Since its launch the Renault Scenic has comfortably settled into its role as the 'ultimate' MPV. It's the yardstick by which all newcomers are measured. There is one other MPV however, that possibly trumps the Scenic in terms of space and comfort, and that's its bigger brother, the Renault Grand Scenic.
No MPV, especially one as large as the Grand Scenic, can ever be described as beautiful. As a rule MPV's are a little bulky and awkward and the Grand Scenic is no exception. But, Renault's flair for design saves the overgrown Scenic from resembling just another people carrier.
The Grand Scenic's interior is precisely why everyone should buy one. It feels massive, but is still a breeze to drive. The centrally mounted instrument panel takes some getting used to, but once you are it works a treat. Everything from the fascia-mounted gearlever to the automatic park brake has been designed to free up interior space. The number of interior storage spaces add up to 99 litres and the two compartments behind the rear wheel arches are especially handy.
It's superbly comfortable. Even the individual rear seats are more than adequate although you may not want to sit in one for an extended journey. But that goes for all third row seats and as far as these go the Grand Scenic is way ahead of the pack in terms of comfort.
In typical Renault fashion, the Grand Scenic has been designed with safety foremost in mind. It contains all the necessaries from adaptive airbags and seatbelts to curtain and chest airbags as well as extra interior padding.
Naturally, the vehicle is also equipped with ABS and ESP.
The Grand Scenic's performance can?t be measured in the typical 'motoring' sense of the word. According to the manufacturer it's capable of reaching 0-100 km/h in 12,7 seconds. This is better than most, but the Renault's true performance should be measured in terms of capability and versatility as that's what MPVs are all about. In this sense the Grand Scenic ends up head and shoulders above the rest. It's not the only vehicle in its class to offer seven seats or lots of space, but overall it does so better than the rest. It's user-friendly and just seems to do everything so much better than the rest.
The Renault Grand Scenic may not be as popular as its little brother, but that's certainly not due to lack of charm. There's no doubt the Grand Scenic is a large vehicle and many buyers may feel it's a little too much. But why not take it for a test drive anyway? If you're already a Scenic fan, you'll find the Grand just offers so much more. It's one of the most versatile and comfortable vehicles currently on the market and it certainly doesn't skimp in terms of specification. Also, the Renault styling just gives it a touch more class and character than many of its competitors making it one of the most appealing MPVs on the road.
Model Year - 2007
Odo reading - 700 km
Price when new - R249 000
Price now - R244 000
Pros: Styling, space, versatility. You don't look or feel like you're driving a bus, but it offers loads of packing space.
Cons: Well, it's still an MPV. Which, for many, is a good thing?
Vehicle Supplied by:
Francois Mulder, sales manager at Renault Gateway.
18 Meridian Drive, Umhlanga Ridge, Gateway.
*Special thanks to Renault Gateway who not only gave us with a vehicle to test but also for all the help and excellent service provided.