Renault Scenic IV


Debut: 2016
Maker: Renault
Predecessor: Scenic III



 Published on 19 Oct 2016
All rights reserved. 


5 million copies of Renault Scenic have been sold since its introduction in 1996. It was the pioneer of compact MPV, at least for European market, and it created a new class that is followed by Citroen Picasso, Opel Zafira, Volkswagen Touran and Ford C-Max, to name a few. Nevertheless, this segment has been shrinking for a few years under the threat of small SUVs. The success of Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar will put even more pressure to the Scenic. How long will it survive? I’m not sure, but Renault’s Dutch design chief Laurens van den Acker has a new idea: if the market is fascinated with crossovers, why not simply turn the Scenic into a crossover? That’s a tricky solution.

You know, I am opposed to SUVs, but the Scenic IV looks more like a large hot hatch than a small SUV. Its rakish windscreen, coke-bottle sides and flush windows have nothing to do with SUV forms at all. On the other hand, the huge wheels (20-inch as standard!), flared wheel arches, higher waist line and relatively shallower glass house make it ten million times sportier than typical MPVs. This is not only by far the most stylish MPV we have ever seen, but it rewrites all the rulebooks. Well done Laurens!



Quite unbelievable from its looks, the new Scenic is actually taller than the old car, although it is only 13 mm taller. It is also a bit longer and wider. Again, it is available in 5-seat or long-wheelbase 7-seat form – the latter is called Grand Scenic (see article below). The migration to crossover is not just about image. In fact, the new car is built on the CMF-C/D platform of Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, Megane and Talisman, with a closer link to the first two SUVs. This can be seen from its higher floorpan level – ground clearance is increased by 40 mm. Switching to this common module platform guarantees higher economy of scale hence lower production costs, so the new Scenic can be made profitably at lower volume. In other words, Renault is taking advantage of its hot-selling SUVs to keep the Scenic nameplate alive. When it comes to cost reduction, few car manufacturers are as smart as Renault-Nissan.

Despite the huge alloy wheels, the tires wrapping around them are far from supercar-spec. They have 195 mm width only and an aspect ratio of 55 percent. Obviously, Renault wants the looks of large wheels without the compromises in ride comfort, tire noise or fuel consumption. That said, I suppose the extra ground clearance has already done some damages to drag and handling.



It also worsens packaging efficiency. Because of the higher floorpan level, the seats have to be mounted closer to the floor. This means taller passengers will find their knees in a raised position, which is not only less comfortable but also robs some knee room. Compared with rivals such as Citroen C4 Picasso, the new Scenic offers the least second-row legroom, even with the seats slid to the rearmost position. The pronounced folding table at the back of each front seat adds further obstacle to second-row passengers. Headroom is noticeably less than the norm of MPVs, too, although it rarely causes problems in reality. At the back, the boot is class-leading at 572 liters, but the high floorpan means loading is a bit more difficult than most rivals.

As before, the Scenic’s rear seats are individual and identical. The can slide back and forth to alter the distribution between legroom and cargo room. They can fold flat to expand luggage space further, but not detachable anymore (not much regret, as few people used that feature). There are plenty of storage spaces in the cabin, including underfloor cubbies and a huge glovebox. A sliding console is mounted between the front seats. It contains a 13-liter storage and USB ports for the rear passengers.



Up front, the dashboard is made of dark but high-quality plastics. The cabin doesn’t look very plush or cheerful. In fact, it looks a bit boring. Like Megane and Talisman, it uses a portrait-oriented center touch screen as the interface of the R-Link2 infotainment system. Even in the highest spec. version, the screen measures only 8.7-inch diagonally thus it leaves a thick plastic rim around it, which doesn’t look very classy. The infotainment system itself has fair but hardly outstanding software design and response. The main instrument consists of 3 TFT screens which certainly costs less than a large one. Again, its graphics and design are average. The driver seat and wheel offer plenty of adjustment, so you won’t be difficult to find a comfortable driving position. Outward visibility is generally good but you can see neither the nose of the car nor much of the rear quarters, so the help of parking sensors is vital. Renault offers head-up display to ease your driving effort, but the image floats on the windscreen which is miles away from your head, so it is quite difficult to read. At least, Renault tries very hard to offer the Scenic some big car features, i.e. things that share with Talisman.



Like all other CMP-C/D cars, the Scenic is not exactly lightweight. It carries at least 75 kg more than a comparable Citroen C4 Picasso. Its engines are not as good either. The 130-horsepower 1.2 TCe turbocharged four-pot is a workhorse rather than a spirited motor like PSA’s 1.2 PureTech 3-cylinder. It is smooth and quiet enough, but not very eager to rev or to sing. Performance is adequate at best, with 0-60 mph done at nearly 11 seconds. Unfortunately, this is already the strongest petrol power it offers. In the diesel side, the most powerful is the newer 1.6dCi sequential twin-turbo with 160 horsepower, but this engine is notorious for noisy under hard work. The same goes for the 130 hp single-turbo 1.6dCi. Strangely, the older 110 hp 1.5dCi is actually more refined, although the car could feel sluggish with 5 people up. Later on, there will be a mild-hybrid which adds a small motor to the 1.5dCi to reduce fuel consumption by 10 percent.

Frankly, part of the slowness is due to the long gearings of both its 6-speed manual and EDC dual-clutch gearbox, which are chosen to optimize fuel consumption. Despite that, we don’t see particularly good news in real-world consumption. The EDC is again criticized for slow gearchange, no matter in auto or manual mode.


We don’t expect a Scenic to corner like Ford C-Max, but even by the standard of C4 Picasso, which is currently the overall class leader, the handling and ride of Renault is compromised. Blame to the elevated ride height hence high center of gravity, it rolls a fair degree in corner. Meanwhile, the ride is not as composed as a people carrier is expected to be. You can feel more the sharp bumps and expansion joints that won’t trouble Citroen. The steering is accurate but lack of feel. Running on highway, the tires generate more road noise, and some wind roar from the A-pillars constantly remind you that it is not the most relaxing way to cover long distances.

Disappointingly, the Scenic IV looks sporty and exciting but it fails to deliver the promise. On the contrary, its chassis is mediocre, its engines lack power to cope with its weight, and its cabin is not as spacious as expected. Laurens van den Acker has to be praised for his bold idea, but unfortunately, the engineers did not do their jobs.
Verdict: 
 Published on 19 Oct 2016
All rights reserved. 
Grand Scenic


The Grand Scenic is about 230 mm longer than the standard version, 70 mm comes from the wheelbase and the remaining comes from the extended rear overhang. It looks the same as the Scenic up front, but the tail is more upright, the roof is flatter towards the end and the taillights are different. These changes allow it to accommodate the third row of seats, which are sized to take a pair of children rather than adults. Comparatively, a Grand C4 Picasso has roomier third row, and its boot is also larger, at 643 liters versus 596 liters with the third row folded. Alternatively, the Grand Scenic can be ordered without the third row. In that case, the second row finally enjoys good legroom, but isn’t it a costly way to get your deserved rear legroom?

The extra length and mass also cost the car dearly in dynamics. It is even slower on straight, rolls even more in corners and steers with more hesitation.

Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Scenic 1.2TCe 130
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4406 / 1866 / 1653 mm
2734 mm
Inline-4
1198 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
130 hp
151 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R20
1355 kg
118 mph (c)
10.7 (c)
-
Scenic 1.6dCi 130
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4406 / 1866 / 1653 mm
2734 mm
Inline-4 diesel
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
130 hp
236 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R20
1465 kg
118 mph (c)
10.7 (c)
-
Grand Scenic 1.6dCi 160
2016
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4634 / 1866 / 1655 mm
2804 mm
Inline-4 diesel
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Sequential twin-turbo
CDI
160 hp
280 lbft
6-speed twin-clutch
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R20
1585 kg
124 mph (c)
10.1 (c)
-




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