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Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130 Dynamique & 2.0 dCi 160 review




Renault Grand Scenic 1.4 TCe 130 Dynamique: £18,595 OTR

Renault Grand Scenic 2.0 dCi 160 Privilege: £22,695 OTR

Banging in hot laps around the infamous Nurburgring in a Porsche 911 Carrera or blitzing Italy's Stelvio Pass onboard a Pagani Zonda are all very well. But back in the real world, what most people really want from their car is safe, efficient and comfortable family transport. Arguably the most finely optimised tool for getting that job done is an MPV, otherwise known as the humble people carrier.

Within the broader people carrier market it's probably the compact MPV that represents the sweet spot in terms of value, comfort and spaciousness. Renault, of course, has long been a trail blazer in MPVs and pretty much invented the compact variant, known in the industry vernacular as C-segment MPVs, in 1996 with the original Megane Scenic.

In 2003, Renault upped the ante with the Grand Scenic, a stretched version of the Megane-based MPV with a longer wheelbase, larger rear overhang and seating for seven. All told, Renault has flogged no less than 3.2 million Scenics. It's an extremely important model for the French manufacturer, in other words.

Earlier this year, Renault rolled out an all-new Megane and that means there's also a new Grand Scenic. With the latest model, Renault is aiming to lift its compact MPV game even further with more comfort, more space, better driving dynamics and an infotainment upgrade that leverages its new partnership with aftermarket navigation specialists TomTom.

For our first taste of the new Grand Scenic, Renault gave us access to a fleet of test cars in 2.0L diesel and 1.4L petrol trim. The latter engine is new to Renault and sports soft turbo charging designed to fill out the torque curve while keeping emissions and fuel consumption under tight control.

First impressions are of a more substantial, up market car inside and out, even if it's hardly a beautiful vehicle in conventional terms. Still, the premium vibe is probably just as well, what with prices starting well north of £15,000 and extending beyond £20,000. As a private purchase, the latest Grand Scenic is a significant investment.

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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