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Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130 Dynamique & 2.0 dCi 160 - Chassis & Refinement
For any MPV, comfort inevitably takes priority over outright dynamics. However, with the latest Grand Scenic, Renault has decided to shift the balance slightly in favour of handling. Saloon levels of body control are the target and the tools are stiffer subframe mounts, tweaks to the steering and much stiffer anti-roll bars. In terms of body roll during the cornering, it's certainly mission accomplished. You can throw the Grand Scenic into corners as hard as you like, roll remains very well controlled for this type of vehicle. So while it's unlikely that many owners will give this car a proper thrashing, but there's no doubting it's up to the job.
However, the downside is ride quality that suffers occasional choppiness. The car's springing and damping remains very much comfort orientated, so full-width transverse lumps and humps are still handled with aplomb. But thanks to those stiff anti-roll bars, pot holes and other laterally asymmetric surface imperfections (i.e. bumps - ed) smoothed out as much as you'd hope. Hence, while the tighter roll control certainly makes the new Grand Scenic a much more effective vehicle for covering ground at pace, we wonder whether buyers would prefer the chassis was optimised for maximum comfort.
More in tune with the Grand Scenic's overall remit are the two engine options available at the launch event. The torque, free revving power delivery of the refined new 130hp 1.4L petrol turbo engine in the TCe 130, which is based on a four-cylinder Nissan unit, suits the car perfectly and combines with a new sound-deadening plastic floor coating to deliver impressive noise suppression. Rated at 42.8mpg for the combined cycle, it's also adequately economical.
The 160hp 2L turbodiesel option is not quite so well isolated, but does provide a bit more shove along with superior 50.4mpg consumption on the combined cycle. However, it doesn't feel capable of anything like the 280lb/ft official torque output, perhaps because in 2.0L diesel trim the Grand Scenic rocks the scales at a hefty 1,628kg.