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Renault Scenic Sport 1.6 16v

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      07.05.2002 22:33
      Very helpful



      It was neve my intention to buy an mpv, let alone a Renault Scenic. My wife and I were looking for a car suitable for towing a caravan of 1225kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass), and whilst on the prowl, she saw a Scenic. "Don't look at that, it won't be able to tow that much" said I. Nevertheless, she liked the look of it so we called in at a dealership to investigate further. Much to my surprise, we found that the vehicle would tow up to 1250kg, despite its petite proportions! We did our homework, checking prices and so on, and eventually bought our 1.6 16v auto from a supermarket, utterly painlessly, with about £3000.00 chiselled off the manufacturer's list. We bought the Dynamique + trim level, which gets you alloy wheels, half leather, body colour rubbing strips, a trip computer, and automatic air-con, amongst other goodies. Driving impressions, I have to say, are very favourable indeed. My initial impression, as an automotive engineer, was that myself and all that glass, neither lightweight, perched up on high, was bound to cause a great deal of body roll. This is just not so however, with the roll, such as it is, well under control. The ride is firm but comfortable and is a really good compromise. Of course the benefit of being up high is a good view over the hedges for sight-seeing, and an improved view of the road ahead. This is just as well, as the auto box needs some provocation to change down for overtaking. The box is also a little reluctant to change down for hill climbing too, although it may of course become more fluid with increasing use. To make matters smoother, there is a dandy little button on the lever that knocks it down to 3rd without having to move the lever. Using this is quick and easy, and there is a dashboard display to tell you what the gearbox setting is, so none of that quick glance down, taking your eyes off the road. The seating is great, with the interior being really lifted by the presence of the lea
      ther. You can do all sorts of things with the rear seats, and there are storage bins and hidey-holes in all sorts of unlikely places (remember where you put those sandwiches...) Economy wise, it's very good, returning 40 mpg with ease straight out of the box. All in all, I'm more impressed than ever I expected to be with this little puppy. You will remember that we bought it as a tow barge, and it does that with aplomb, although I've a feeling a manual gearbox would be better for this use. Further to some of the comments that people have made, the reason we bought an auto rather than a manual was because my wife doesn't like manuals. My own preference is for a manual box, for reasons of fuel efficicency and mechanical simplicity (I'm simple, why can't my car be?) However, towing wise, the 'box is coping admirably, and uphill starts are a breeze. For getting off slippery grass, the Renault pro-active 'box has a push button in the centre console by the gear lever boot which controls the wheel slip. We haven't had to invoke this yet, but one never knows when it might be needed! The supermarket we bought the car from was Motorhouse 2000 Ltd of Cannock. Supermarket buying is not too bad, but the price in the car window is the price you pay, and trade-ins can be disappointing. You can't test drive, and you can't order ahead, so do your homework before you go, and don't be too fussy over colour. They do have a very wide range of cars on offer, so within the above limitations, most people will find something suitable. Hope this helps, Jonjo


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