The Grand Scenic is one of Renault’s most important new models to hit the showroom this year, with its looks being brought in-line with Renault’s new sleek and desirable range.
Renault has launched the seven-seater Grand Scenic in the UK first in order to attract families which present a bigger market than the empty nesters that will go for the smaller five-seater Scenic model due in July.
It’s a much better looking proposition than it’s predecessor. Renault hasn’t really toyed around with the formula that has made the Scenic popular so customers shouldn’t be expecting any-thing revolutionary from the new model. There are 40 cubby holes to store stuff in and it’s very comfortable inside, with spongy soft touch plastics.
Renault maintains that the third row of seats is no longer a punishment or reserved just for children, but it’s still debatable as to whether a fully grown adult would be happy on a long journey in the back. The third row folds flat and the second row is removable.
Grand Scenic has the same suspension set up as the smaller Megane and is lighter than the outgoing model which means it feels very car like on the road rather than a people carrier.
Customers can choose from 20 different versions across four trim levels: Extreme, Expression, Dynamique and Privilège. UK buyers get a choice of seven engines – three petrol and four diesel.
Dealers will be able to sell on six option packs which bundle popular items such as parking sensors, electric panoramic sunroof and satellite navigation into simple packages, compared to purchasing the equipment separately.
Standard equipment levels include: 4x15W radio RDS CD MP3, air conditioning, ESP and TunePoint (for portable music players). It is also the first production Renault to feature an optional reversing camera (£650).
The best seller Dynamique trim includes hands-free keycard, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers and multi-functional MP3 connectivity.
The range topping Privilege adds electric folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, carpet mats and a central storage unit.
Grand Scenic is extremely important to Renault and while the company would not reveal targets, it did say it’s likely to represent a 10% chunk of its total UK sales this year.
There’s one possible problem with the positioning of the Grand Scenic. If customers can get seven-seats in a tighter package in the form of the Grand Scenic, why would they buy the Espace?
Renault believes there is no risk of cannibalisation because the Espace has a largely corporate fleet focus, whereas the Grand Scenic is pitched more towards retail.
The new model is cheaper than its predecessor, with prices ranging between £14,995 and £23,695. The 1.6VVT Dynamique is £660 cheaper while the entry level model Extreme is £1,060 cheaper.
The rivals for Grand Scenic are the Citroën C4 Grand Picasso, Vauxhall Zafira and Toyota Verso. Renault believes the main draws are the higher specification and lower starting price than the outgoing model.
The consumer view
Practical and comfortable, but top-of-the-range models don’t represent good value.
It’s good value, comfortable and endlessly practical. But the competition at the price level of the Grand Scenic DCi 160 is tougher than ever.
It’s hard to fault a car as cleverly designed as the Grand Scenic.