When the Grand Scenic arrived, I looked out of the window and thought wow, I love the colour. Itís a beautiful ice blue and a shade that isnít often seen on cars nowadays. Itís a pleasing change to the sea of grey, silver and black cars that litter the car parks, as well as fashionable white which seems to be hugely popular in my neck of the woods. With its tall stance, it makes it easier to pick out my car amongst the others parked there.
And though the Scenic is billed as a C-segment multi-purpose vehicle, itís actually quite long. Measuring more than 4.6 metres, itís actually marginally larger than the Honda CR-V I have been running recently, and around 20 centimetres greater than the SEAT Ateca. But most importantly it is really wide at 2,128 millimetres, giving it the greatest girth of any Renault car on sale today, including the Koleos SUV that will soon crown the French firmís model range. Itís wider than a Volkswagen Touran or Sharan, but not quite as sizeable as the Ford S-MAX and Galaxy with both of those around a centimetre wider.
And with the Grand Scenic taking up so much road, it requires an extra degree of care so that you donít pick up any parking damage or scrape the generously proportioned 20-inch alloy wheels. All Scenic models get the same size wheels and Renault say that they have been able to optimise the ride comfort using one set of parameters. Weíre not entirely convinced that theyíve succeeded, but more on that in the future.
When choosing our Grand Scenic, we went for the contrasting black diamond roof and it sets the blue paintwork off sensationally. And you notice I didnít add three little words there ñ ëfor an MPVí, because I reckon it can hold its own in the style stakes with any car in the street thanks to its bold, curvaceous looks. The multi-purpose vehicle sector is a remarkably staid segment, with squared off looks de rigueur. Take the Ford Grand C-MAX for example, and itís bland, bland, bland. Renault has proved that carrying seven can be sexy.
As a music lover, Iím so pleased that we were able to choose the uprated Bose audio system, with 11-speakers, subwoofer and amplifier. At £500 itís arguable whether family buyers will shell out the extra cost for it, but for my mind, I think itís essential. Many of the optional extra packages in the Scenic price list cost £500, and we opted for three more of those. The full-LED headlights, again £500, are essential for crystal clear vision at night and makes driving a car with normal halogen bulbs a game of chance. The difference is quite simply night and day and I wouldnít want to drive my family in a car without some kind of premium headlighting ñ Xenon or the more fashionable LEDs.
The Parking pack premium ñ you guessed it at £500 ñ packages a series of parking aids in one handy package. Iím yet to try out the automated parking system, but have experienced it on other cars. Iím pretty ambivalent about it, and wonder whether it is actually quicker to park the car yourself. Iíll seek to prove that one way or another in a future issue. As well as 360-degree parking sensors, thereís also blind spot warning, which is a great aid on fast A-roads or motorways.
Aside from an emergency spare wheel at £95, we also opted for the safety pack premium at an unsurprising £500. It groups together items like autonomous emergency braking, safe distance warning and adaptive cruise control into a single package. Iím still on the fence as to whether I would actually pay out to choose this pack, or rather save the cash for something else. No doubt Iíll be pleased that Iíve got it if I ever need to use it in an emergency.
Date arrived 23rd May 2017
Fuel economy 53.3/67.3/61.4mpg urban/extra urban/combined 46.8mpg on test
The 1.6-litre engine is surprisingly swift, with a broad spread of torque.
Greasy fingerprints are all too evident on the touchscreen surround.