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.