We say: two decades after the original, Renault redefines the Frumpy Mpv
‘Seduction’ is a word used often by the new Scenic’s design team. And sure, seduction – especially the successful sort – is the first step on the road to MPV ownership, though that’s not really the point they’re trying to make. What they’re actually talking about is the styling, which, seductive or not, you must admit is pretty striking for a people carrier.
Much of that is down to the wheels: whopping 20-inchers, the same size as on a Bentley Mulsanne. They’re standard on even the most basic version, which is quite a talking point, but also a distraction from the Scenic’s number one job of looking after the family.
It’s 20 years since the first Scenic, and despite the proliferation of crossovers and SUVs, it remains stubbornly an MPV. This is the five-seat version (there’s also a new seven-seat Grand), and, as before, the rear seats slide back and forth and fold totally flat – although now they do so at the touch of an electric button, either a physical one in the boot, or a virtual one on the new portrait-style touchscreen.
The floor has been raised and the roof lowered, though the cabin accounts for 80 per cent of the car’s entire volume. There are storage wells in the floor, the sliding central armrest will hold a man-size handbag, and the slide-out glovebox is the size of a shopping basket. There are fold-down picnic tables for the kids, complete with a bungee string that twangs satisfyingly against the front seats. Good luck with that on long journeys, parents.
Amazingly the wheels don’t trash the ride, and except for some wind noise around the mirrors it’s a fairly polished thing to drive. Go for the TCe 130 petrol or dCi 110 diesel with twin-clutch ‘box, but don’t go overboard on options – the second most basic trim, Dynamique Nav, has all you really need. If you splurge on anything, make it this Honey Yellow paint.
What else? It could do with bigger door bins and more nooks for storage (the C4 Picasso is a little better in that respect), but it has the biggest boot in its class, and the best looks by far.