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Renault Grand Scenic first drive

  • We drive the 1.6 dCi Grand Scenic with stop/start
  • Plenty of kit with Dynamique TomTom specification
  • Company car tax is £48 per month on 20% pay scale

For many company car drivers a people-carrier is more of a second car, the four-door saloon the default of choice.

As people-carriers become more sophisticated, however, having one as a company car choice makes a lot of sense, particularly for those that still need to transport a family but want to cut down to one car.

Step forward the Renault Grand Scenic seven-seater, with its all-new 1.6-litre diesel engine.

With class-leading average fuel economy of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 115g/km, it delivers affordable running costs thanks to its great fuel economy and low company car tax. It is also spacious and with the extra fold-down two seats in the luggage area it’s extremely practical.

For company car drivers the main sticking point might be the handling and performance, and although the Grand Scenic is not in the same league as the Ford Mondeo for example, for road-holding it is still very capable.

The diesel engine delivers a healthy 130bhp and 320Nm of torque and these figures mean you’ll have enough performance to cruise quite happily on the motorway and the kind of power you need to make B-road overtaking manoeuvres stress-free. For the record, it’ll get from 0-60mph in 11.1 seconds and has a top speed of 121mph.

Around town the engine picks up with little delay and although the ride is firm it is a good compromise when you’re cornering hard or quickly. Body lean is kept well in check and if you’re a little too enthusiastic into corners it will grip well too.

There are a couple of small gripes. There’s little steering feel and the brakes could do with a little more power and you do find yourself pushing the pedal harder than you’d like when coming to a stop. The six-speed manual gearbox is a little notchy too. In terms of comfort you’d be churlish to find many faults though, and the seating has enough cushioning to make long journeys not too much of a chore.

The engine is a little noisy when accelerating hard, but soon settles down when you’re up to speed. Road and wind noise is virtually undetectable.

On the real plus side, the Grand Scenic has great visibility. The A-pillar has been pushed back far enough to give you a clear view when pulling out of junctions and tight corners.

As well as the flexibility of the rear seats, you also get plenty of leg- and head-room in the middle row of seats and these also fold down easily to give a cavernous load area.

Kit-wise you won’t feel short-changed. We tested the Dynamique TomTom which includes satnav with Google Local Search, a host of airbags, 16-inch alloys, air con, rain-sensing wipers, CD stereo, cruise control, height adjustable driver’s seat, height and reach-adjustable steering wheel and ISOFIX child seat mounting points, all for a P11d price of £22,145.

With CO2 emissions at 115g/km, benefit-in-kind is payable at 13%. This translates to £48 per month on the 20% pay scale and £96 per month on the 40% scale.

The Renault Grand Scenic TomTom 1.6 dCi stop/start is on sale now.

Also consider:

Ford S-Max

A real competitor to the Grand Scenic, the S-Max will carry seven in relative comfort while the huge cabin and boot with fold-flat seats means big loads can be transported too.

Citroen C4 Grand Picasso

The spacious and stylish Grand Picasso is a comfortable cruiser that was built for family motoring. Fold-flat seats feature once more, while the interior has been designed with families in mind.

SEAT Alhambra

You get plenty of standard kit with the latest Alhambra, including a clever seat-folding mechanism and a practical, functional interior. Build quality is also good while there's a wide range of efficient engines.