We’ve been feeling sorry for the humble MPV lately. It’s taken such a back seat compared to the SUV. Owners are rushing out and buying the latest SUV like the Seat Ateca or Renault Kadjar in big numbers, usually ‘buying’ it on PCP finance, so they get it NOW. Where does that leave someone who doesn’t feel the need to possibly cross wide rivers or climb mountains in their family-friendly vehicle?
One place it leaves them is behind the wheel of the latest Renault Scenic, a vehicle that won the What Car? Car of the Year way back in 1997. Two decades on, the latest model is a far more stylish and accomplished proposition. Just look at those lines, and fancy lights and clever little creasing around the SUV-like ‘sill protectors’.
The cabin is a fabulous and thoroughly contemporary place to be, with a vast central display dominating proceedings. There are also digital dials and it all works very well. There is a minimum of extraneous switches and knobs, and there’s more space than ever.
Under the sloping bonnet is the proven 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine that has the sort of everyday heft and grunt that makes reasonably easy work of lugging families, luggage and anything else around, either across the city or across the county. The controls are light, and the six-speed manual box we chose instead of the six-speed auto is also slick.
Handling and, importantly, ride have both been re-examined by Renault. There are some definitely large wheels on our vehicle which ought to result in poor handling and ride, but they’ve been designed to have high sidewalls so you get a compliant ride and looks that really stand out. Only time will tell if this really does work out on the road over decent distances.