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Renault Scenic RX4 in general

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      19.10.2002 05:06
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      The Renault Scenic RX4 dci privilege is a diesel 4-wheel drive version of the front wheel drive scenic that is such a common sight on the roads. I acquired my new RX4 in August 2002. It's appearance is more distinctive when compared to the 2wd version, having raised ground clearance, a more styled front bumper and grille, plastic side protectors which boldly extend halfway up the doors and a completely different rear hatch which has the spare wheel bolted on to it. The RX4 shares the same interior as the 2 wheel drive Scenic with spacious seating for five, completely removable yet very comfortable rear seats, many storage areas and generally being very functional. I needed a 4 wheel drive vehicle which offered high ground clearance for driving through often flooded mountain roads, and one that could make the journey home if snow fell. Often snow lies for quite a period hereabout and after the snowploughs have cleared the drifts I need a vehicle that can make the 8-mile journey to the main road. I considered all 4 wheel drives up to the Land Rover Discovery and chose the RX4 because it was the only vehicle that satisfied my different needs. In addition to coping with floods and snow, I needed a comfortable quiet vehicle with comparatively low fuel consumption because of the high mileage I drive . I also wanted a composed vehicle, one that is stable and confidence-building , which consequently makes for a more relaxed journey. This would be the sort of vehicle that if, for instance , you had to brake sharply on a wet muddy road, would brake evenly and quickly without any fuss. And lastly, a vehicle that could carry four adults in comfort, not as in 'gadget comforts', but of the leg & head room variety. So I will explain why I chose the Scenic RX4 dci privilege. In comparison with the 2wd Scenic the RX4 has a body that has been substantially strengthened in order for it to cope with some off-road wor
      k. This bene fits the RX4 by giving greater rigidity and a more solid feeling when driving on the road. To try to keep the RX4 to handle in a similar fashion to the 2wd Scenic, Renault have lowered the engine to combat the forces of gravity, which have been altered by raising the body. This modification seems to have worked, as the RX4 does feel well balanced, despite some slight roll on cornering. However this effect is by no means to an uncomfortable measure. The higher driving position and much-enhanced grip due to the 4 wheel drive and the advantage of traction control benefit the driver greatly. When pulling out from a junction in wet weather the RX4 proves its worth, no wheel spin, or fuss, just lots of traction. Also, when accelerating out of a bend the vehicle is very stable and direct as drive being transmitted to all four wheels lessens the loading on individual tyres. 2wd cars will induce loading in similar circumstances and thus increase wear and lessen grip. One important reason the RX4 shone above its competitors, for me, was the siting of the engine, unlike almost all other four wheel drives the engine is mounted transversely. By installing a diesel engine transversely a lot of vibration and noise is cut by a noticeable amount. Most four wheel drives have their engines mounted longitudinally, which can often create a sort of humming or droning when travelling at motorway speeds. This makes the RX4 much more refined compared to its competitors. The 1.9 dci diesel engine in my RX4 provides very adequate performance. It is the same engine that is used in the Laguna as well some other Renaults. Dci is Renaults flagship diesel engine and has direct injection on a common rail, but I don't want to get technical. The RX4 always seems to have enough power but you wouldn't call it fast. The gearing is good and you can use 3rd to overtake from 50 to 70 without changing and with the engine
      revving willingly and fast enough to put a little smile on your face. This, of course, is more important for safety than anything else. You could quite easily not go above 3000 revs in any gear during normal driving,. The car feels fast enough and has enough torque to allow this . So it can often come as a pleasant surprise when wanting to go a bit faster to know you can drop a gear and rev on to over 5000rpm. While you do rev to this figure, the engine does become a bit noisy - or is that the reason why I usually travel under 3000rpm!!! When in fifth gear 3000rpm equates to 74mph. Most people, myself included, want to know more about how the car is, to live with. The outright performance of an engine is rarely a good indicator of how the car performs on the road under normal driving conditions. The RX4 cossets you along on A roads, easily keeping pace with the faster traffic yet being able to keep you comfortable and happy when in slower moving traffic. Unlike most cars I have driven I am happier to stay behind a lorry and let others gain those valuable few seconds while risking an overtaking manoeuvre . The RX4 has a knack of allowing you to enjoy the slower journeys . As the vehicle has coil springs along with fairly large 215 section tyres, different road surfaces are soaked up with little change noticed in the cabin, as are potholes. My first impression was of a slightly bouncy ride, yet even after a few hundred miles I realised how well sprung the RX4 is and how wrong my first impressions were. It copes with long undulations (so common on A roads), without any floating and it really does seem so firmly glued to the road. It has a lot of grip around fast bends, and feels very stable when under heavy braking. Recently I had to make an emergency stop on a wet bend when a stray sheep ran out of the hedge. I quickly concluded that there would be no way this car would not skid, and if I hit
      the sheep it would cause me to crash. Either the A..B. S. would come on and I wouldnt stop in time to avoid the sheep or the car would go straight instead of around. Well nothing untoward happened, the A.B.S. wasnt even needed and I stopped well short of colliding with that walking ball of wool. That was very reassuring for me. Motorway driving is a pleasure too, the lofty driving position allows you to gain a far greater margin of safety by being able to anticipate problems just by being able to see them earlier over the other cars. The RX4 has a higher driving position than most of its competitors. The dci engine is adequately refined too, while tyre roar is a bit more apparent, but not intrusively so. It has enough power to drive at a fast pace and again feels as stable as most cars. Some side winds are noticeable. However, they don't seem to affect the vehicles stability. Country lane driving is where the RX4 comes into it?s own. Its grip, stopping power and composure allow a high degree of confidence. No surface seems to ruffle its feathers, hump back bridges become much less humped, while on long, open stretches of lane, the ride is supremely comfortable soaking up the uneven road surfaces in its stride. The RX4?s braking is worth a proper mention here, the A.B.S. seems to be a lot more effective than in any other cars I have driven. This is probably due partly to the wide Michelin 4x4 tyres and partly to its EBD (electronic brake force distribution) which supposedly brakes all the wheels consistently, as hard as possible and evenly, resulting in a much more controlled stop. The RX4 seems also to be quite a hit with the ladies!, they enjoy the dignified entry, the excellent climate control. In addition to what I have mentioned about its driving qualities, they like illuminated vanity mirrors and secret compartments. You do have to climb up a bit when entering the RX4 yet access is bri
      lliant, no squeezing or bending knees t o a revealing angle - unlike the Freelander- and once inside there is a nice airy cabin. The rear door is split into two, the glass window raises effortlessly, while the lower half swings fully to the left , unlike the Toyota RAV4 which does not open beyond 75 degrees. A lot of reports have said this operation is fiddley and complicated on the RX4, well I would like to ask, who for?, a muppet? It is so easy and very little physical exertion is required, you just press a button to open both doors. The driving position is unusual. When seated you can comfortably rest your feet flat on the floor, just as if you are sitting on a dining chair rather than being in the half-lying position required in most cars. The pedals are reached easily and the upright position make for excellent concentration and comfort when driving. I would rate a top mark for both comfort and control. Previously I mentioned the excellent climate control. However, it is probably akin to others, yet it is the first car I have had with it. For me I thought it was a bit gimmicky, yet if you have never used climate control, read on. I now realise how much I have regularly needed to adjust the heating while driving. I also now realise how much more relaxing it is to drive in a car with a constantly maintained temperature. Climate control is a system that constantly monitors the air in the cabin, adjusting it automatically by using all the cars different vents when needed. It adjusts it to your preset temperature. It results in a great cabin atmosphere all the time with no need to have the windows down at all. Climate control incorporates air conditioning , which cools the air if required. Cars just with air conditioning do not necessarily have climate control, so if you can get climate control I would advise you to try and get it on any vehicle. The dashboard is well laid ou
      t and easy to use. The RX4 has Hi-Fi remote controls by the steering wheel, and they are easier to use than most. It also features a refrigerated coolbox just in front the gearstick which is very handy for sandwiches but will also take a 500ml bottle laid on its side. Alternatively, it is shaped to take three cans. I really cannot understand why Renault didn't put a couple more higher up. There is a neat drawer under each of the front seats, quite large ones really, and two small glove boxes on the dash. Both the front seats adjust for height, the drivers has lumbar support too. There is a rather flimsy armrest between the front seats, which will give way if too much pressure is exerted onto it, such as resting a grape there. The front seats are on the firmish side yet in several 6-hour journeys I have never complained or had a complaint from my passengers. Someone at Renault though must be having a joke with the sunglasses holder though, it is located above the door on the drivers side, within an inch of my head when driving. Would the airbag inflate before my head travels one inch??? - I doubt it! The rear passengers can travel in extremely spacious surroundings. I have chosen to remove the middle seat so that, effectively, my RX4 is now a 4 seater. This has allowed me to re-centre the outer seats and fully slide fully them back. This has increased the already generous legroom to the extent that even very tall adults can stretch their legs to an unprecedented degree and even the seat backs recline- wow. It does also have three rear 3 point belts too. The seats in the rear are easy to take out and even easier to put back, as you just have to slot in the front of the seat while it is tilted and then let the rear drop in to position. Under the rear seats is a large, three lidded storage compartment while under the feet of the rear occupants are two more largish under-floor compartments. The passengers in the rear are also equ
      ipped with two aviation style tables with cup holders fixed to the back of the front seats, they also get their own spot lights and power point. For a mini M.P.V., the boot is large and benefits from an additional power point, 2 more lidded storage compartments and a large netted compartment in the lower rear door. The rear parcel shelf can also be set at two different heights and mine included a sunscreen for the rear window. There are four lashing points for luggage too. I have run my other 4x4 on the same Michelin 4x4 tyres for over 30,000 miles and they still have plenty of tread. These tyres are good in my opinion as they give a lot of grip, more than most in wet weather yet do not intrusively roar like other 4x4 tyres. The RX4 has 16inch wheel rims, which are of attractive 5spoke-alloy construction, and they take very little effort to clean. The RX4 does have strengthened suspension compared to the 2wd Scenic plus guards underneath engine and body to protect from rocks, yet I do not think it was designed for tough off roading. Three reasons, firstly it does not have low ratio gearing essential when going up or coming down steep, muddy slopes; secondly it has a longish wheelbase, which prevents it clambering over rocks; and thirdly no limited slip differentials or lock ups. I feel if you need a 4 wheel drive to go off roading then forget the RX4. This is not to say that it isn?t capable, though, as I have seen many competing in off roading events. However, if you want a four-wheel drive which is going to make your road journeys safer, then the RX4 should be test-driven. I have driven most of its competitors, which I will list later. The RX4 was the one which offered by far and away the most space in the cabin, and the dci engine. Whilst it is not the fastest in terms of 0-60mph it is more refined than most, yet its flexibility was better than all but the Freelander TD4. The
      two things that made the RX4 really shine and where no ot her 4x4 came even near, was in comfort and space. Being 6 feet 4 inches myself I found it uncomfortable in most competitors, the Discovery being the worst, where. I could not fit in to the drivers seat ! The space inside the RX4 totally belies its dimensions, it has a flat floor and just loads of space. Some of the bits the RX4 privilege has are; a heat reflecting windscreen; dual optic headlamps; front fog lamps; heated and electrically adjustable exterior rear view mirrors with blind spot eliminator on the drivers side; fuel computer; exterior temperature gauge with ice warning; four electric window winders with one touch operation on the drivers window; automatically engaging rear wipe when reverse is selected and wipers on; windscreenwipers which reduce speed dependant upon speed; variable intermittent wipers; auto illumination of interior when vehicle is unlocked; wireless remote which works from over 50 metres; very nice front headrests which adjust towards your head; four rear heating ducts; illuminated hatch; electrically adjustable headlamps and plenty of storage areas apart from those mentioned previously. The drive to the four wheels is usually distributed 70:30 in favour of the front wheels, yet when traction is lost at the front or rear more power is distributed to the axle with most grip, and to enhance this the front wheels have traction control . The gearbox in my RX4 is silent in operation and the gears engage smoothly. The clutch bites high up which seems to conquer any chance of stalling the engine when starting off. Driving at night is particularly good in the RX4. There is very little glare from oncoming traffic and the lights seem to illuminate well. Dipped beam also is well spread. The instrument panel is very clear at night and has a dimmer switch too. The RX4 leads its class when
      it comes to safety features and has six airbags including side bags for the rear seated passengers. It also scored highly in the latest ncap tests. There are also fixing points for isofix child seats in the rear. The RX4 incorporates RAID (Renault anti intruder device), which, if switched on, will lock the doors automatically once 5mph has been reached and as I have always driven with locked doors this is a good safety feature for me. Renault quotes a combined fuel consumption figure of 38.5. This is pessimistic according to my experience, as even from new and before the engine had loosened up the consumption was around 42mpg, and that being achieved with some quite enthusiastic driving. I have achieved over 50mpg when I have been driving gently. The car is really nice to refuel though!!, no, not the cost but the location of the fuel cap, no bending down, its there, just around waist height and on the drivers side, it does fill quite easily too. The fuel tank holds 13 and a half gallons, and I mostly drive around 400 miles before refuelling, Yes I could go more but I always like to keep a few gallons in the tank just in case. The fuel computer in the Renault seems very accurate, I have checked it three times against the old way of measuring by brimming the tank and measuring the miles until the next tankful, and the computer has been 99 percent accurate. Just about half my driving is on mountain roads, a quarter on A roads, and the rest divided between the motorway, towns and cities, so my average of 42mpg could easily be bettered. The RX4 comes in three models, the expression, privilege and monaco. The expression is by no means a base model and only lacks climate control, electric rear windows, spare wheel cover, five spoke cast alloys and a few other accessories while the monaco adds leather seats and two electric sunroofs over the privilege. You will not have much of a problem choosing a colour with the RX4 unless you a
      re willing to pay extra for metallic paint, there is one colour offered and that is blue. The interior trim is not offered in different shades but does differ in the three models. The bluish alacante trim in mine is OK and seems very durable. The privilege does have over carpets light neutral in colour, and quite easy to clean. The RX4 has an amazing 18,000mile/or 2 year service interval, this would have been unheard of five or six years ago. Diesel engines would very quickly underperform without an oil change every 5-6000 miles as the oil would thicken so increasing the friction in the engine making it work harder to travel fewer miles more slowly. A previous diesel , my Citroen zxtd, would return around 50 mpg on clean oil but this would drop dramatically to 35mpg if I didn't change the oil around every 5000miles. The Renault dci engine must have been developed partly to enable this benefit. The RX4 does have a few shortcomings, in my view. The dci diesel engine is good yet has reduced power and torque compared with the Laguna dci, having 105bhp against 120bhp in the Laguna and 148lbs ft of torque compared to 190 with the Laguna. It does not seem to make sense to give the RX4 less power than Renault have available and this extra power would certainly be useful. Bromley make a tuning box for the engine, which, here in the UK costs under £400 and increases power to 128bhp and 188 lbs ft of torque. This should not affect the warranty and can be fitted DIY by most in under ten mins. Some people could find reversing difficult because of the restricted rear view. There is the lack of cup holders in the front and then there is that sunglasses case, however my wife who is slightly shorter is chuffed with the holder as it is in a place where she can find and access her sunglasses easily. Yet these shortcomings do not spoil the RX4 for me. The RX4 feels solidly built and the fit
      and finish of my vehicle is excellent. The doors shut firmly with a nice thud and the rear tailgate is a pleasure to use in the supermarket. The windscreen wipers are effective cleaning all of their designed areas without smudges, probably as the windscreen itself is more or less flat. The RX4 is raised by 90mm over the 2wd Scenic and has a ground clearance of 210mm at the rear and 185mm at the front. Yet it's wading depth is above that of lots of its rivals like the Freelander or the Nissan X trail at 500+mm, that is at a speed of 5 mph. If you find your road covered with floodwater I would advise you to not attempt to drive through it unless you can see the road the other side and that you know its depth. Diesel engines will have to be replaced if water is sucked into the engine through the air filter as all the rods and pistons bend under the pressure. So it is advisable for all to know the location of the air filter, some, like the Citroen ZX or Renault Espace have their intake very low to the ground and driving through just a few inches can be enough to wreck the engine. The RX4 does not have any direct rivals, and so comparison has to be drawn either with 2 wheel drive mini mpvs or 4 wheel drives which don't offer comparative interior space or on road refinement. I compared the RX4 with: Toyota RAV4 d4-d, Land Rover Freelander td4, Nissan X Trail 2.2di, Vauxhall Frontera, Suzuki Vitara hdi, and Renaults Kangoo Trekka dci. All these Vehicles I test-drove. I liked them all too. They all seem to have a bit of character, things that endear them to you, yet the Land Rover was the best out of the RX4s competitors. Its TD4 diesel engine is from BMW, as used in the 320d and powers the Freelander well. On my test drive, however, the engine felt more powerful than the RX4s although it wasn't so refined. This may be just down to it only having a few miles on the clock or to the engine being set longi
      tudinally. I would also praise the X Trail for its interesting interior and nice des ign touches outside. My choice of competitors for the Rx4 have different qualities which suit different needs and all are good in some way but as a bench march I include UK government overall mpg, Diesel cars tested top speed and 50-70mph time (bar trekka), listed in that order. RAV4 d4-d 39.8,106,10.9, Freelander td4: 37.2,102,13.2. X trail 39.2,110,12.2. Frontera 2.2dti: 25.4,96,14.3. Vitara hdi: 42.8,91,12.1 Trekka dci: 41.2,89,15.2. RX4:38.2,99,14.1 In summary the Rx4 is a competent vehicle, although, with limited offroad ability it does possess the traction and grip to cope with the bad winter conditions on the public highway . With good fuel economy, reasonable turn of speed and excellent refinement, compared to other 4 wheel drives it deserves a trip to the Renault showrooms to have a closer look.

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      • More +
        11.05.2001 02:42
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        I crashed my ordinary decent Scenic. On black ice. The car was a write off. So was the tree. In Ireland, particularly in the country areas, they never grit the roads, so for safetys sake I decided to replace the wreck with a four wheel drive vehicle. I looked closely at the Landrover freelander and was quite impressed. So too with the new Honda 4 x 4. But I yearned for the old family friendly interior of my wrecked Scenic. And then the Scenic 4x4 arrived. It's wonderful. It sits slightly higher than the ordinary Scenic. With big wide wheels, it has a kind of aggresive stance, sort of shouting out loud how well it looks after it's passengers. It's chunkier than the two wheel drive Scenic. A real eye turner. The interior has all the old space but with a much more macho feel. It has a weight and presence that is both comfortable and gives you a feeling of security. It's a bit nosier than my wrecked predecessor, but not so much that it interferes with the drive. And the drive is very very good. Hugging the road in permanent four wheel, superb driving position and well laid out dashboard with an ah la Rover retro styling. The kids love it. Think it's the bees knees of all the cars I've owned. Some of the colour choices are a bit dull but mine has a dark metalic green that suits my country living. it impresses the hell out of my clients, but the price is a little on the high side (£24,000). I shall have to put my fees up! What a great car (got the right category I hope!)

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