Renault Scenic 2008 review
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- Renault Scenic 2008
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Diesel will power Renault sales within two years, with the company conservatively estimating that 30 per cent of its passenger sales will be dCi models.
In reality, that figure's more likely to be half, which is why Renault views the new 1.9-litre Scenic diesel as a key car to build recognition of the dCi range, even though the people mover is projected to sell at only 15-20 vehicles a month.
Renault already sells the Megane and Laguna diesels here but sees the need - sooner rather than later - to offer an oil burner in every segment.
For a company that sold a mere 2897 passenger cars in Australia last year, the Scenic fills a small but crucial niche.
Renault managing director Rudi Koenig concedes the diesel will take sales off the petrol models, but says it's what customers want.
“We're seeing customers who go overseas, and often end up renting a Scenic diesel, coming back and asking for the diesel model here,” Mr Koenig says.
“It's fair to say we've lost some sales because we haven't had the diesel.”
The dCi stacks up well against the two-litre Scenic petrol models, with 96kW of power and 250Nm of torque compared with 98kW/191Nm.
While performance is comparable, the diesel has a much more moderate thirst, downing 7.1 litres of fuel every 100km to the petrol's 8.6 litres/100km, with an equal drop in exhaust emissions.
In a car park filled with soft-roaders and crossover wagons, the Scenic stands out as a car-based people mover - and for that prominent rear end.
Like the engine, the styling is lifted from the Megane hatch and Mr Koenig says it's slowly gaining acceptance with buyers.
“The Megane was ahead of its time when it was introduced but now other companies have followed that (bulging rear-end) trend and it's become accepted,” he says.
“The Scenic for me is a real disappointment . . . it is a very good product that hasn't found it's place in this market.”
Mr Koenig concedes the Scenic's compact external dimensions can work against the car, with families not putting it on the shopping list because they don't realise how much interior space is available. “It's a genuine five or seven-seat people mover that doesn't have the weight penalty of a four-wheel drive, but still has the same hip-point access to easily load and unload kids and prams,” he says.
The diesel model is only available with five seats and as a four-speed auto. It is priced at $37,990.
And there aren't many options you'll need to tick - the standard kit includes electronic stability control, brake force distribution and curtain airbags.
Under typical acceleration it's a quiet and smooth-driving unit, with enough mid-range urge to make urban-speed overtaking a breeze. Heavy use of the right foot will produce a muted drone as the engine holds second gear until you've built up to cruising speed, but the noise of the kids is likely to drown that out anyway.
The handling is reassuringly benign - this is a vehicle you'll be carrying the little treasures in, after all - with the stability control intervening at the first loss of front-end grip.
Visibility is another strong suit, with the Scenic easy to park and reverse. There's enough storage under the seats and in the doors to stash the toys, pens and books required to amuse the family, and the rear seats will slide back for more legroom should you have extra adults to transport.
Range and Specs
|II Dynamique||2.0L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO||$5,300 – 8,250||2008 Renault Scenic 2008 II Dynamique Pricing and Specs|
|II Expression||1.9L, Diesel, 4 SP AUTO||$5,700 – 8,800||2008 Renault Scenic 2008 II Expression Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data