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Renault Scenic Alize 1.6.16v

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      31.05.2001 07:53
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      We own an S-reg Scenic which is before they gave it a facelift with new lights. When we bought it, the Scenic was one of the few cars on the road that turned heads and raised eyebrows. It has a teardrop shape, with the roof rising in the middle to allow for the raised seating position and two levels of floor for the front and back. Personally I like the styling of the old Scenic more than the revised edition, which seems overkill and just a case of Renault trying to apply the family fascia to their best-selling mini-MPV. It can cruise comfortably at high speed and the body-roll, noticeable at first when coming out of a conventional saloon car, doesn't bother me any more :). The ride is soft but not too wallowy, but it is outmatched by the Zafira, which was introduced later and has the option of two extra seats. The trim and fittings inside the Scenic, in the front and the back, are all satisfyingly secure, and put memories of old Renault 5s with their breakaway dashboards and bendable gloveboxes to rest. The styling by today's standards is a little sombre in greys and blacks, a mass of plastic, but it performs well. the integrated stereo is a nice feature, as it doesn't spoil the flow of the central console. The driving position is disconcerting at first, almost as if you're driving a bus in that 'sit up and beg' positon, which doesn't inspire confidence and makes you feel like you're about to fly through the windscreen. It's reassuring that you're not about to, however. The Scenic has achieved a four-star rating in the NCAP crash tests and this feeling is replicated in the chunky doors and deep, deep dashboard. Seats are comfortable but could benefit with some extra support around the rib area. The back seats are almost as good as the front, but the supposed versatility of the Scenic is compromised when you add a dog guard to the equation :). The back seats with the guard up are fixed and therefore it is important not to be a daddy-long legs. The boot is huge and the tailgate lifts to form a protective covering from rain when loading the shopping which is an advantage over a normal estate car. The wheel arches do compromise the load area for big objects in the boot, but the absence of a high sill makes loading and unloading easy. The Scenic is no longer than a conventional family car and only marginally taller than many, and it is dwarfed by larger MPV's like the Renault Espace or Ford Galaxy and 4x4's like the Land Rover Discovery. However, the Scenic is easier to use than the Espace, and the number of people who really need seven seats or off-road ability is very small :). Go buy a second hand Scenic if you need transport for up to five people and a big dog or two, and you can't go wrong.

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