Just like the Megane it’s based on, the Scenic is composed on the move and you can place it confidently on the road – it doesn’t feel big from behind the wheel.
Even though petrol engines are making a resurgence, it’s no surprise to see that most of the engines available for the Scenic are diesels – including the mild hybrid that boasts the best fuel economy in the range.
That’s not to say the petrols aren’t good. Far from it – the 1.2-litre turbocharged unit in the TCe 130 is potent enough to zip through traffic and easily overtake slower cars on the motorway. It’s as fast as most rival MPVs with a 0-62mph time in the 11-second range, however, load it up with people and/or luggage and you won’t see anything near the claimed 48mpg official fuel consumption.
Official mpg and CO2 figures are identical in the smaller 1.0-litre TCe 115. However, the smaller engine is considerably slower, adding a second to the 1.2’s relatively sedate 0-62mph time and struggling when fully loaded. On the upside, the TCe 115 is the cheapest way into Scenic ownership.
Kicking off the range is the 1.5-litre dCi 110 – a fuel-sipper that’s also found in the Megane and Kadjar. In the Scenic you’ll have to work the gearbox to keep up with traffic, but the engine is smooth and also pretty quiet once up to speed. Ignoring the expensive hybrid (that uses the same engine boosted by an electric motor), the dCi 110 is the cheapest Scenic to run with fuel consumption of 72mpg.
The 1.5-litre diesel is so well suited to life in the Scenic, there’s little point in considering either the 130 or 160hp 1.6-litre models. Both return fuel economy of more than 60mpg, while the latter is the quickest car in the range, but 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds still won’t set the world alight.
The 1.5-litre diesel is quick enough and cheap to run – it's all you need really
The hybrid assist model is also hard to justify. Rather than a full-blown green machine, it’s really just the 1.5-litre diesel combined with a small electric motor to boost efficiency. As a result, it can return fuel economy of more than 80mpg, but these gains don’t justify its high price.
The Scenic isn’t fun to drive, but labeling something as not fun to drive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad and the Scenic is the perfect illustration of this – the steering is accurate and, because it’s wider than the old model, body roll is better kept in check.
One of the biggest differences between the Scenic and its rivals is that it comes with huge 20-inch wheels as standard. They look great but mean that car’s ride never seems to quite settle. As a result, it is neither as comfortable to ride in as the Citroen C4 Picasso nor as fun to drive as the VW Touran.
That’s not helped by the light steering, which is ideal for town use but seems bereft of feel on faster roads. The manual gearbox also feels rubbery and the automatic isn’t as fast to react to driver inputs as, say, VW’s DSG auto.