20 years on but Renault still on the Scenic

  • Generation 4 after 20 years of production
  • Bigger wheels and longer wheelbase
  • Still 3 rows of seats – but more play goodies
2016 Renault Scenic
2016 RENAULT SCENIC: Still claiming the title “first MPV”, the small but globally popular family continues into the record books. Image: Renault

GENEVA, Switzerland – It’s 20 years down the road since Renault launched its first ‘people carrier’, as such vehicles came to be known (though what the pundits thought cars were until then, and still are, we don’t know) and here comes the latest reincarnation.

It’s Generaton 4.

Renault says it has “redefined the concept” – but how many times has that phrase also been used by the people who write these media releases? That, after claiming to have invented the ‘compact multi-purpose vehicle’ back in 1996.

2016 Renault Scenic
ANOTHER VERSION OF TAIL LIGHTS: There are diode headlights up front but Renault settles on a sort of C-shape for those at the tail. Image: Renault

Whatever, the CMPV is having its world premiere at the 2016 Geneva auto show after, Renault says, taking its inspiration from the 2011 R-Space concept car – as I reported at Wheels24 back in March 2011.

A choice of six diesel and two petrol engines will be available in the new model with hybrid assistance coming along in due course. Wheel rims on each model will be pothole-scorning 20″ and Renault’s announced best-in-class luggage space for the compact – but you might like to wait for something bigger… the Grand Scenic will be out some time in the next few months.

“The new Scenic,” Renault asserts, ” is a modern MPV that will be bought not only for driving enjoyment but also for the comfort the whole family.” It also claims that the new(est) Scenic “breaks with convention with unprecedented proportions, two-tone colours and those 20″ rims”.

Automatic emergency braking that will react to humans as well as other vehicles joins “a comprehensive” list of other driving aids, among them a 22cm info screen and a colour head-up display on the windscreen.

2016 Renault Scenic
LET THE SUNSHINE IN: Well, it is kind of rare up there in the northern hemisphere, so the Renault Scenic once again has lots of glass – including some in the roof. Image: Renault

The fourth generation will also be available with an electric Hybrid Assist diesel powertrain.

Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s senior design guy, explained: “We wanted the new Scenic to break ground. It’s a sexier (don’t copywriters use thesauri any more?) and more modern take on the MPV which carries over the outstanding modularity paramount to the success of the model’s three previous generations.”

The newbie is 13mm higher, 40mm higher off the ground, 40mm longer and 20mm wider than its predecessor along with 32mm more wheelbase and the nose carries C-shaped diode headlights.

The massaging and heatable front seats copy those of the larger Renault Espace and have the same eight-way electric adjustment. Electric lumbar support is also available for more expensive versions – which will also fold the rearmost of the three rows of seats with a tap on the info screen.

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The Scenic’s sliding centre console has evolved to cater for rear passengers and has 13 litres of storage, an armrest and charging and connection points. Rear passengers have two USB ports, an audio jack socket, a 12V socket and their own storage space.


Boot volume is 572 litres which, Renault says, puts the new third in the compact MPV segment. And that’s apart from the now typical Scenic collection of oddball place to stick stuff and folding tables for the kids.

The impressive array of family-focused equipment inside the new Scenic continues with sunblinds for rear passengers, either as standard equipment or available as an option, depending on version.

2016 Renault Scenic
THOSE BIG WHEELS ARE REALLY SMART: And the range-wide two-tone paint jobs look really cool, too. Image: Renault

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