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A bit of a blast

Bearing in mind that Transport Malta is attempting to bring our speed limits on the open road down from a normal 80 km/h to 60 or 70, a pleasant blast into the past was enjoyed in the fabulous value for money latest Renault Scenic.

Darn it all for less than €21,000 a family of up to five can be hurled around our roads at the current speed limit in total comfort and safety.

If the isofix children’s seats are removed from the back this remarkable carriage has rear seats that are all individual, sliding, reclining or more remarkable, removable as the spirit or necessity makes decisions for the pilot or his/her partner.

The Scenic comes with reinforced suspension in order that it copes with heavier loads. I like reinforced suspension over here as so many roads, even if recently surfaced, are given over to producing dips, reminiscent of volcanic disturbance. Go see the newly surfaced Dingli Cliffs if you don’t believe me.

The new Scenic has benefited from a totally reworked front end that really brings the car into the space age, accentuated with chrome and gloss black and a new front bumper. The profile is even more elegant than earlier models set off by chromed side strips and a new range of wheels.

Once on board with the seat adjusted for height as well as the normal tilt and distance from the pedals, the steering can be adjusted to suit even strange shapes and motoring habits. I really got comfortable, a comfort that lasted for the entire duration of the drive.

This was an interesting morning perambulation because with the ultimate aim of reaching Dingli Cliffs a sortie was made along some of our narrower, lesser-known lanes. The Scenic had the height for even the pilot to enjoy looking over the lower walls to see how our agricultural brethren were keeping their fields.

The guidebook praises the uncluttered, ergonomic console. The French have always been good with ergonomics, and the wonderful speed register in numerals a couple of cms high allowed us to ‘cock-a-snook’ at authority by driving to the maximum speed without overdoing it unconsciously.

I was enjoying the six-speed manual, 1.5-litre diesel, a great little engine that develops 95 bhp with enormous pulling power, 240Nm, a serious amount that enables the gears to be left alone if the mood is one of quiet enjoyment rather than a desperate need to get from A-B with scant regard for fuel consumption and the wandering vagaries of a car-owning population largely hell-bent on causing the maximum length of traffic snarl up.

This car is really safe. Crumple zones, reinforced sides, airbags galore, state of the art seat belts, darn good brakes, variable electric power steering, and automatic parking brake, speed limiter/cruise control. ASR and ESP, ABS and EBA, air conditioning [excellent, as we found out].

There is a leather covered steering wheel and gear lever. Great as this reviewer is something of a ‘leather buff’. For those who smoke a smokers package is standard. There is also a key card and nice start/stop button, tinted windows and a tyre inflation kit in lieu of an emergency spare wheel.

Tinted windows are now de rigueur, but the Scenic has always been remarkably well-equipped on board with sensible things. A light in the glove compartment, a sliding double depth central console and armrest.

There are storage trays/drawers under the pilot’s and front passenger seat, front and rear foot well compartments, and something we really appreciated: aircraft type rear trays.

Adjustable headlamps have a ‘see-me-home’ function. The heated electrically adjustable rear mirrors are great in cool climes; however, the rear parking sensors make reversing far less of a chore.

In line with modern convention the car has auto lights and a rain sensor, rear roller blinds, and a new generation of adjustable head rests with comfort adjustment.

Obviously there’s an onboard computer, a TFT digital display, an electrical child’s lock, and for those of you fond of in car electronics there is a 4 X 15 W RDS radio with CD/aux plug-in plus Bluetooth plus radio controls on the steering wheel.

All in this entire attractive, comfortable, safe five-seat passenger car epitomises the Renault brand name with the ability to provide a very good deal at a competitive price. I like this latest Scenic very much indeed and sincerely think that unlike a lot of super giant 4X4s, which are in context great drives, but fill a niche over here, the Scenic is a great non niche family car.

Verdict

Comfort
Carefully developed and comfort personified.

Performance
Absolutely suitable for our twin isles. But there are faster models of Scenic

Cool
Yes in buckets.

Quality
This family machine is crafted for its purpose.

At a glance

Price
€20,980

Economy
4.5 litres per 100 km travelled.

C02
120 gm/km.

Engine
1461 cc diesel, direct common rail, four cylinders, eight valves.

Power
95 bhp at 4,000rpm.

Transmission
Six-speed manual.

Maximum torque
[pulling power], 240 NM at 1,750rpm.

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