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In car-tech aside, the big news with the latest Grand Scenic is improved accommodation. The really important feature is seating and here Renault has strived to make the Grand Scenic more spacious and flexible. All three of the second row seats slide and adjust individually. Moreover, Renault claims a best-in-class 275mm of knee room for second row occupants and 102mm for those seated in the optional third row. Renault also reckons that the third row seats are more comfortable, less upright and offer more headroom than the competition. Nevertheless, we found they remain rather more suitable for kids than adults.
As you would expect, the rear two rows of seats are highly configurable enabling varying quantities of luggage space. Boot space clocks in at 208 litres with all seven seats in use, 564 to 702 in five-seat mode and an epic 2,063 with the second and third rows removed or folded flat. With no less than 40 storage compartments, it'll also swallow the huge array of paraphernalia that any family road trip inevitably generates.
Further options of interest include the split/sliding panoramic sunroof and the rear mounted parking camera. Renault charges £600 for the sunroof and if you can stretch to it we reckon it's well worth the money for the sense of spaciousness and airiness it brings to the cabin. As for the parking camera, it wasn't fitted to any of the test cars at the launch. Keyless go is also a £275 option on low end models (it's standard on most mid-range and up Grand Scenics) while Xenon headlamps can be had for £650. Note that it's worth looking out for the option packs that shave a few pounds off the overall cost of selecting various extras individually.
Of course, this is a Renault so it's packed with safety features. ESP, EBA, ABS - the usual alphabet soup of stability control and brake enhancement technologies all make an appearance as do an army of adaptive airbags including curtain airbags triggered by side impact sensors that protect front and second row passengers from head injuries.
Renault also claims the new Grand Scenic's taller, wider windscreen gives drivers a superior view of the road, though we found that the blind spots from the A-pillars at junctions had been repositioned rather than eradicated. Nevertheless, should the worse happen we doubt there's a car in this segment that would offer better protection given Renault's strong track record in crash safety.
Overall the new Scenic is spacious, substantial vehicle and certainly feels a class above the Megane hatch upon which it is based. That's particularly true of the 2.0L diesel dCi 160 test car which had the full £900 leather interior complimenting the standard soft-touch interior plastics. The result is a surprisingly up market interior ambience, so long as you don't inspect the detail trimmings too carefully.