The Renault Scenic Limited is a special edition that aims to remind us quite how good the Scenic package is. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Review
Renault's Scenic is a strong contender in the five-seat compact MPV market and the Limited special edition ramps up the value proposition still further with £1,000 worth of extras that serve to add just £500 to the asking price.
It's a trait of the car buying public that we sometimes take excellence for granted. Brilliant all-rounders are often passed over in favour of less talented vehicles that have one specific talent. Renault's Scenic might just be a case in point here. For a long while it was the best-selling compact MPV in the country and then all of a sudden, it just wasn't. Whether you got bored of it is debatable, but cars like the Ford C-MAX and the Vauxhall Zafira were flavour of the month and the Scenic looked suspiciously like yesterday's news. All of which is odd, because the Scenic has just got better and better with every passing iteration. The latest model is spun off into Scenic, rugged Scenic XMOD and seven-seater Grand Scenic lines and would appear to offer something for almost everyone. In a bid to remind UK buyers quite what a strong package the Scenic is, Renault has released a special edition model dubbed, rather unimaginatively, the Limited.
The Scenic has never really garnered a reputation as a particularly sharp steer, but that suits the sort of customers who just want something comfortable and unthreatening to do the family duties. The Limited version is offered with a reasonably wide choice of engines. You get to choose between two petrol and a pair of diesel powerplants, opening with the 1.6 VVT 110 and stepping up to the 1.2 ENERGY TCe 115 if you want something that drinks from the green pump. Go diesel and you're looking at either a dCi 110 unit or an ENERGY 1.6 dCi 130. There's not a whole lot to choose between the two entry level petrol units in terms of pace, the 1.6-litre actually being a little quicker to 62mph despite its lower power output. Visibility out of the car is very good and it shouldn't be difficult to find a comfortable driving position. If you're regularly driving the car loaded up, the additional torque of the diesel engines will be a boon as it will require less downchanging on uphill stretches.
Design and Build
In terms of styling, most of the changes to the latest Scenic range have centred around freshening up its face. The logo at the front is now bigger and set against a gloss black background that emphasises the revised grille. The Grand Scenic has a larger glass area and a mesh grille covering its single frontal air-intake. The seven-seat model also features distinctive boomerang-shaped rear light clusters that arc around the bottom of its rear pillars and along its flanks. The interior is where the magic happens in any MPV and both Scenic models lay-on lots of space and versatility. The second row of seats can be folded flat or removed. There's a massive array of storage options in the Scenic with more than 90 litres available. Underfloor compartments, under-seat drawers, a chilled glovebox, centre console cubbies, door pockets and trays on the seat backs should help to keep the family's paraphernalia in check. There are also three 12-volt power sockets to keep the all important games consoles and MP3 players powered up.
Market and Model
This Limited model adds around £500 to the price of the Dynamique TomTom version on which it's based but factors in over £1,000 worth of extras. These include a panoramic sunroof, extra tinted windows and tailgate, special 'Limited' upholstery, badging and door kickplates and electrically heated and folding door mirrors finished in gloss black. As with all Scenics, safety is a big plus point, Renault's models routinely achieving the maximum five-star ratings from Euro NCAP. The car can be specified with automatic headlamps and wipers, cruise control with a speed-limiting function, bi-xenon headlamps that swivel to illuminate round bends and a seat-belt reminder that sounds if a rear-seatbelt is unbuckled. There's also ABS with brake assist and brake force distribution and ESC stability control with CSV understeer control. The second row of seats all have ISOFIX child seat anchor points too.
Cost of Ownership
Renault has made genuine improvements in terms of energy efficiency with this latest car. The 'Energy' models were always the ones to look to if you wanted to keep a cap on running costs, but now it's very hard to go wrong wherever you look in the range. There is one exception and that's the entry-level 1.6-litre engine which is a bit of a duffer in virtually every regard. Avoid that and you're golden. The 1.2-litre TCe engine makes a whole lot of sense if you don't cover huge mileages or just plain don't enjoy diesels. You'll get 47.9mpg from the 115PS unit rather than the 38.2mpg you'd achieve in the less powerful 1.6-litre. The 1.5-litre diesel 110PS diesel with the Stop & Start system is the one to go for if you're after the best fuel economy, registering 68.9mpg. The top spec dCi 130 diesel isn't far behind, clocking 64.2mpg and emitting just 114g/km of carbon dioxide. Insurance is reasonable, with this range-topper rated at just Group 23E.
This Limited edition of the Scenic is a respectable deal, and will make all kinds of sense if you were looking at a Scenic and fancied specifying the optional panoramic glass roof, which on its own costs the best part of £700. You'd have instantly saved yourself £300 and got a few other extras to boot. What the Limited doesn't really do is turn the Scenic into the must-have compact MPV. It's good but there's a heck of a lot of talent out there and the 2013 refreshment to the Scenic range didn't really go far enough to make it impossible to ignore. That said, it's still a class act and while there isn't one thing about it that's utterly outstanding, live with one for a while and you'll come to appreciate the depth of understanding Renault has built up in almost twenty years of building Scenic models. Avoid the underwhelming 1.6-litre petrol engine and you shouldn't be disappointed by the Limited. As far as talents go, it's anything but.