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Things looking good for good-looking new, SUV-styled and spacious Renault Scenic

PUBLISHED: 17:42 25 November 2016

Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.

Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.

Renault supplied

Renault sees its new Scenic as an alternative to the sport utility vehicles that have taken the market by storm. Does it live up to the promise?

Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.

What’s new?

Pretty much everything. Often ‘all-new’ is actually an amalgamation of warmed-up leftovers, but in the case of the fourth-generation Scenic it’s really true.

Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.

Renault has described the new Scenic as an “apres SUV” for people who don’t actually want an SUV but fancy the looks and practicality of one.

Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.Fourth-generation Renault Scenic has SUV-like styling set off by standard 20in alloy wheels.

Looks and image

The SUV-like looks include plenty of ground clearance, a high beltline and plastic body cladding that hints at ruggedness. The 20in alloys, standard on every trim, grab the attention and fill the arches and, because the car has been designed around them, give a powerful stance.

Inside, there’s a relatively premium feel, with a large central touch creen flanked by some solid-feeling switchgear and soft-touch plastic.

Space and practicality

Renault has designed this Scenic to be among the most capacious in the segment with a 572-litre boot. It’s larger than the Ford C-Max’s load bay by 140 litres and about 35 larger than the Citroen C4 Picasso’s and only marginally smaller than the Volkswagen Golf SV.

The Scenic also offers plentiful storage, including a drawer-like glovebox, underfloor bins, a drawer under the driver’s seat and rear seats available with aeroplane-style tray tables.

Behind the wheel

You would have thought the Scenic would be like all multi-purpose vehicle (MPVs) to drive – a bit wallowy, vague and dull – but it exceeds all expectations.

The steering is heavier than you might expect, but in a good way. It feels more solid than that of rivals which makes the Scenic easy to place on the road.

You expect cars of this ilk to roll a lot through the corners but the Renault displays impressive levels of body control and grip for a car so tall. It’s actually quite good fun to drive.

Better still, the 20in alloys really are fine and the Scenic rides well. The tyres are the same profile as the outgoing car’s 17in tyres so soak up bumps nicely, and the well-tuned suspension works a treat.

Our test car came with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, which offered just about enough punch and good refinement but struggled with economy. The 1.5-and 1.6-litre diesel engines manage impressive economy but if you start to stretch their legs their grumbling becomes intrusive.

Who would buy one?

The Scenic offers everything that’s good about SUVs – a high driving position,chunky good looks, impressive safety and bags of practicality but puts it forward in a slightly different way. The result is a likeable car that will slot into your life quite easily and still turn heads.

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