Review: Renault Grand Scenic (2016)
Stunning for a big MPV. Massive inside yet very calm behind the wheel. Reasonably priced and, in higher trim levels, passes for a luxurious experience. Every version has 20-inch wheels: stylish.
You’ll need a top-spec car (near enough) for the best infotainment. It’s as involving to drive as its bus-like proportions suggest. Every version has 20-inch wheels: costly.
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Renault Grand Scenic (2016): At A Glance
- New prices start from £22,285, brokers can source from £18,739
- Contract hire deals from £245.16 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 11–24
- On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure
More spacious and luxurious than ever before, the latest Renault Grand Scenic is so vast and practical that Renault isn’t bothering to sell its bigger brother, the Espace, in the UK.
To get straight to the point, this is our favourite seven-seat people carrier. Not only does it have oodles of space, comfort and refinement, but it’s probably the only MPV that looks attractive with no caveats. That’s subjective, of course, but to our eyes the Renault Grand Scenic is as stunning as utilitarian people movers come.
That’s a bonus, of course – you don’t buy a seven-seat people carrier because you want to look good – but thankfully the styling creates no compromise when it comes to the important stuff. The Grand Scenic is very spacious, has a truly flexible cabin and drives with the sort of relaxed refinement that you’ll only truly appreciate in the context of having three-to-five kids.
With no handling benchmark to aspire to - unlike the average large crossover, which requires some semblance of ‘sportiness’ - the Grand Scenic is a big wallowing box. That means on rougher roads it does tend to bounce and bobble a little too much, but generally it glides in a fashion reminiscent of a luxury car.
But those rims. For some reason, possibly aesthetic, Renault has chosen to equip every Grand Scenic with 20-inch wheels – smaller would possibly look pathetic beneath such a vast box. Sure, they have relatively high sidewalls (55), so they don’t upset the ride too much, but they do mean that your tyre replacement choice is limited – ergo, more expensive.
Based on the Renault Megane, the Grand Scenic interior isn’t quite as dedicated to eeking out every last inch of usable space as the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso is, but it’s still all the MPV you’ll need.
Quality is excellent, the seats both look and feel great while the rearmost pair of chairs offer near enough adult space – you can have the car with just five, if you like. It follows that the boot is huge at 592 litres, but it’s also furnished with a flat loading space. The rear chairs fold completely flat too – and at the touch of a button.
A fairly wide range of engines gives you a choice of three diesels and two petrols, as well as a diesel with an electric motor called Hybrid Assist. The diesels come in 110PS, 130PS and 160PS outputs, and the petrols either 115PS or 130PS. As usual it’s a diesel you’ll want, the combination of its superior low down pulling power and fuel efficiency – the pick of the range the 1.6-litre dCi diesel with 130PS, returns more than 65mpg according to the official figures.
Priced from around £23,000, the Grand Scenic undercuts the base price of a Ford S-MAX by more than £2000. Ditto the SEAT Alhambra.
What does a Renault Grand Scenic (2016) cost?
Renault Grand Scenic (2016): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 2063–208 litres
Thought has clearly gone into making the Grand Scenic cabin as useful as can be, although there could be improvement in certain areas. Most notably the glove box, which is half full of circuitry – an all-too-common trait in French cars.
The boot is massive, of course – whether you’ve specified five- or seven seats. For outright boot capacity the five-seat version has a 596-litre space, extending further with the rear seats pushed forward. For reference, the mighty Range Rover has a 550-litre boot, and it's 27 litres bgger than the non-Grand Scenic's.
That comes largely because the Grand is on an extended wheelbase – 24cm longer than the Scenic – but also because of styling tweaks. The Grand Scenic is a looker, but it’s got a noticeably bulkier behind than the Scenic.
Shallow glove box aside, the Grand Scenic offers plenty of space and a couple of convenience features that the kids will love. The centre console box is big, and the whole unit slides backwards to reveal the two cupholders when you need them - though not on base Expression+ models. Still, it's an impressive and novel feature. The door pockets are vast too, while rear passengers get individual tables mounted to the front seat backs - though, again, not in base cars. Pah. The middle row has three full sized (and comfortable) seats - as standard - and ISOFIX mounts.
As important as the space on offer is the ease of use of the Grand Scenic’s boot. The hatchback is huge (and electrically powered on higher versions), with a completely flat floor and flush loading lip, and it can come with a panel of buttons that drop the seats flat with ease. Again, though, this is higher specification fodder.
It doesn’t mean the Grand Scenic is pauper spec though. All versions get a dual zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, heated folding door mirrors, touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth and a leather steering wheel.
They also, with deference to the family market, get more safety equipment than the average bungee rope. Kit includes emergency braking, pedestrian protection, understeer control, six airbags, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. And, of course, those twenties.
However, for the fanciest Grand Scenic experience buyers need to go for a Dynamique S Nav version (third of four trim levels, below). Most notably it comes with Renault’s 8.7-inch touchscreen system, which is clumsily mounted but dominates the cabin (in a good way) and is easy to operate. Part leather seats, parking sensors and a Bose sound system make this the trim to go for, if you can stretch.
Expression+ includes Automatic Electronic Braking System (AEBS) with Pedestrian Detection, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, electronic parking brake, ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) & Emergency Brake Assist, six airbags, cruise control, Hill Start Assist, Thatcham category 1 alarm, ISOFIX points on rear outer seats & front passenger seat, tyre repair kit, tyre pressure monitoring, 20-inch ‘Silverstone’ alloy wheels, chrome detailing (side window line), body coloured door handles with chrome inserts, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, 60:40 split folding seats in second row, 7-inch TFT screen with digital speedometer, leather gear knob, automatic dual zone climate control, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers, electrically adjustable, heated & folding door mirrors, electric front & rear windows, handsfree keycard with walkaway lock function, FM/AM/DAB tuner, Bluetooth® audio streaming & handsfree calls.
Dynamique Nav includes fatigue alert, front & rear parking sensors, 20-inch ‘Exception’ alloy wheels, extra comfort front headrests, Multi-Sense - ambient lighting & driving mode selector, sunblinds on 2nd row rear windows, sliding centre console with rear mounted 2 x USB ports, 1 x 12v socket & AUX input and 2 x 500ml bottle holders for front passengers, driver & front passenger seat with rear mounted storage pockets & aviation tables, eather & satin chrome gear knob, one-touch folding 2nd row seats (+ 3rd row – Grand Scénic only), 6 speaker Arkamys Auditorium 3D Sound system, R-Link 2 multimedia system: 7-inch touchscreen, TomTom® LIVE services with Western European mapping.
Dynamique S Nav includes head-up colour display with adjustable brightness, rear parking camera with front & rear parking sensors, contrasting roof & door mirror colour, panoramic glass sunroof with electric sunblind, extra tinted rear windows & tailgate, dashboard & upper door panels with double stitch detailing, R-Link 2 multimedia system: 8.7” touchscreen, TomTom® LIVE services with Western European mapping, FM/AM/ DAB tuner, Bluetooth® audio streaming & handsfree calls, voice control, vehicle applications & 3D navigation.
Signature Nav includes 20-inch ‘Quartz’ alloy wheels, front fog lights with cornering function, full LED headlights with “See me home” function, nappa leather steering wheel, electric height & lumbar adjustment to driver & front passenger seats, courtesy & massage functions to driver & front passenger seats, driver seat with memory function.
Child seats that fit a Renault Grand Scenic (2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Renault Grand Scenic (2016) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.2 TCe 115 to 1.5 Blue dCi 120 Automatic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 45–60 mpg
With no sense of sportiness to aim for, the Grand Scenic gets on with riding in the floating fashion of a luxury car. That’s not to say it is one, by any means, but rather that there’s a softness to the driving experience that makes it generally comfortable.
On a back road you’ll feel yourself being bounced around a little too much, but at lower speeds around town, and on the motorway, the Grand Scenic is largely settled. Take a corner too quickly and you’ll be wiping your coffee from the side windows, though – body roll is the price you pay.
The standard big wheels don’t make as much difference to the ride quality as you might expect – though you can specify 17s, if you enjoy the ‘aspirin on a dinner plate’ look for your wheel arches. The high tyre sidewall means that most of the judder of massive rims is avoided, though they do jar a little on the worst road types.
Steering feel is almost entirely absent, though as an MPV buyer there’s a good chance your concern about that is almost entirely absent too. The 'light-but-sharp' setup of the steering rack gives this massive car more sprightly, less cumbersome feel than you might expect, which is good.
Visibility at the front is excellent, thanks to a huge windscreen, split front pillars and an elevated driving position. Sadly, it’s a trait not emulated rearward, where the thick back pillars make over the shoulder visibility quite poor –that’s what you get for rocking around in such a good looking MPV.
The wide(ish) engine choice means you can choose petrol power if you have no desire for the distinctively unpleasant chunter of a diesel, although the 115PS TCe turbo petrol simply hasn’t got the poke for a Grand Scenic full of family. The 110PS diesel also feels slightly asthmatic, especially above 3,000rpm, meaning your best bets are the 130PS 1.6-litre diesel, or the 160PS version, which comes with an automatic gearbox as standard.
Money no concern, that’s the drivetrain to go for – plenty of power and an excellent twin-clutch automatic that shifts smoothly. The combination enhances the Megane’s feeling of refinement and quality, although pound-for-pound a 130PS diesel with a manual gearbox is the one to buy.
It’s worth noting that if you are looking for a big MPV with an auto, this one is a far more satisfying drive than the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, with its horrible shuggy boat gear changes. As per the steering, the Grand Scenic manual gearbox is engineered for lightness of touch. It doesn’t have the fluid action of, say, a Ford or Volkswagen gearbox, but again, it’s easy to use and suited to the car.
Overall, while the Grand Scenic might not offer the physics-defying dynamism of a Ford S-Max or the outright refinement of the Volkswagen Sharan or (identical) SEAT Alhambra, it’s a great all rounder – quiet, smooth and comfortable at all speeds, and for those reasons a pleasure to drive.
|1.2 TCe 115||46 mpg||12.6–13.0 s||136–140 g/km|
|1.2 TCe 130||44–46 mpg||11.9–12.3 s||136–145 g/km|
|1.3 TCe 115||50 mpg||11.7 s||125 g/km|
|1.3 TCe 140||50 mpg||10.3 s||125–141 g/km|
|1.3 TCe 140 Automatic||50–51 mpg||10.5 s||124–135 g/km|
|1.5 Blue dCi 120||71 mpg||-||129 g/km|
|1.5 Blue dCi 120 Automatic||71 mpg||-||135 g/km|
|1.5 dCi 110||69–81 mpg||12.4–13.5 s||92–105 g/km|
|1.5 dCi 110 Automatic||60–71 mpg||12.4–14.3 s||104–124 g/km|
|1.5 dCi 110 Hybrid Assist||81 mpg||13.7 s||92 g/km|
|1.5 dCi Hybrid Assist||81 mpg||-||92 g/km|
|1.6 dCi 130||61–63 mpg||11.1–11.4 s||116–119 g/km|
|1.6 dCi 160 Automatic||60 mpg||-||122 g/km|
|1.6 VVT 110||37 mpg||12.6 s||178 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Renault Grand Scenic (2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Renault Grand Scenic (2016)?
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