Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130 Dynamique & 2.0 dCi 160 - Chassis & Refinement

By Jeremy Laird



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.

Martin Daler

May 8, 2009, 6:41 pm

VW do a 7-speed auto box in the Touran with their 1.4 petrol turbo engine.

J 2

May 8, 2009, 8:37 pm

They do indeed...with a starting price in excess of £20,000. It's a DSG box, which is nice, but £20k is still an awful lot of money for a glorified 1.4l Golf. As per the review, price gauging for autos appears to be pretty standard procedure in this part of the market.

Martin Daler

May 9, 2009, 3:13 am

You can quite easily pay more than £20,000 for a 1.4 Golf, so maybe £20k for a 1.4 Touran isn't so bad? You need to clarify the difference between what we tend to think of as a 1.4 engine (about 80hp), and these here 1.4 engines giving about 140-160hp, about what you would expect from a normal 2.0 engine, but without the 2.0l CO2 and mpg.

J 2

May 10, 2009, 12:51 am

Yes, you can easily pay much more than £20,000 for a 1.4L Golf. But when you consider that the GTI starts at £22k, I'm not sure why you'd want to. As good as the 1.4L TSI engine is, the 160PS version makes for a very expensive car. In the regular Golf there's also a 122PS detuned version starting from £15k which looks like much better value and makes decent torque (148lb/ft vs 177lb/ft), which is what really counts for that sort of car. The version in the Touran sits in between at approx 140PS / 160lb/ft, just to really confuse matters.

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