I upgraded from a Scenic dynamique to a grand Renault scenic. I have to say that I loved my 5 seater scenic but found the Grand scenic 7 seater awful ! The car was large and spacious as was the 5 seater. It was simple to get the kids in and out for the car as was the 5 seater. Having the extra seats in the back was very handy and easy to assemble but only children could use them because of the lack of leg room. The car had lots of compartment which in reality never got used. The car was diesel and economical however was very sluggish. The electrics were unreliable and at one point the car ran out of diesel when the gage showed half a tank full. There was no spare tyre on the car instead there was a foam pump which was meant to fix the puncture so the car could get to the nearest garage, this was not effective at all. Over all the car made me feel nervous and unsafe with the children in the back, which was a shame because I really did like the 5 seater scenic. As soon as I could I got rid over car.
The Renault grand Scenic is a superb small class MPV.
I bought the Dynamique version on a 55 plate 2 years ago. I have had trouble free driving for that period until recently: more later.
It is at the cheaper end of the MPV, currently costing around £22,000 new. I got mine pre credit crunch for £9000. It came with leather seats, 6 CD changer, heated front seats, double electric sun-roof (front opens only) and folding electric mirrors. I think I got a great car for the price.
28-30mph around the doors and 38-45 on the motorway, obviously dependant on how you drive as I am a bit impatient.
Leg room is superb for front and back passengers, however the rear extra seats fold up and are a bit restrictive. There is ample storage space in the rear when the 6th and 7th seat are left down. However very little if it is used as a seven seater.
Apart from the extras described there are loads of secret storage spaces including floor compartments, seat drawers and a storage locker where traditionally the hand brake would be. (The handbrake is electronic and based on the dash-board).
The huge down-side of my experience with Renault is ther refusal to pay for the whole cost to re-fit the instrument panel which was recently featured on "Watchdog". I had conversations with Renault and they refused to budge on the £100 customer contribution to what should be a re-call. I was frankly disgusted at this
Having said this, I have loved the way this car smoothly handles and the panoramic view since I bought it. Parts for this vehicle are pricey but it makes up for that it general reliability.
A good yard-stick for the Scenic is the fact that I would not hesitate to buy a new one at the right price.
It is ideal for people with larger families due to the extra seating and sneaky storage spaces.
Over-all a good purchase initially which is starting to cost too much money as it gets older.
This review is based on my experience of owning a Renault Grand Scenic 1.5 dCi (100 bhp) Expression with Comfort Pack for 14 months from new (16,000 miles). I only sold it because I was moving abroad at the time. In fact selling the car exposed its worst fault: heavy depreciation. Even though I bought the car with a reasonable discount (£2,000) and it was in immaculate condition in an attractive colour (a blue-grey metallic), I still lost 40% of what I paid. So definitely look for a very good discount if buying new or insist on a realistic price second-hand (show them the Parkers Guide, for example). Dealers make a lot more margin on their used stock, so should have plenty of leeway. New discounts tend to get subsidised by the manufacturer and depend on volume of sales.
Main reasons for buying this car were: seating capacity (I have four children); economy (official figure around 53 mpg combined); 5 star NCAP safety rating; boot capacity with seats all up (better than rivals such as VW Touran, Vauxhall Zafira, Toyota Corolla Verso or (now obsolete) Mazda Premacy 7-seater); comprehensive equipment; price (lower than all rivals apart from the smaller, less versatile Premacy).
Within a week of delivery I was taking it (and all the family) for our annual holiday in Aragón (Northern Spain). It coped superbly averaging over 50 mpg despite the load, motorway speeds and the need to cross the Pyrenees. The air conditioning was very powerful and kept us from sweating in the near 40° C external temperatures. I also noticed that the driver's seat was extremely comfortable and supportive and I had no aches after 500 or 600 miles a day. The handling and road holding felt very good with impressive grip and only mild body roll. The brakes too were excellent, powerful, and progressive with good feel and pulled the car up quickly without any hint of pulling to one side. All this was very different from our previous Toyota Lite-Ace 8-seater which nearly threw itself off a Pyrenean mountain road at barely 20 mph when I braked into a sharpish bend (scary!). Where the Renault did suffer in comparison was in the luggage space, a serious squeeze with two weeks worth of holiday luggage and six people in the car, and in the comfort of the third row of seats, which turned out to be hard and uncomfortable even for a 7-year old after a long stint.
Two subsequent continental trips (London to Valencia return) confirmed the cars suitability for this type of motoring. The engine was never embarrassed despite its mere 1460 cc and had a smooth progressive power delivery from 1500 to 4500 rpm, although in practice 2500 to 3000 rpm was enough for normal driving (you are doing nearly 80 mph at 3000 rpm in fifth). Once run in fully, I could get a regular 60 mpg according to the on-board computer without ever resorting to coasting or driving dangerously slowly. The engine is generally quiet with a pleasantly subdued growl under acceleration. That said, it did lack the "grunt" of 1.9 dCi I test drove originally.
Back in London the car was easy to drive with excellent visibility all round and light precise steering. I was already used to a large vehicle (Toyota Lite-Ace) and had no problem with its size.
The Comfort Pack (electric glass sunroof, CD auto-changer, electrically folding door mirrors and keyless entry) was a good value addition and greatly enhanced our pleasure with the car). Curiously, the electric sunroof turned out to be a bit of a disappointment though: when open the wind noise and buffeting made the car uncomfortable despite the built-in wind deflector. In retrospect I would have chosen climate control and heated front seats instead (Climate Pack?).
Renault designed this car with family use in mind: you get a huge glove box, large door pockets and storage compartments under the floor front and rear. A nice touch is provided by the built-in sun blinds for the rear doors. Boot capacity with the third row of seats folded down (they fold flat easily) is excellent and you have a roller-blind style luggage cover. The third row folds individually so you can have either six or seven seats. With all seats up you have only 200 litres (about half the size of an average boot) but this is better than most similar vehicles. Head and legroom in the front and middle rows is very good with plenty of elbow room too (a little less in the middle seat in the second row). The interior has a light airy ambience (partly thanks to the optional glass sunroof) and is well ventilated. A thoughtful touch is the "child" locks controlled electronically from a switch on the driver's door.
Criticisms in use: the car has an automatic electronic handbrake. This is very useful as it applies itself automatically when you switch off (no more forgetting it) and also releases itself automatically every time you start to move off. However, very occasionally it would stick on when pulling away gently, necessitating a declutch and a second, more nifty start. The problem never reached the point that it was worth taking it back to the dealer, but could be annoying. Again, the brakes so excellent at speed could be inconsistent when cold and at low speeds, sometimes sharp and other times unresponsive at the first application. Not an easy problem to identify and once warmed up it went away. Instruments. Do you like digital speedos and rev counters? I don't, they are less easy to read at a glance; the constantly changing speedo display can be distracting while the bar chart style rev counter and fuel gauges are small and less precise than analogue. Fit and finish: mostly good but in some areas a bit of a let down; for example the seat and carpet material very quickly showed signs of "frizzing". The gap around the rear doors was noticeably wider than the rest of the panel gaps, the rear hatch was slightly off centre and the bumper plastic marked extremely easily (and could not be polished out). The steering wheel on this version has a hard plastic rim and made my hands sore on long journeys (higher trim models have a leather cover). I would have liked better rubbing strips and wheel-arch protectors as these are the most vulnerable parts of a car used in city conditions. The car did not have a spare wheel either, and couldn't be fitted with one with the specification I had, it seems because the total weight of the car would then have been excessive (other combinations can have a spare wheel as an option though)
Some of the (minor) issues I had with my car could be explained by the fact that it was an early (2004) model. The Grand Scenic has since had a face-lift with uprated specifications including ESP and a 6-speed gearbox on the 1.5 dCi engine (also slightly more powerful now at 105 bhp). If you don't think you will ever need seven seats, there is now also a five-seater at a lower price. On the other hand I never suffered a breakdown or fault that necessitated taking it back to the dealer. In fact it didn't even need a service with its 18,000 mile service interval. Apart from checking the tyre pressures, topping up the screen-wash and the occasional drop of oil (hardly used any) I had nothing to do.
That reminds me, the dipstick is a bit stiff to remove and slightly awkwardly placed on this engine, a bit too far back in the engine compartment for easy access. I must admit that it is not really necessary to use the dipstick as the car checks its own oil level when it is switched on. It is just that I like to be sure (sensors can fail of course).
The Renault Grand Scenic 7-seater is a great all-rounder family car. Like Daley Thompson, in each individual area it's not the best but when you put them all together you have a winner.
My Scenic is a Diesel 1.9DCi 150bhp - which is the biggest diesel Renault do. Bizarrely, this has better mpg, power and servicing intervals (12,000 miles) than the slightly less powerful versions so it seemed like a sensible choice. I bought it new to get cruise control - something that's hard to find in manual diesels and something I'd lost hope of ever getting.
It's not the biggest car on the road, but it's more than adequate for your average family up to 3 kids. Whilst it has 7 seats, if you have 5 sprogs I'd suggest you buy a mini-bus and find something else to do in the evening! You can seat them all fine, but you'd need a roof rack or trailer to put the stuff that goes with them for holidays. The boot isn't very big at all when you have all 7 seats in use.
However, the 7 seats give you so much flexibility with the storage and seating that it beats your standard estate car hands down. Try fitting 5 people and a 5 foot gazebo into any estate and you'll have to leave someone or something behind. Not so the Scenic, where you can use one of the extra seats in the boot and take out the middle seat for your lengthy parcel.
The boot on the Grand Scenic is huge and the reason we chose it rather than the standard Scenic. The folding pushchairs fit in lengthways which is brilliant for leaving room for the high chair, folding cot, mattress, suitcases, toys and garden sized jenga. The spare seats in the boot fold flat, and unlike 4x4s the boot floor is not at waist height, making heavy lumpy things easier to get in.
The additional height inside that you get is also a bonus. Like a Tardis, the Scenic is only a few inches taller than a standard car on the outside (disappointingly, because it's not as easy to find in car parks as I thought!) but has loads of room on the inside. Again, this has benefits. Sitting a 6'6 man in your average back seat is almost guaranteeing a cricked neck, but not so in the Grand Scenic.
The large boot is also useful when you have big items to carry. For example, buying a child's bed from Ikea (complete with child in car) was a breeze - the bed went in on its side lengthways only because of the height - it wouldn't have fitted in your estate car with said child on the back seat.
There is more storage than I know what to do with. It's been the first car where I haven't actually filled all the compartments with something. There are 10 hideaways not including the 4 door pockets. The drawers under the front seats are great for easy access, and there are compartments in the floor both front and back for, well, if I knew that I'd have filled them up! I carry spare nappies, drinks, food, hankies... just because I can! The central storage armrest is great, and highly recommended if you can get it in yours as it is worth its weight in gold. The armrest is just the right height, and it stores so much stuff (maps, sat nav, CDs, food) that you wonder what normal people do. The only downside to so many compartments is I tend to forget where I put things.
It's also a very child friendly car. The built in sun shades in the back are excellent, meaning you can still open the window and have the sun shade up. The child lock is a button on the driver's door - very useful when you forget it's on and climb into the back by yourself, only to discover you can't get out! It also means it makes the transition from family car to business car very easily. The optional rear panoramic sunroof I chose along with the large windscreen makes the car feel bigger and brighter for passengers. My boss loves it in the back so much he refused to sit in the front!
The front seat folds flat, so you can use it as a table for a laptop (when stationary, and sitting in the back, obviously!), or to give you extra length to carry things. And because you have the seats in the boot, you can carry these extra long items and still have room for 4 adults.
It's taken a little while to get used to taking the middle set of seats out of the car, but now I know the method it's fairly straightforward. This leaves you with a huge van-like boot for taking, say, hedges to the tip.
It's not the most economical car on the road, but you'll be very hard pushed to find one as big and economical. The official figures are 48mpg combined, which is the main reason I bought the car. But does it live up to that high standard?
The mpg has varied for me. I'm not the best driver for economy, so being able to achieve 50mpg over the 90 miles getting to work and back is quite an achievement - but it is certainly possible. I have got 52mpg on many occasions covering a fair distance. I've also found that the computer over-states the diesel used, by about 6% by the time the tank is nearly empty, so my mpg is higher than I think. I generally get 42 - 45 mpg as a reading when I'm not careful about the driving (and enjoying the power instead) which equates to about 45 - 48mpg on the road.
The best mpg I got was 61mpg over 20 miles of motorway, having reset the counter and then chugged at 56mph behind a lorry (reducing drag). This is the top end, with the bottom end being about 42mpg. Still pretty darned good for a large car, and better than many smaller cars.
Because it's economical and therefore environmentally friendly, it's also in a lower tax band - and is one of only a few large cars to beat that additional £200 car tax hike in 2009.
It's not the most powerful car on the road - but you have more than enough to overtake and pull away from stationary quickly.
As with all diesels, you get the power to accelerate in the mid range of engine revs. This means that if you want to pull away from the lights fast to beat your sports car neighbour, you have to give it some welly. And watch your economy drop.
However, because the 6th gear comfortably sails along at 70mph at just over 2000 revs, you are exactly where you need to be on the motorway to accelerate out of trouble (or overtake) without changing down. For me, being able to go from 56mph behind a lorry to match the speed in the outside lane quickly is very comforting and something I wouldn't want to lose now.
It drives like a normal estate car, but you have more head room and a higher line of vision. The French like their comfort, and the ride is smooth and surprisingly quiet. You are often asked "is this petrol?" by unknowing passengers because the engine is so quiet. You get a bit of growl as you start off, but otherwise this is comparable to a petrol engine for cabin noise.
The automatic hand brake that comes off when you move off makes the normal manual handbrake look as dated as the manual chokes from cars of old. Hill starts shouldn't be this easy. After those first few days of scraping knuckles on the central arm rest looking for the old handbrake, you get so used to not having to pull the brake off that if you get back into a normal car, you wonder why you're not going anywhere. It even comes on automatically if you stop the engine.
There are very few bad things about the Grand Scenic. My biggest gripe is that the windscreen wipers are still swiping for the left hand drive, so if the rain is particularly heavy you do get spray coming back onto the driver's side as soon as the water is wiped off. My glove box rattles a bit too, which the garage haven't managed to fix yet.
A spare wheel is an optional extra. Because there are seats folded flat into the floor in the boot, it's hung under the car, but the nut holding it on is located such that without a ratchet screwdriver you could be unscrewing it for hours! You need to make sure you carry a suitable tool just in case. But then, you've got to find something to put into all those compartments!
All I can say on this is that I've driven mine 30,000 miles in just over a year and not had any problems. I've replaced 4 tyres after about 26,000 which cost £90 a corner. Both services so far have been no trouble at all.
I have to mention the Bat-mobile. I purposely leave the sunroof and windows open when I leave the car. Then double blip the remote, and they all close up, by themselves, just like Batman's car. Cool. And the lights turn off too, so you can never leave them on. No warnings, no beeps, just turns them off. Now isn't that a better way of doing things?
I think I've done it again - another long review for a Renault, but there's so much to the Grand Scenic that anything less doesn't do it justice. Again.
In summary, it's the best combination of economy, power, size, flexibility and comfort that I could find across all estate cars. Oh, sorry, it's not an estate, it's an MPV. Apparently. For me, it's just a great car. It gives me the choice between burning rubber at the lights and not burning fuel. It gives me the choice between carrying 1 person to work or 7 people to the beach. And I can get an awful lot of hedge in the back.
So I'll award it a gold medal in the "best all round" decathlon.
Choosing a car for a family of six is an expensive and somewhat limited task. Amongst the rather limited list of Multi Purpose vehicles several are instantly omitted as being five-seater and several more as simply being massively overpriced. Fortunately, thanks to the motability scheme we were able to narrow it down to two cars, the Renault Grand Scenic and Vauxhall Zafira. Let me explain why we plumped for the Renault. Being on the motability scheme we were given an option of colour (we chose jet black) but were limited to the 1.6 Dynamique Grand Scenic which, is one above the basic model. However, this was still more than we are used to with the best we had driven before an L reg Renault Espace!
In the MPV field the Renault Grand Scenic is a relative newcomer and one I had certainly never heard of. Initial appearances were not favourable with this being a Renault Megane Scenic with what can only be described as a fat arse. The look is identical with a smooth rounded shell with the only difference being the sloped rear of the Megane replaced by a straighter more estate style rear. Not being a fan of the futuristic 70s spacecraft styling of Renaults in general the look of the Grand Scenic is not particularly appealing. However, what sold this car to me over the Vauxhall Zafira, Ford Galaxy etc was that the Grand Scenic is a sizeable compared to regular cars. But, this being a direct conversion of the Megane allows a more carlike feel and certainly benefits from not having the minibus/white van feel of the Vauxhall Zafira. In effect you have the benefits of the MPV with the feel of owning a real car.
With a high ride height and adjustable seats including headrests everything is at hand to make your drive be it driver or passenger as comfortable as possible. There is a refreshing ease of use to all the various levers and pulleys with none of the effort I associate with an MPV. Certainly when we examine the Zafira everything seemed a lot more difficult to adjust and manoeuvre. Despite the seemingly compact exterior the interior is roomy to say the least particularly in driver and passenger seat were you can fully stretch your legs and even your arms with none of the knee knocking and elbow jogging I could have reasonably expected from a car this small. Seating is comfortable and the whole interior is neutral in light brown with a rather uninspired grey dash. The middle three passenger seats have a fair amount of legroom too, certainly enough for two of my children although my teen finds it more roomy in one of the collapsible rear seats in the boot area. The last seat in the middle is reserved for my toddlers car seat and this is refreshingly high up and with the good legroom makes it nice and easy to take the car seat and the child in and out. With an impressive headroom there is none of the stooping and banging of heads and legs there is a lack of tantrums we previously got trying to get her in and out our Vauxhall Astra! Nice to see that the middle seatbelt is a full on shoulder one too rather than the lap strap we have encountered in other MPVs.
As I have mentioned the Grand Scenic has generous space on the interior. However, it does suffer from lack of boot space with seven seats up. Renault.co.uk claim it is 200litres of space (500 with both seats down) but this only equates to about four or five carrier bags of shopping nestled precariously. Certainly there is not the room for a pram and shopping. This is perhaps the only thing that larger MPVs such as the Vauxhall Zafira have over the Scenic. Fortunately, we are a family of six not seven and as such one seat is permanently down (although they are easy to pull up and collapse something the Zafira was not!). This gives us the room for a pram and four or five bags of shopping although that is about it. Renault have provided the Grand Scenic with a massive glove box and several storage compartments in the floor and doorspace but you, as we do may still find yourself having shopping under your feet taking up your legroom.
Driving the Grand Scenic is a strange experience. For a start there is not key but rather a credit card sized piece of plastic. You open and close the doors with it and put it into a slot to start the car with a button. No more flooding of the engine for me! The car starts with little fuss and is very quiet. The steering wheel seems to small for a car of this size and the gearstick is high up on the dashboard which makes this almost like the dashboard of a truck. Fortunately, the Grand Scenic drives very much like a car and is smoothness in itself. The high ride and massive windscreen coupled with the strange positioning of the gearstick does take some getting used to but the 1.6 petrol engine and power steering coupled with very little noise around town makes this very much like driving any hatchback. Being a 1.6 I expected it to have plenty of acceleration but unfortunately perhaps due to the extra weight of the vehicle this is lacking. No speeding away when the lights turn green for me. Instead I receive more of a gentle meander towards forty. It is no surprise this car drives well around towns and cities with responsive steering and as such easy parking but our particular model struggles on the motorway and becomes quite noisy at seventy. Steering also feels a bit loose at speed despite the supposed understeer control. Incidentally one of the strangest things about the Grand Scenic is a lack of a traditional handbrake altogether. At first you will be seemingly forever searching for it in the traditional middle aisle but it is actually a small lever to the right of your steering wheel. What is good though is that it turns itself off when you drive off so you barely have to use it.
High fuel consumption is one of the few things that the 1.6 Grand Scenic has against it. Although it is not bad at around twenty four miles per gallon with a full crew inside it is certainly a thirstier engine than we are used to. Then again I would expect this is the price you pay for driving a car with six people, a pram and shopping! Those concerned should perhaps consider the 1.9 diesel model as we will if our motability offer comes to an end. At least Renault have included a fuel indicator which is digital and tells you exactly how many miles to go until you need to refuel.
Of course there is no point getting a spanking new car if you cannot boast about the gimmicks and mod cons and the Grand Scenic is full of them. Air conditioning is standard and our model has a CD/radio which is operated by a click wheel fingertip control on the steering wheel. There are sunscreens built in to all the passenger windows which negates the need for our bagpuss stick on ones and fold down tables too. The handbrake comes on and off automatically on stopping the engine and starting then driving off and of course the windows are electric. Perhaps the best feature though is the fact the car heats up really quickly and as such defrosts all the windows within minutes. No more de-icer, warm water and ice scrapers for me. However, for every ying there is a yang and this is the automatic halogen headlights which seem to come on at random on full beam in the daytime. It is nice not having to remember to turn them on and off though. The windscreen wipes seem to flick water back onto the window too. Electronically the dashboard indicators are entirely digital from speedo to temperature. Add to this an oil and water level check on start and the Grand Scenic seems to cover all the bases.
I am not going to pretend security and safety was a primary reason for buying this car. After owning several second hand cars none above M reg the only security features I am used to is no one would want to nick it and the nearest I got to an air bag is an inflatable pillow! However, it is reassuring that the Grand Scenic has an immobiliser and dead locking and airbags as standard front and rear. Also nice is the fact you can turn the airbag of on the front passenger seat for car seats. With the high ride and Renaults impressive safety record (five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests) I feel safer driving this car than I have in any other.
As you can see I have nothing but love for our Grand Scenic. It is not perfect thanks to limited boot space and its various eccentricities but it is the closest thing you will get to the refinement of driving a high specification car combined with the features and space of an MPV. At its £15,320 price it is horrendously out of our price range for the future but hopefully second hand at less than £10,000 we will one day be able to own one of our own. It is certainly competitive price wise with a new Vauxhall Zafira and in many ways superior to it.
Technical specifications i.e. boot space taken from:
Feel free to comment or ask further questions.