- Generously equipped
- Feels a little dated
- More expensive to insure than rivals
- Unengaging handling
The original family MPV is spacious, and good value for money
When it was first introduced way back in 1996, the Renault Scenic added a completely new sector to the motoring industry. It took the traditional family hatchback, and made it that little bit bigger, making it a great option for family buyers. Today, the Renault Scenic sticks to the same principles, though it faces some tough competition. Up against the Ford C-Max, the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer, and the Citroen C3 Picasso, the latest Scenic doesn’t feel quite as extraordinary as the original. It’s still spacious, practical, and safe though, and is a sensible choice for family buyers.
The third-generation Scenic, introduced in 2009, was facelifted in 2013, featuring new interior and exterior styling, as well as more efficient engines.
Spacious, practical, and generously equipped
Whilst cars such as the Citroen C4 Picasso go for space age design in their cabins, the Renault Scenic plays it safe. It’s not the most inspiring visually, but it excels when it comes to practicality, which is perhaps the most important facet for family buyers.
The dashboard design of the Scenic is one that is functional, rather than particularly striking. It’s sweeping dashboard may be a positive for some, but the placement of its controls are a little tricky to get used to, and there are some cheap-feeling materials lower down the dash. The majority of the cabin is made with soft-touch plastics however, so generally it’s a pretty pleasing place to be.
One area in which the Scenic impresses is the storage space it offers. There are lots of practical cubby-holes dotted throughout the cabin, and there’s plenty of space for passengers in the back seats. The 555 litre boot capacity is also reasonably impressive, with enough room for a big family shop, a bulky pram, or even a full family’s worth of travel luggage. There’s even more room here than in the Ford C-Max (471 litres).
Equipment levels in the Renault Scenic are also impressive, and there’s only two trim levels, so it won’t take you long to decide which one to go for. The entry-level Dynamique Nav comes with air-con, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, sat-nav, DAB radio, alloy wheels, and Bluetooth connectivity. The more expensive Limited Nav trim adds dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, bigger alloy wheels, and tinted windows.
All in all, the inside of the Scenic is pretty impressive. Its interior design might not match that of more modern rivals, but it’s well-built, practical and spacious. There’s also plenty of storage room, and equipment levels are exceptionally generous for a car in this class.
Safe, stable, and comfortable
Family MPVs aren’t built to be a hoot to drive, and the Scenic is no different. It values ease of use, security, and comfort above all else. That means there’s plenty of grip in the corners, whilst steering is light enough to make it easy to drive around town. Get the Scenic out on the open road however, and things aren’t quite so impressive. There’s quite a lot of body roll, whilst the steering doesn’t offer a great deal of feedback. It’s nowhere near as composed, or as fun to drive as a Ford C-Max.
Suspension and Chassis
The Renault Scenic is a very comfortable car for both you and your family. The chassis and suspension is soft and supple, ironing out even the worst of road surfaces without too much of a fuss. Though engine noise can sometimes be intrusive, there’s not much wind and road noise at speed, which makes the Scenic a solid long-distance motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the Scenic come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six-speed manual transmission, that isn’t the most engaging due to its long throw, though it does the job, and offers good flexibility for motorway driving. There’s also a twin-clutch automatic available with the low-powered diesel engine, which is perhaps better suited to the Scenic.
Diesel engines are the pick of the bunch
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Scenic, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There are two of each in the range, but the diesel engines make more sense as they are cheaper to run, and offer better day-to-day flexibility.
Power and performance aren’t usually at the top of buyers’ lists when they’re searching for a family MPV, so understandably, there’s no real option for petrolheads. The most powerful engine in the Scenic range is the diesel-powered 1.6 litre dCi eco2. This engine produces 130bhp, and will do 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds. It’s not a car that’s going to put hairs on your chest, but it’s certainly quick enough for a family car.
Eco-friendly buyers will want to look towards the other diesel engine in the Scenic range, the 1.5 dCi 110 eco2. Cars equipped with this engine produce just 105g/km of CO2 emissions, which is pretty impressive for a family MPV. It’s not quite low enough to be road tax exempt, but it’ll only cost £30 each year. This also makes it a great option for money savers, as in addition to the cheap road tax, it’s also incredibly efficient. With up to 68.9mpg on offer, buyers can expect to save plenty of money over the course of a year.
Most buyers looking to buy a Renault Scenic should keep their eye firmly fixed to the diesel engines. It’s not that the petrols are at all bad, they just don’t have the overall capabilities that the diesels do.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, decent standard safety kit
Like nearly every car in its class, the Renault Scenic easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. Back in 2009 the Scenic scored 91% in adult safety, 76% in child safety, and 42% in pedestrian safety. It’s worth noting that back in 2009 tests weren’t as stringent as they are today, so the Scenic isn’t quite as impressive as its more modern rivals. Nevertheless, the Scenic still comes with some safety kit as standard. Entry-level trims come with electronic stability control, the usual array of airbags, and ABS, but lack the more modern technology found on some rivals.
Superb value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Renault Scenic represents excellent value for money for family buyers. Not only is it cheaper to buy, and better equipped than a lot of its rivals, it’s also pretty cheap to run. This varies from model to model, but generally speaking fuel efficiency is pretty high throughout the range (with no car achieving less than 46mpg), whilst CO2 levels are average, or above-average for the class. Diesel models without doubt offer the best value in the range however.
Insurance groups with the Scenic again depend on which model you choose to go for. The range starts in group 18 for the entry-level 1.2 TCE Dynamique Nav, which is in group 18, and climb up to group 23 if you get tempted by the top of the range 1.6 dCi Limited Nav. Whichever model you go for, you’ll be paying a little bit more than you would for a more modern rival, but it certainly won’t be extortionate.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Scenic, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Renault Scenic remains one of the most practical MPVs for family buyers. It’s without doubt a sensible option as it is spacious, economical, and comfortable. It’s certainly not the most inspiring car in the class, but high levels of first year depreciation make a used Renault Scenic an ideal family car.
Buying a used Renault Scenic online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Renault Scenic for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Scenic. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Renault Scenic online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Renault? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Renault Scenic, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Scenic, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Renault to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.