The Grand Scenic also impresses with its clever use of interior space. At 23cm longer than the normal Scenic, it utilises two independent seats in a rear row, which fold into the boot floor, allowing quick changes from a seven-seater format to a five-seater with decent space for luggage, and there are a number of under-floor storage areas for small items. Such versatility should prove particularly attractive to buyers starting a family who need a vehicle for multiple uses.
On the road, it provides a comfortable, secure ride and despite its size never feels intimidating to manoeuvre, although its electrically assisted handling feels dull compared to its Fiat Multipla rival.
The turbocharged 2-litre engine is the same used across the Megane range and is aimed at attracting dynamic drivers to this segment, however its 165bhp power output is more than enough for the Grand Scenic, to the extent that its lack of an effective traction control system becomes evident while pulling away at junctions in the wet. Low-down turbo lag forces you to use regular changes through the six-speed gearbox to keep the engine on the boil, however I found the sixth ratio so close to fifth its benefit was minimal.
Renault developed the Grand Scenic to attract customers who occasionally require extra carrying capacity but don’t want the intimidating bulk of a large MPV. It does that well, but how it will compare to new competition from Honda’s FR-V and the Mazda5 next year remains to be seen.
Strengths: Practicality, storage space, plenty of power
Weaknesses: Notchy assisted steering, lacks grip
Opportunity: Young, dynamic families
Threat : New Japanese rivals due next year
USP: An MPV with luggage space too
Engine: 2-litre, 16v, turbocharged, 165bhp
Transmission: 6sp manual, fwd
Performance: 0-62mph 9.6secs, top speed 128mph
Efficiency: 34.9mpg combined, 194/km CO2
Rivals: Fiat Multipla, VW Touran, Vauxhall Zafira