The Renault Scenic helped popularise small MPVs in Europe but as that segment continues to evaporate, it’s getting an SUV makeover.
Previewed with last year’s plug-in hybrid hydrogen fuel cell-powered Scenic Vision concept, the production model is expected to debut in 2024 with electric power.
The front-wheel drive Megane E-Tech Electric is offered with a choice of 40kWh or 60kWh batteries and 96kW/250Nm or 160kW/300Nm electric motors. With the larger battery, it offers 470km of range.
The larger Ariya features 63kWh and 87kWh batteries and a range of different outputs, with a dual-motor all-wheel drive flagship model offering 290kW and 600Nm and a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 5.1 seconds.
The Scenic Vision concept measures 4490mm long, 1900mm wide, 1590mm tall, and rides on a 2835mm wheelbase.
That’s about halfway between the 4.41m Scenic and 4.63m Grand Scenic, both of which went out of production last year.
Reports last year indicated “90 per cent” of the Scenic Vision’s design would carry through to the production version, though we can expect the rear-hinged rear doors to disappear.
We can also expect a significantly toned-down interior. The Scenic Vision had the typical concept car flights of fancy, with a steering yoke, tiny square-shaped digital displays, and a pillar-to-pillar screen set-up.
While the Renault Scenic didn’t create the small people mover segment – models like the Nissan Prairie and Mitsubishi Space Runner/RVR got there first – its introduction in 1996 sparked a dramatic uptick in popularity for this vehicle type.
Compact MPVs became hot property in Europe, with manufacturers from Citroen to Volkswagen and even premium brands like BMW getting in on the act.
BMW is one of the last brands standing in this segment in Europe with its 2 Series Active Tourer, with most manufacturers dropping their small MPVs for SUVs, or offering only cargo van-based people movers instead of car-based ones.
Renault is credited as creating the three-row people mover segment in Europe with its 1984 Espace, and earlier this year the company revealed the sixth-generation model as none other than a three-row crossover based on the Austral.
It has been rapidly expanding its SUV line-up. The Captur was joined by the Arkana coupe crossover, the Kadjar crossover was axed but replaced with the Austral and its Espace spin-off, and the Rafale was revealed this year as a new flagship model.
It’s unclear if Renault will bring the production Scenic here.
While Renault has yet to confirm the Austral, Espace and Rafale crossovers for Australia, it has locked in the Megane E-Tech Electric.
The Scenic was sold here across two generations from 2001 to 2009, before being axed as the company focused on the Koleos crossover.