Renault’s new Grand Scénic is the MPV that wants to be an SUV. The styling certainly looks more imposing than the previous model’s, but is it a decent tow car?

It certainly has its strong points, stability being one of them. Even in a crosswind any movement is quite gentle and nothing to make the driver nervous.

That subjective impression is backed up by hard data from the caravan’s Al-Ko ATC sensors, which showed very little movement when slowing down from motorway speeds.

The engine’s performance is strong for a 1.6-litre diesel, towing from 30-60mph in 16 seconds. However, there are quicker – and quieter – tow cars in this weight class.

There are cars with stronger brakes, too. The 11.9m stopping distance from 30mph is so-so given that conditions were dry.

In the hill start test, the Renault’s electronic parking brake held car and caravan still and released smoothly. The clutch and throttle had to be carefully balanced, and there was some vibration through the pedals when reversing up a gradient.

Despite the car’s large 20-inch alloys, the Grand Scénic rides reasonably well. However, it’s a shame there’s not more room in the second and third rows, and the seats are very low to the floor. With the third row folded away we found space for our full load of holiday luggage.

But it’s disappointing that the effective legal towing limit when the car is fully loaded (the gross train weight minus the gross vehicle weight) is 1500kg, 350kg less than the stated driver-only limit.

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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