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Renault Scenic 2005 review: road test

The visibility's great. A cross between a sedan and a people mover, the Scenic has passengers sitting a cut above the rest ... elevated but not "perched", and surrounded by huge windows.

The view is, well, very Scenic.

Then there are the gadgets. I love gadgets – especially when there are this many gizmos.

Start with the key that's shaped like a fat credit card. Push a button to open the door, insert the card, foot on the clutch and push another button to start and stop the Scenic.

It's all so simple being pampered. But it takes a bit of getting used to not looking for the key and reaching for the handbrake when you stop.

This is a neat-freak's dream car, with storage compartments in all the right places – room in the doors, drawers under seats, flip-top wells under foot and they're carpet-lined to help stop rattles.

A console between front seats takes the cake with a roll-top lid (bit like a bread box), cup holders and adjustable arm rests – and it slides all the way forward or back.

But there's more ... The glove box is airconditioned; just in case you need to keep drinks cool, the back windows have lift-up sun screens; and there are flip-up tray tables for rear passengers. I love the dash, with its sleek veranda over digital readouts that politely remind you to insert or remove the key card or that the handbrake is still on. And there's no mistaking how fast you are travelling with the speed right there in big, bold numbers.

The KISS concept works well in the Scenic but falls just short with a radio that takes a bit of trial and error to master.

All these gadgets are within easy reach and there are extra controls on the steering wheel – not that you need to think of much yourself.

Most essentials are automatic; lights come on in the dark, windscreen wipers spring to action in the rain and the handbrake comes on when you stop.

The Scenic has been designed with flexibility in mind. It is really comfortable and perfect for a family of five, with the option of taking fewer people and more "stuff". The three rear seats operate individually and each can be removed completely to allow for bigger loads.

I'm not sold on the big-butt back end but the longer you have it, the more it grows on you.

The story of my life, really.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Dynamique 2.0L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $2,900 – 4,950 2005 Renault Scenic 2005 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
Expression 2.0L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,900 – 4,950 2005 Renault Scenic 2005 Expression Pricing and Specs
II Authentique 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,800 – 6,160 2005 Renault Scenic 2005 II Authentique Pricing and Specs
II Dynamique 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $4,200 – 6,820 2005 Renault Scenic 2005 II Dynamique Pricing and Specs