Renault’s Grand Scenic is a comfortable carry-all, which motoring writer IAN LAMMING says managed to shrink the British Isles!
WHEN you live up North, London is a long way away.
Sensible travellers will let the train take the strain, but sometimes there is no option other than to drive.
There are people to be carried (and that triples the train fare) and a whole lot of kit too, so the southern migration has to be done on four wheels.
It is at times like these that great thought must be given to the means of transport. It needs to be big and comfortable; it needs to be powerful, refined but frugal.
It must also be easy to park among the congestion of the southlands and any number of driver’s aids can only help the cause.
At times like these my thoughts went straight to Renault; let’s face it, they have been making people carriers longer than most and know the score. The first choice – the Espace – wasn’t available but the second was – and it was a doozie.
The Grand Scenic is almost as good at shipping people and luggage as its larger sibling. In fact, in this case, it might have been slightly better because it’s a bit easier to manoeuvre through traffic choked streets.
Everything else for a comfortable journey is there. The motor on this occasion is the new 1.4 litre petrol, which sounds modest, but is much more than that thanks to a turbocharger – 130hp from 1.4 litre, whatever next.
It has the balance I was looking for between good acceleration, to cheat death on any given southern roundabout, supreme motorway cruising ability and sip-at-the-fuel economy.
Ride is also spot on, comfy and cosseting with great seats, loads of space to stretch out and a cabin that offers greenhouse levels of lovely light; I’m feeling better about the journey already.
Grand Scenic will seat seven and there are only three of us, so the third row of seats is folded neatly away and the extra space is put to good effect swallowing our excess work baggage.
Then it’s a case of pointing the nose south, sticking it in top, bunging on the cruise control and enjoying the journey to the Smoke.
It’s an amazingly pleasant trip free from fatigue, and my particular scourge of driver’s headache, and the city looms into view much quicker than expected. It’s the same going home and I can’t believe I have managed to drive so far without recourse to taking drugs for a thumping head. Better still I’m still enjoying the drive and even at journey’s end feel I have more in reserve, which surely is testimony to what a truly brilliant vehicle the Grand Scenic is.
The big Renault has done an amazing thing; it has shrunk the British Isles. Never again will London seem so far from home.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
Model: Renault Grand Scenic Dynamique TomTom TCe 130
Engine: 1.4 litre, turbo petrol
Drivetrain: six speed manual
Top speed: 121mph
Insurance group: 18E
Miles per gallon (combined): 38.2
CO2 (g/km): 170