Renault has learnt the salient lesson of the crossover well.
Much as the Nissan Qashqai was a remodelled hatchback at heart, so the flamboyant new Scenic remains fundamentally an MPV, its function and recognisability only tweaked to the extent that its presence and appearance suggest a likeable revision to conventional thinking.
Faulting the logic is difficult, because out of the end of it has popped the kind of objectively handsome product that typically arouses plenty of buyer interest.
But building the world’s best-looking MPV does not equate to building the best.
The Volkswagen Touran is among the drabbest-looking cars on sale, yet its place at the sharp end of the class is assured, because its utilitarianism is offset against the obvious quality of the driving experience.
The Scenic’s failure to compete with rivals on refinement, interior quality and dynamic polish is at the heart of our justification for placing it outside of the class top five.
Still, space, ease of use, frugality, standard kit and appealing sensibleness remain obvious strengths – and are just as attractive as they were two decades ago.