At present I own a Clio 182, with no intention of getting rid of it. It's an awesome car, but that's another story.
However, as I have 2 children and 4 dogs, I needed something more suitable to ferry the dogs and children about.
My search began, and as with the Clio, I wanted what I thought best suited my needs without any badge loyalty. Buying a car simply because of what badge it wears, is not something I have ever done.
Due to the rise in popularity in MPVs, I set my mind on one as opposed to buying an estate. The idea of of the features that come with MPVs appealed to me.
My initial search began, and in the end I narrowed my choices down to a Citroen Picasso, Vauxhall Meriva and Renault's Scenic. After extensive tests and hours of deciding, I made my decision to go with the Renault Scenic.
If you start with looks, then in my opinion the Scenic wins hands down. It looks so much more modern and appealing than the other 2. Despite still liking the Picasso, the Scenic looks better.
Buying a car you actually like the look of is a good start. Everything else about this car gives me what I wanted and more. Despite buying the entry level 1.4 Authenitique, it has several factory fitted options that make it more desirable than the standard model. Mine has metallic paint, CD player/6 speakers with controls on the steering wheel, air conditioning and a tidy set of alloys fitted, all by Renault. As standard, this car also came with electric windows and heated/electric mirrors.
The most noticeable feature that sets it apart from most cars I have previously owned, is the centre console display, which gives a digital readout of your speed, along with a computer showing mpg, average speed, fuel used, range and a few other bits of information. On the display it also tells you when your service is due, if any doors are open, and even if you have a flat tyre; handy I imagine for warning you before it gets dangerous.
It also has a start button and key card, which I'm getting used to now. It actually works better than I first thought. The key card operates the rear boot as well as all the doors remotely. It has an immobiliser as standard also.
Another nice feature is the RAID system (Renault anti-intrusion device), which locks all the doors as you set off, making the car difficult to carjack, again giving you a reassuring feeling as well as a nice touch.
Along with standard features, this car has airbags in places I never imagined; behind the rear passengers for starters. It's easy to see, when looking at the safety levels on this car, why it has been awarded an NCAP 5 star rating, and is one of the safest cars on the road.
It gives you a huge amount of confidence when using this car as a family vehicle with young children.
The seating positions are comfy, and the driver has the added bonus of being able to 'pump' the drivers seat to an even higher position than normal, which in this case is higher than average. It again gives a confident feeling when driving, because of the extra height and view it gives the driver. Vision is first class in this car, with good views all around. It handles very well, and soaks up bumpy surfaces, enhancing the already comfy ride.
The space this car has is immense; loads of leg room in the back, and likewise for both driver and passenger. In the rear, it has fold-down tables behind the front seats; great for long journeys and days out with the kids.
Storage space is excellent in this car, with compartments under the floor of driver, passenger and rear passengers. It has 2 trays underneath the driver and front passenger seats, and a huge glove compartment, that also benefits from air conditioning on my model; great for keeping the kid's drinks cool during warmer weather.
The seats in this car have loads of different combinations, to give a variety of positions if you wanted to use the car for other purposes.
The space in the rear hatch area is not huge, but is more than adequate for someone like me, that needs plenty of room for transporting dogs and family luggage.
Despite only being a 1.4i, my car performs better than expected. It boasts 98 bhp, and pulls you along nicely up to cruising speeds. One thing we noticed on the first day, was the silence from the engine. I imagined it would be screaming at me trying to get moving, but it's like driving a milk float!!! The sound (or lack of it) is fantastic, you can hardly hear the engine at all.
Overall, you can probably tell I'm impressed with my purchase. Despite already being a Renault owner, I said at the start I have no badge loyalty. However after only a short time of being an owner, I'm a little bit smitten with my Scenic.
Now I have the best of both worlds; a nice sensible family vehicle in the Scenic, which is my angel, and sitting on my shoulder in the form of my Devil, is my 182, which takes my breath away for other reasons.
Renault now produce some good cars. Don't believe everything you hear about them... I love both of mine, and as far as I'm concerned, Renault deserve a pat on the back for producing both the 182, and the fantastic family MPV in the form of the Scenic.
I hope my ramblings help one or two people in their decision as to buy or not. If you ask my advice, and wanted a car in this class, then I'd have to say without doubt it's the one to go for.
Fantastic car, great value for money.