for front passengers slides back to create a divide in the rear quarters (great for separating squabbling kids). This unit also comes with USB slots and the seatback tray tables include an elastic strip to keep iPads in place.
This is no supercar through the corners, but your family will thank Renault for that
The driving experience is as you’d expect, with the lower-powered 108bhp diesel engine feeling weedy but the mid-range 128bhp version doing a good job of getting up to speed. There’s also a 128bhp petrol on offer, which likes to be revved more freely.
It goes without saying that this is no supercar through the corners, but your family will thank Renault for that.
The new Grand Scenic may not trouble rival MPVs in terms of practicality and space – but it is a good-looking alternative to an SUV.