Today's unveiling also brings reaffirmation that Renault Australia is exploring the Grand Scenic's potential for a local launch, although a decision is still to be made.
Available with both five- and seven-seat configurations, the Grand Scenic measures 240mm longer than the regular Scenic, at 4630mm, with a 66mm longer wheelbase (2800mm). The 'Grand' variant also boasts a 765-litre boot for the five-seat version, marking an additional 63 litres over its smaller sibling. (Seven-seat figures are still to be confirmed.)
Other features in the new Grand Scenic include Active Emergency Braking (AEBS) with pedestrian detection - Renault claims a first-in-segment - the company’s 8.7-inch R-Link infotainment system, a full-colour heads-up display, 20-inch wheels (another claimed segment first), and the option of the brand’s ‘Hybrid Assist’ diesel-electric hybrid powertrain.
Also included is Renault’s ‘Easy Life’ sliding centre console between the front seats - a hallmark of past Scenic models - that enables owners to customise the car’s cabin layout.
The console provides an additional 13-litres of storage and can be slid forward to create a more sedan-like cockpit or pushed back to lend a more ‘open plan’ layout for passengers.
Underneath the centre console, there are two USB ports, an SD card slot and a 12-volt socket.
Higher-spec models will feature a leather-trimmed upper dashboard and front door trims, while the Grand Scenic’s one-touch folding rear seats can be controlled through the MPV’s infotainment system or the boot-mounted switch.
The Grand Scenic doesn’t scrimp on safety equipment, either, including the aforementioned standard AEBS - which works between 7km/h and 60km/h - and pedestrian detection, along with fatigue detection warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, safe distance warning, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, reversing camera, adaptive headlights; front, rear and side parking sensors, along with a hands-free parking system.
Renault says that the inclusion of these driving aids are “the building blocks for autonomous driving", suggesting we could see driverless options join the Grand Scenic's on-board systems as part of a future software upgrade.
Another headlining feature of the new Grand Scenic range is the option of the company’s mild diesel-electric hybrid system, called ‘Hybrid Assist’.
Equipped with an electric generator and a 48-volt battery, the hybrid system recovers kinetic energy collected during deceleration, which is then used to assist the engine.
The Grand Scenic is also available with the choice of a further four diesel and two petrol variants, in several states of tune, offered with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Grand Scenic and its smaller Scenic sibling are scheduled for European release by the end of 2016, though a specific date hasn’t been set.
Renault Australia has previously offered both the Scenic and Grand Scenic locally, however the last time we saw either model here was when the Scenic was axed from the local line-up in 2009. The French brand hasn’t offered an MPV to take on the likes of the Citroen C4 Picasso/Grand C4 Picasso since.
In addition, demand for MPVs has significantly dropped since the SUV boom. However, there could be hope yet for Australian buyers who want a stylish, French family fan.
After ruling out the regular Scenic for local release, Justin Hocevar, managing director for Renault Australia, told CarAdvice earlier this month: “At this time, the Grand Scenic has not been confirmed for our market”.
“We are currently studying a business case for the vehicle in Australia and have registered initial interest in it.”
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for future updates on the new Renault Grand Scenic