French automaker Renault launched Scenic in 1996 as a compact MPV, immediately it became a hit as people were desperately waiting for something between a big MPV and a compact family car. Scenic filled the gap perfectly, demand was so high that at one time Renault factories were producing 2500 units each day. Renault launched Scenic with varying engine capacities ranging from 1.4 litre to 2.0 litre petrol along with different variants of 1.9 litre diesel engine. Among those, Renault Scenic dCi diesel was the most powerful, in first generation Scenic, producing 101 bhp. This dCi based diesel engine was powerful enough to be used in RX4, 4×4 version of Scenic with bigger wheels and suspension.
During the second generation, from 2003 till 2009, Renault built on the success of first generation Scenic and launched with better financing and marketing, thus further increasing its desirability in UK and Europe. However, Renault discontinued RX4 and launched Scenic Conquest, with similar Renault Scenic dCi, engine powering two wheels instead of four. In both generations of Scenic, Renault introduced clever designs and technology that proved to be substantial in establishing positive perception of Scenic among families, Scenic’s target audience.
These included adjustable head rests for rear passengers, folding rear seats, heated mirrors, remote locking, side air bags, parking sensors and many more. Emphasis of Renault has always remained on providing economical and safe commute and Scenic became their brand ambassador as it was designed to be family MPV stressing on kids or rear passenger’s safety. Electric powered Cleanova3 was launched in 2005, based on Scenic’s platform though originally it was based on Renault Kangoo’s platform. From 2009 onwards Renault has launched Grand Scenic, capable of seating 7 instead of traditional 5 people.
Despite achieving commercial success, Scenic also faced its share of setbacks. In 2009 and 2010 it was recalled due to serious electronic failures, ranging from dashboard panel failure to a malfunctioning handbrake. Renault offered reimbursement and recalled Scenic from certain European regions. However, this setback didn’t hurt Renault that bad, Scenic is still among one of the most desirable family cars and Renault is still considered the most economical and practical automaker in Europe. Powered by its economical and reliable petrol/ diesel engines Renault vehicles are rarely challenged on their European home turf, only serious contender to Renault’s low cost, low maintenance family cars was Toyota but Japanese manufactured bailed its MPV from Europe as it couldn’t compete profitably.