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Renault Scenic v Citroen C4 Grand Picasso compared - boxsterboy
On holiday in Spain last week and luckily we had pre-hired a car. I had booked a Pug Partner on the basis that it was cheap, roomy, and a car I was genuinely interested in trying. At the airport we were upgraded to a brand new Renault Scenic 1.5DCi (400km on the clock). Over the next 10 days we did another 700km. Then this week our C8 was in for a service, and instead of the usual C3 I got a C4 Grand Picasso 1.6 HDI manual (8,000 miles on the clock). A chance to drive two competing cars within days of each other. So, how do they compare?

To me the new Scenic is just too bland and a retrograde step compared to the previous model. This seems to be a common theme in Renault's styling department at the moment. The Grand Pic is a far more adventurous design to my eyes, although maybe a bit bulbous around the front? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Scenic has a smart TFT display screen that is just slightly easier to read than the Grand Pic's conventional digital display, but the rest of the interior is a complete victory for the Citroen. Better quality materials, more room around the pedals, and really clever seats that all fold flat, with a flat load-lip, making the transfer of a washing machine last night a complete doddle. The Renaults rear seats fold just like a conventional hatchback, leaving an uneven floor (although they can be taken out altogether) and the boot has a noticeable load-lip. The huge windscreen on the Picasso is great, really brightening up the cabin. The seats on the Picasso are also better. Both had stacks of room in the rear but the Citroen was roomier and I could fit in all seats (all 6'1" of me).

The two cars are very similar as far as road-holding and suspension are concerned - but the Citroen has a slight edge on comfort. Both had electronic hand-brakes. The Citroens was a bit slow in operation but the car had a hill-hold which would seem to be essential with hand-brakes like this. If the Renault had a hill-hold, it wasn't working on our car, making hill starts very difficult.

The PSA 1.6HDI has a slight power advantage over the Renault 1.5DCi, and this really showed on the road where it goes very well, despite the larger body of the Citroen. I've driven this PSA/Ford 1.6 HDI in other cars and it is a great engine. A major fault with the Renault was the way it would bog down in 2nd gear at, say 10mph when you turn into a side road. It just couldn't pick up in 2nd and you would be forced to drop down to 1st uncomfortably. The Citroen can pull away in 1st with no throttle in the way that all good diesels can. The Renault needs revs to pull away, making town driving more of a chore - I stalled it more than once!

Brakes clutch and steering on both were similar, both had light, feel-free steering in the modern style - perfectly acceptable for the type of car, although doubtless some road testers would moan about them.

The Citroen would win all day long for me, which must be a bit of a disappointment for the head honchos back at Renault HQ. It is almost as if they hadn't even looked at the Picasso when designing the new Scenic.

Renault Scenic v Citroen C4 Grand Picasso compared - cattleman6
Thank you for taking the trouble to write this report. I am very interested in your comparisson between these two MPVs. I have read so many reports and seen many youtube videos of them. It is nice when a member of the public actually drives and experiences both.
Renault Scenic v Citroen C4 Grand Picasso compared - cattleman6
I remember, when I hired the last model Renault Grand Scenic in Nice several years running (always the 1.5 diesel engine), it went nicely on the autoroutes; but coming up the sharp slope from the basement carpark at the Champion mini supermarket at Mont Baron near Nice and also from the undergroung carpark in Monaco, I could hardly get the vehicle up the slope. If it stopped on the slope, it lacked the pulling power from start. Fine at speed and normal mountain driving. If I owned one, I would definitely buy a larger diesel engine. Of course I was driving the Grand Scenic with a full load. I hired the same 1,5 diesel Grand Scenic at Lisbon airport also. Such a pity they have now ruined the exterior looks. The normal normal Scenic was incredibly good looking. It still looks lovely and fresh today. They are so silly to ruin such a fantastic cute design. I think the Citroen C4 seven seater Picasso is now far better looking than the new Scenic. Again surely you would need at least a 2.0 litre diesel engine with a full load on steep hills? One would have to get used to the semi automatic gearbox on the 2.0 litre diesel one. I have driven seven old shape Xsara Picassos. All hired except for one test drive. Last year I hired an old shape Szara Picasso 1.6 diesel. I drove it with a full load and it went excellently.
Renault Scenic v Citroen C4 Grand Picasso compared - autumnboy
My C4 GP VTR+ copes well on steep hills, 4 grown ups will see 55mph by the time you get to the top of the steep Telegraph Hill going to the English Riviera in Devon.
What you have to remember these are 16v motors not a basic 1.6ltr. No doubt a 2.0ltr would be best with 138bhp but then you'd lose the excellent mpg you get with the 1.6 16v.

Mine is due for replacement next year, waiting to see what the new Pug version is going to show for itself otherwise another C4 GP. My only real dislike, is the harsh ride at the rear over pot holes and alike as it tends to hop side ways as if the dampers are not stiff enough.
Maybe the rear air suspension on the Exclusive model maybe be better. ??

Edited by autumnboy on 29/08/2009 at 21:03

Renault Scenic v Citroen C4 Grand Picasso compared - Honestjohn
Excellent report, Boxterboy. Thank you. Good counterpoint to my own test.


Edited by Honestjohn on 30/08/2009 at 09:28


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