The curvaceous new-generation Renault Scenic MPV will not herald the nameplate’s return to Australia.
Renault’s fourth-generation Scenic comes 20 years after the first iteration launched, and largely defined a new segment. This time, in classic French style, it clearly wants to make something practical sexy as well.
According the Renault, the new Scenic “establishes a fresh approach to the MPV”, and points out the obvious inspiration from the R-Space concept car that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011.
At 4406mm long, 1865mm wide and 1653mm tall, on a 2734mm wheelbase, the new Scenic is larger in all dimensions than before. This also makes it marginally bigger than the related Nissan Qashqai.
Remarkably, every single Scenic variant gets 20-inch alloy wheels, but the 107mm sidewall height on the tyres (the same as the old Scenic’s 17-inch alloys) is said to keep the ride somewhat compliant.
The uncluttered and driver-focused dash with an 8.7-inch portrait screen with pinch-and-zoom functionality that echoes the larger Espace and Talisman is a big step upmarket, while upper-grade versions get a head-up display, fixed panoramic glass roof and two-tone colours.
The front seats are made of dual-density foam and come with massaging and heating as an option, while the rear seats are one-touch folding and electrically operated on upper grades by the infotainment screen or a boot-mounted switch.
Functionality is catered for by a front passenger seat that folds down into a table, 60/40 folding and sliding second-row seats, and a sliding centre console. Boot space grows to a massive 572 litres, while there are all sorts of drawers and hidden storage cubbies scattered about.
Active safety tech includes autonomous brakes, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and lane assist.
The new Scenic is powered by six diesel and two petrol engines, but bizarrely it appears that neither the TCe 115 or TCe 130 petrol models can be had with anything other than a six-speed manual gearbox. How classically French. There will also be a ‘hybrid assist’ diesel, a mild hybrid offering.
The Scenic sits upon the CMF C/D (Common Module Family) modular architecture shared with the Megane and a host of Nissan and Renault models.
Renault Australia has not sold the Scenic since 2009, and given the recent crossover boom (and the apparent lack of a suitable petrol/auto drivetrain), this version appears off the radar, just like the Talisman/Kadjar/Espace.
There just isn’t demand for a conventional MPV, and Renault Australia can ill-afford to make its range too complex. That just creates all sorts of logistical headaches.
“It is a vehicle we’ve looked at, it has a history in Australia, it’s a fantastic looking product. We just can't make it work though,” Renault Australia corporate communications chief Emily Fadeyev told us today.