Renault-Nissan’s 129bhp 1.6 dCi ‘R9M’ engine is a known quantity. It’s also no stranger to the Scenic, having been introduced in the previous-generation model.

The downsized four-pot unit is intended to rival the larger diesels still common among rivals, and it produces 236lb ft, with an eye on keeping progress in the ‘respectably brisk’ region.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Steering inspires good confidence at first but doesn’t allow you to feel for grip around tighter corners

In the Grand Scenic, it does this well enough to make the substantial 1601kg kerb weight seem if not inconsequential, then at least easily manageable.

Measured against the Touran we tested, which used the familiar 148bhp 2.0 TDI and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the Renault proved to be 1.5sec slower to 60mph but still brisk enough, even in the wet, to as good as match Renault’s 11.4sec 0-62mph claim.

It’s a similar story from 30mph to 70mph: 9.7sec for the Touran versus 11.3sec for the Grand Scenic. In gear, there’s a gentle but noticeable tendency for the speed to increase with the introduction of the turbocharger’s assistance, rather than a wholly organic, linear rising of the rev counter on a consistent pedal position, but it’s easily forgiven.

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Less forgiveable is the amount of noise generated by the Scenic. The 68dB recorded at a 70mph cruise seems reasonable (it’s the same score the Touran returned last year), yet it doesn’t account for the racket generated under load; the car seems to have only half the sound deadening afforded to its German rival.

Underlining the harshness, the 79dB logged at 5000rpm in third is a full 9dB louder than the Volkswagen.

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