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New Renault Scenic offers an interesting update to the MPV

By raccars Published

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Should those who think that MPVs have had their day take a look at the new Renault Scenic?

The once thriving MPV scene has been all but consumed by the rise of the crossover, but the Renault Scenic is determined to put up a fight. A new Scenic MPV made a spectacular debut at the Geneva Motor Show last week, managing to attract some serious attention despite being surrounded by super luxury hyper cars and exotic concepts. However this is a far more elegant and interesting looking MPV than the minivan-derived efforts we are used to.

Can the Renault Scenic create a new niche?

Renault has always been a market leader in the MPV sector but smart rivals and the booming SUV segment have somewhat eclipsed the Scenic in recent years. The original Scenic was released to much applause in 1996 and was a very different car to the glamorous effort on show in Geneva. However Renault believes that it has found a winning formula to revive dwindling interest in MPVs, suggesting that if this Scenic can't breathe life back into the sector, nothing can.

Certainly Renault is doing very well with family cars, with the Captur compact SUV, its larger brother the Kadjar and the smart new Megane hatch all selling well and another large SUV in the planning stages.

Kerb appeal

Some very careful thought has gone into the design. Ostensibly the new Scenic looks very much like a new crossover but this is something of an optical illusion. Striking 20 inch alloys, a standard feature, give the impression of a high riding off-roader, but in reality the roofline is lower than the previous Scenic and the windscreen more steeply raked to give a sleek silhouette.

A similar technique was used with the new Espace, which is not as yet available in the UK but is proving a hit in mainland Europe. From the outside the Scenic is all new yet reassuringly familiar, with its unmistakeable oversized Renault badge ensuring that it follows the current house design language.

A long wheelbase and wheel at each corner stance with short overhangs give the MPV an unusually athletic look, and the overall effect is definitely more SUV than traditional MPV. The firm's design chief has admitted that Renault has been obliged to take account of changing fashions to keep the Scenic relevant in an SUV-obsessed market.

High specs

From the inside the Scenic is very like the new Megane, with a high quality finish and plenty of modern technology, including the R-Link 2 wireless connected infotainment system on higher spec editions. The cabin is more spacious than previous models and there's an extra 17 litres of boot space.

Families will also appreciate the 63 litres of additional storage space distributed throughout the cabin and some clever touches such as fold-out tables for rear seat passengers and a versatile rear seating arrangement. This is how MPVs have traditionally been designed with family ownership in mind.

Renault has packed the new Scenic with safety equipment too, including Active Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Tiredness Detection and Lane Keep Assist, all of which are new to Renault. Five driving modes are available.

The Scenic will be available with the same turbocharged four cylinder petrol and diesel engines used by the Megane and a diesel electric hybrid is on the way.

The new Scenic is set to reach the market by the end of 2016 and should cost from about £19,000. A larger, seven seat Grand Scenic will join the standard five seater Scenic later this year.

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