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Renault Scenic

SPACE RACE (some text hidden)

Introductionword count: 21

Is five seats enough in an MPV? June Neary thinks the fourth generation Renault Scenic will have enough practicality for most.

Will It Suit Me?word count: 207

There's a school of thought that says an MPV isn't a proper MPV unless it's got extra seats. The argument goes that a normal family hatchback can seat five with a reasonable boot behind, so there's little point in paying extra for an MPV to do a broadly similar job. Some manufacturers subscribe to this viewpoint, only doing their compact MPVs in seven-seat guises, but Renault has both the seven-seat Grand Scenic and the five-seat Scenic on its books. Where the doubters would say the Scenic has little more practicality than a Megane hatchback, the Scenic counters with easy access, a plethora of handy design touches and a 572-litre boot. Touche. For my part, I've previously found the various versions of the Scenic to be fairly uninspiring but at the same time, I've found it hard not to appreciate the way they cater for the different demands of family life. It's immediately apparent that the latest MK4 model version is a major step forward from the cars that preceded it, with Renault having been particularly successful in improving the fit and finish in the cabin. Today's Scenic feels a very classy proposition from the seat behind the wheel and on first impressions, seems very easy to like.

Practicalitiesword count: 387

The mainstream Scenic range comes in two sizes, standard and Grand. In terms of styling, most of the changes to the fourth generation range have centred around freshening up its image. Uniquely, big 20-inch wheels are fitted to all versions. At the same time, the three-part screen combines a panoramic view with improved side vision The interior is where the magic happens in any MPV and the Scenic models lay on lots of space and versatility. Take the 'Easy Life drawer', which faces the front passenger seat and offers a storage area of 11.5-litres. That's three litres more than a conventional glove box. Lit and chilled, it opens via an electronic sensor and automatically locks when the vehicle stops. Plus, as before, there are four underfloor compartments. In the back, this Scenic is equipped with folding tables that open to reveal a small storage area that can accommodate a mobile phone, a gaming console or perhaps crayons, whilst it is also possible to attach electronic tablets of different sizes. The two USB ports at the rear of the centre console mean electronic devices can be used without time restraints. There's a massive array of storage options in the Scenic with a total of 92-litres available. Under-floor compartments, under-seat drawers, a chilled glovebox, centre console cubbies, door pockets and trays on the seat backs should help to keep the family's paraphernalia in check. There are also three 12-volt power sockets to keep the all-important games consoles and MP3 players topped up. It appears that Renault has thought of everything. Safety is of paramount importance to family buyers and few manufacturers can match Renault's reputation in this area. Its models routinely achieve maximum five-star ratings from Euro NCAP and the Scenic is brim full of features designed to avoid collisions and protect occupants should one occur. A key new safety addition this time round is the AEBS 'Active Emergency Braking System' which also has a Pedestrian Protection feature. Lane Keeping Assist and a Fatigue Detection system are additionally being offered. Along with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, a Safe Distance Warning system, 'Traffic Sign Recognition with Over Speed Prevention' and Blind Spot Warning. Buyers can also specify a reversing camera, automatic dipped and main beam headlights, front, rear and side parking sensors and Easy Park Assist hands-free parking.

Behind the Wheelword count: 221

The taller, bulkier dimensions of compact MPV products don't lead you to expect the same kind of sporty driving experience offered by the family hatch that spawned them but Renault has applied much of the chassis technology found under its Megane to the Scenic. From behind the wheel, you can feel that this is a taller vehicle as it leans a little more in corners but the Scenic feels very stable for a compact MPV and it excels on the comfort front with a cosseting ride that deals adeptly with bumpy surfaces. Economy is obviously important for a functional family vehicle but the Scenic's engines also need the performance to move a fully-laden vehicle with a bit of spirit. The bulk of sales will go on the dCi diesel engines which develop 95 or 110PS in 1.5-litre form, or 130 or 160PS in 1.6-litre guise. The best seller will be the 1.5 110PS dCi variant and this derivative is also being offered with clever 'Hybrid Assist' technology. Hybrid Assist functions with a 48-volt battery, enabling the electric motor to support the internal combustion engine, which remains in continuous operation. So far so practical. There's also a very attractive 1.2-litre TCe turbo petrol unit in 115 and 130PS guises which is well worth a look if you don't cover such big mileages.

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Category: MPV People Carriers

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