Renault Scenic (2016-2018) Review

With chunky looks, stacks of storage and high equipment levels, the Renault Scenic offers an alternative to SUVs

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Doesn't look like a minibus
  • Practical interior
  • Well equipped
  • Noisy interior
  • Can be expensive
  • Short on rear interior space
Renault Scenic prices from £11,295.
Finance from £248.70 / month.
Renault Scenic prices from £11,295   Finance from £248.70 per month

In an ocean of rugged-looking sport utility vehicles (SUVs) the Renault Scenic people carrier cuts an almost solitary figure. Almost, because there are a handful of others clinging to the life raft including the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer and Ford C-Max.

They are meant to offer a more practical alternative to the off-road-styled SUVs such as the popular Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, as well as traditional hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Renault Megane.

There are seven-seat versions, too, called, in the Scenic’s case, the Grand Scenic. They are more versatile than the five-seat models which have to try harder to impress.

The Scenic gets off to a good start, with a design that mimics some of the popular features of SUVs, including large 20in alloy wheels. It comes in a range of eye-catching colours, all with contrasting black for the roofs, which separate it from the traditional people carrier design, which often resembles a minibus.

Power comes from a choice of just two engines: one petrol and one diesel, which are reasonably economical and powerful. It's not as comfortable as a Citroen C4 SpaceTourer, though. That's partly down to the large wheels which thud into potholes, making them felt by all passengers. It also leans too much in corners, so doesn't feel any more responsive than other people carriers. If it’s a sporty experience you’re looking for, you should look elsewhere – in the direction of a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, for example.

The Scenic’s interior is not as inventive or stylish as the car’s exterior suggests. It’s very practical (mid-spec Iconic has a very useful sliding centre console, and all versions have underfloor storage, a split-fold rear seat and a multi-position boot floor) but a little plain.

The upside is that even the entry-level Play has a good level of safety kit plus luxuries such as dual-zone climate control. Visibility is also impressive, its reasonably light and airy, and the fit and finish of the materials is reasonably good (there are some scratchy plastics towards the lower reaches of the dashboard).

In addition to their greater practicality, MPVs are bought for their extra occupant space. The Scenic’s rear seat slides to create more rear legroom or a larger boot. However, the underfloor storage cubbies mean the flat floor is higher than normal, causing taller passengers to bang their knees on the fold-out picnic tables mounted on the front seat backs. The underfloor storage also means that child seats with support legs can't be used unless the space is reinforced.

There are two sets of Isofix mounts for child seats in the back of the car and one in the front passenger seat. The Scenic scored a full five stars in independent testing by the Euro NCAP organisation in 2016, making it one of the safest cars of its type. 

If you’re bored of hatchbacks and an SUV seems unnecessarily large, the Scenic may be a good compromise. Running costs are reasonable, it’s well equipped, it looks good and children will love the underfloor storage cubbies and picnic tables. However, it’s not as roomy as you might think and it’s a little dull to drive.


Key facts

Warranty Three-years/60,00 miles
Boot size 572 litres
Width 1866mm
Length 4406mm
Height 1653mm
Tax (min to max) Cars registered from 1 April 2017: £205 in the first year and £140 in the second

Best Renault Scenic for...

Best for Economy – Renault Scenic Play Blue dCi 120

Regardless of trim level, all Blue dCi 120 diesel Scenics return an official 57.7mpg but the Play’s advantage lies in it being the cheapest.

Best for Families – Renault Scenic Play TCe 140

It may be the basic version but Play has everything most families could wish for, apart from front parking sensors (it just has rear ones). The diesel version is more economical but more expensive, too, so you need to do the mileage to justify it. The petrol is the better all-rounder.

Best for Performance – Renault Scenic Signature TCe 140

No Scenic is a performance car but the petrol engine’s slightly keener acceleration and the Signature’s additional luxury features including a panoramic sunroof, a larger and better equipped touchscreen entertainment system and unique alloy wheels create a sporty impression.

One to Avoid – Renault Scenic Play TCe 140 auto EDC

Automatics are synonymous with luxury and sophistication, something Play trim doesn't quite deliver. You’d be better off with mid-range Iconic with its uprated audio system, parking sensors and sat nav.


2016 Current Renault Scenic goes on sale
2017 Hybrid Assist version launched claiming 80.7mpg and 94g/km CO2. New 1.3 TCe and 115 and 140 petrol engines also join the range.
2018 Renault reduces its four-year new car warranty to three years. Range cut back to two engines (1.3 TCe 140 petrol and 1.7 Blue dCi 120 diesel). Trims changed to become Play, Iconic and Signature.

Understanding Renault Scenic names

Trim level Play

Renault identifies its trim levels by names rather than letters. Starting with the most basic, the Scenic’s three trims are Play, Iconic and Signature.

Engine TCe

There are just two engines to choose from in the current line-up: a petrol, called TCe, and a diesel, called dCi. The number that follows is the power output of the engine in horsepower.

Gearbox EDC

The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual but the Scenic is also available with a dual-clutch automatic identified by the letters EDC. It’s an option only on petrol models.

Renault Scenic Engines

Petrol: TCe 140
Diesel: Blue dCi 120

Choosing your engine is simple with the Scenic since there are just two: a diesel and a petrol. Economy-wise, the diesel has the edge (it’s also cheaper in terms of company car tax) and it’s a more effortless performer, especially when cruising and overtaking. However, it’s around £2,000 more expensive than the petrol so you need to drive many more miles to justify buying it over the petrol engine.

The petrol engine may only be small at 1.3 litres but it’s turbocharged for more power. It makes all of that power at lower engine speeds than the diesel, so feels quite lively from the start. However, it runs out of puff at higher speeds and to compensate, you have to use the gearbox more. So it’s a little less relaxing to drive than the diesel but generally quieter as well as being much cheaper to buy. It’s also available with an automatic gearbox which, unlike autos of old, doesn't affect economy or performance.



Fuel economy



Top speed

TCe 140




0-62mph: 10.1s


Blue dCi 120




0-62mph: 11.1s


Renault Scenic Trims

Play, Iconic, Signature

There are only three trim levels to choose from but the basic one has all you need. It’s called Play and features MPV essentials such as safety kit (automatic emergency braking and rear parking sensors are standard), split and fold-flat rear seats that also slide, plenty of storage solutions, climate control and good connectivity plus a digital radio. Looks-wise, it has enormous 20in wheels and lots of chrome detailing to help raise it above budget level.

All that mid-range Iconic can muster in reply is a useful sliding centre console, front parking sensors and a sat nav. These features add around £1,300 to the price.

Top-spec Signature places the accent on luxury with features including a panoramic sunroof, LED reading lights all-round, ambient lighting, useful one-touch folding operation of the rear seats and an uprated entertainment system with a larger screen. It adds around £1,600 to the Iconic’s price.

Renault Scenic Reliability and warranty

This Scenic’s immediate predecessor was rated 50 out of 150 cars by owners who responded to the Auto Express 2016 Driver Power survey.

Charting in the top third is not bad but a finish higher up the chart would have been a more reassuring position for a family car to find itself in. However, it certainly feels very well made. It shares components with other vehicles in the Renault family, such as the Captur and the Kadjar, that finished much higher up the same reliability chart.

Less reassuring is that in February 2018, Renault reduced its new car warranty from four years to three. The car maker says its decision reflects the fact that most Scenics are financed from new for three years, meaning the first owner is not interested in a longer warranty. At the same time, it has introduced subsidised servicing for the first three years.

Used Renault Scenic

To appeal to car buyers more interested in SUVs, new MPVs have to be discounted quite heavily, which has a knock-on effect on the prices of used ones. As a result, a used MPV like the Scenic is great value for money.

There are currently 6 Renault Scenics available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £11,295 to £15,900 for nearly-new models. Monthly finance payments start from £248.70 per month.

In February 2018, Renault reduced its new car warranty cover from four years to three years, so it can pay to buy a slightly older Scenic from late 2017, which will have more warranty remaining than one that was registered in Apring 2018.

Later the same year, Renault overhauled the Scenic line-up, introducing the current trim levels in place of the olfer specifications, known as Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav. Those called ‘Nav’ have a sat nav.

Expression+ is the equivalent of today’s Play. The addition os sat nav and sliding centre console makes Dynamique Nav is more like Iconic.

Dynamique S Nav is the equivalent of Signature trim. The old, former top-spec Signature Nav trim with front foglights, bright LED headlights, electrically-adjustable front seats and leather trim has no equivalent in the current Scenic line-up.

Before autumn 2018 there were two petrol and four diesel engines, each with different power ratings and only modest differences in power and economy between them.

There was also a diesel hybrid with an electric motor called dCi 110 Hybrid Assist. It was around £1000 more expensive than a standard dCi 110 from new but real-world economy wasn't much improved, so it's unlikely to cost much more on the used market.

Renault Scenic: used car prices 1 year old 2 years old 3 years old

Best for performance Renault Scenic Signature TCe 140

£11,295 N/A N/A

Best for families Renault Scenic Play

£11,295 N/A N/A

Best for economy Renault Scenic dCi

£11,295 £11,295 N/A