Renault claims to have invented the compact multi-purpose vehicle segment with the introduction of the original Scénic in 1996. Be that as it may, it is still one of the class leaders, 16 years, four generations and almost 3.9 million units later.
But nothing in the motor industry stands still and Renault has updated the long-running Scénic and Grand Scénic for 2012, with improved equipment and higher performance and efficiency.
In the front, the redesign extends to the headlights, bumper, bonnet and even the A pillar. The five-seat Scénic has a bold front-end treatment with sleeker multi-element headlights, a louvred front grille and chromed accents with contrasting gloss black surrounds for the new LED daytime running lights.
The seven-seat Grand Scénic's front end is more elegant with wider horizontal lines for the bumper and grille, complemented by chrome detailing and new LED daytime driving lights.
ALL-NEW 1.6 TURBODIESEL
Behind the new face there's an all-new 1.6 dCi Energy turbodiesel engine with idle stop and deceleration/regenerative braking.
Renault claims this is the world's most powerful 1.6 diesel at 96kW, with 320Nm available at 1750rpm (20Nm more the 1.9 dCi it replaces), 80 percent of which is available from 1500rpm. It's also 20 percent less thirsty the 1.9 dCi at a quoted 4.4 litres per 100km, making the new Grand Scénic arguably the market's most frugal seven-seater MPV.
There are more Energy-series turbodiesels to come over the next 12 months, says Renault.
Also new is a two-litre dCi Auto for the flagshift Grand Scenic Bose Edition, for which Renault quotes 110kW at 4000rpm and 360Nm at 2000, mated to a refined six-speed automatic transmission.
The familiar, 83kW/151Nm, 1.6-litre 16-valve petrol engine remains available in the five-seat Scénic Expression.
Even the base Scénic Expression model now has Carminat TomTom Live integrated navigation system, Bluetooth-enabled audio system, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, and front and rear parking sensors.
The Grand Scénic Dynamique adds dual-zone climate control, electrically operated and heated front seats, and a hands-free 'card' ignition key.
Topping the range is the new Grand Scénic 2.0 dCi Bose, with a Bose sound system specially developed for this model, along with a rear-view camera, xenon headlights, and a heat and noise-insulating windscreen.
It also has a hill-hold function linked to the electronic stability programme, which is standard across the range.
The Scénic's liquid-crystal instrument cluster has been updated to include the new idle stop and hill-hold functions, along with an eco assistant, a new air quality and toxicity indicator, and a wide range of driver-selectable display options.
Scénic 1.6 Expression - R259 900
Grand Scénic 1.6 dCi Dynamique - R324 900
Grand Scénic 2.0 dCi Bose - R379 900