Test Drive: 2012 Renault Grand Scenic 1.6 dCi MT image

The Renault Grand Scenic Energy facelift has been on the market ever since 2012 and we have went for a spin in it to tell you its ups and downs.

Engine and Transmission

The version chosen for a one-day trip to the beach in a very cold March weekend was the 1.6 dCi diesel, which is replacing the old 1.9 liter dCi. The unit is also found on other models in the Renault-Nissan range including the Qashqai, which we tested last year. The engine is producing a total output of 130 HP and it provides a peak torque of 320 Nm, ever since 1,750 rpm. The torque figure available from low revs will make you feel like you’re in a more powerful car, but when you take a quick look around, you realize that your wife is giving you “the look” for “daring” to push the throttle.

The 1.6 liter dCi engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, also used in other models across the range. Gear shifting is made easily but in the version we had we encountered some problems after trying to put it into first once the light has turned green. The unit is also getting a Stop / Start system which is a “must” in this car because it will take care of your wallet, even if sometimes it will refuse to stop the engine once you are in a standstill with your left foot off the clutch pedal.

Fuel Consumption

When we tested the Qashqai equipped with the same automatic transmission we were pretty impressed of the 6.2 liters of fuel burned every 100 km on the highway, at 120 km/h with cruise control on and the AC set at 16 degrees on a cold summer’s day. But we were even more impressed that the Grand Scenic has managed to burn just 5.7 liters of fuel at the same speed, with the same cruise control on but without the AC, which compensated with the seat heater. If you want to drive economical, than you should know that in sixth gear, at a speed of 94-96 km/h, the MPV has averaged in impressive 3.7 liters / 100 km. This is a car which will definitely be in the 1200 – 1400 km range. Urban fuel consumption stands at almost 9 L / 100 km and it’s almost impossible to burn more than 10 L / 100 km.

The Ride

Driving the Renault Grand Scenic in a crowded city will provide you with enough comfort which will make you ignore speed bumps, waves in the asphalt or small holes. The suspension system is making its job just as it should, for the front passengers at least, because the rear ones will feel what you’re doing behind the wheel. But considering the fact that this is an MPV, your children will be on the rear seat and if they dare to say something, you can simply say “Shut up, I’m your father / mother, I know best!”.

Despite its inflatable boat appearance, the Grand Scenic is quite agile in corners and its dynamic steering will make you try more and more every time and this might eventually turn into a trip to the E.R. But that’s not a bad thing, you see, because you don’t have to hit the brake very often in tight corners, compared to other cars around you. If you take a “brave pill”, than you can even turn the ESP off, but that doesn’t have any logic considering the fact that this is a family car in which you can take your kids to school.

Interior Design

The Renault Grand Scenic has all the buttons where it should have, in close reach of the driver, and because you’re “the daddy”, you also get electric seat adjustment, something which the front passenger has no clue what it is. And because you’re “the daddy” once more, you can decide whether your kids can open the door or not by simply pushing a button on the door, near the electric window commands and electric mirrors ones. You and your wife / husband, hopefully of the opposite sexes, will get the chance to use the dual-zone climate control, but your kids in the back will not be that happy because the rear air vents aren’t that good.

But when they’ll say “daddy, I’m cold”, simply show them the sky through the panoramic roof. That should keep them quiet. The cabin is sound proof more than most C-segment cars but then again it should be like this, considering the fact that the version we tested was priced at just over 27,000 euros.

Likes / Dislikes

I will start this chapter with the Likes part, which will probably make the automaker happy. Before I start, I have to be honest and tell you that I’m not a big fan of MPVs, in fact the Renault Grand Scenic was the first one I ever drove and, even if I’m not a big fan of them now, I actually found a lot of things I enjoyed in it. For instance its exterior design is quite attractive with the chrome inserts, the interior will provide you with comfortable front seats with side support, an auto-dimming center mirror, a Lane Departure Warning System which will slap you over the head if you dare to change lanes without signaling, a Bose premium sound system, enough space for your legs no matter where you will stay, a high driving position, good visibility while maneuvering the car in tight spaces, Follow-Me Home headlights, a cooled glove box, auto-folding side mirrors, auto parking brake once you turn off the engine, service info in the trip computer, automatic headlights, easy access to the TomTom navi system through a joystick fitted near the center armrest and a good noise insulation.

Moving on to the other part we can start with the tall rear seat which isn’t good for any adult but it will help you keep a close eye on your kids. The third row of seats has difficult access, the cup holders in the rear were too small, but maybe they should be like this for the small cups on which they were designed on, some plastic panels on the dashboard feel really cheap an in time they will develop a proper noise of their own while you will go over speed bumps, the navigation system kept showing me in the middle of a field most of the times even if it said TomTom whenever I started the engine and, overall, I felt a bit ashamed when I sat behind the wheel. I must tell you that even if I felt a bit ashamed, there were some people in traffic interested in the MPV and asking me stuff about it, a part which is really liked and made me forget that this is an MPV and not a crossover.