All-new Renault Scenic debuts as electric crossover with eco credentials
The new Scenic waves goodbye to its MPV roots in favour of sophisticated SUV styling and electric-only powertrains.
Fashion icon it was not, however the original Scenic was revolutionary in the way it kickstarted the entire compact MPV segment. Even the model’s acronymic name — standing for Safety Concept Embodied in a New Innovative Car — highlighted how groundbreaking it was. It’s probably a good thing they abbreviated it though.
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Clearly innovation has always been high on the Scenic’s agenda, so what’s the new model packing on this front?
Well, Renault is billing the new shape as ‘The first more sustainably designed all-electric family vehicle’, although we think manufacturers like Polestar and Cupra might argue on the contrary. Regardless of who got there first, the Scenic is said to encapsulate the brand’s new sustainability strategy, which focuses on the three key areas of ‘environment, safety and inclusion.’
The French brand has gone to great lengths to ensure the Scenic lives up to that first tenet. Nearly a quarter of the materials used in the new Scenic are recycled. And when it’s time to be retired and visit the great scrapyard in the sky, 90% of the car’s mass can be recycled – perhaps into the next generation of Renault.
As you can see, the French marque has decided to move with the times and remodel the Scenic into a crossover, and it’s not hard to work out why: SUVs are selling like hotcakes, while MPVs have never garnered such attention.
Don’t be fooled by the 4x4-esque styling, though, the Scenic is still very much an on-road only proposition. Both powertrains send their full force exclusively to the front wheels, but for most buyers this shouldn’t be an issue.
On the subject of motors, you’d be wrong to assume that, because it’s now an EV, the new car has sprouted an uncharacteristic turn of pace. Unless you find canal boats quite brisk, you probably won’t be excited by the 9.3 second 0-60 mph sprint of the standard 167 bhp variant.
With a top speed of 93 mph (the same as a 1981 Austin Metro) the base 60 kwh model is no hot rod, but a 261-mile range is reasonable. If you need more pep, a higher range version bumps power to 215 bhp, lops nearly a second off the 0-60 dash, and boosts range to an impressive 385 miles.
Range aside though, none of that really matters. What potential Scenic buyers will care most about is if the SUV successor has retained the unrivalled practically of the MPV original. Happily, the new car seems to blend crossover looks with people-carrier roominess in the cabin.
The Scenic has clearly been designed with families in mind. For a relatively small vehicle, a 545-litre load capacity (rising to 1670 litres with the seats folded) is no joke. There’s plenty of smart storage solutions too, such as swiveling arm rest mounts for phones and tablets, plus cleverly placed storage cubbies to stop toys and bits of day-to-day debris from rolling around the interior.
We’ve yet to drive the new Scenic so we can’t report on how it handles a B-road, but, as pictured, it does have Michelin tyres to help in that area. Wearing Michelin’s E Primacy rubber guarantees great grip and steering feel, with the added benefit of low-rolling resistance to maximize EV range.
The latest Scenic is scheduled to land in the UK circa spring 2024, with best estimates suggesting an entry point of around £40,000. This would put the Renault up against the likes of Skoda’s Enyaq IV and Tesla’s Model Y. Stiff competition indeed.
Was Renault right to ditch the MPV Scenic, or is the new model just another crossover in an already saturated market? Let us know what you think.
Hero image credit: Renault