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Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic 1.6 DCI 130 Expression

Driven December 2010

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Numbers first. Fifteen years ago a Renault Laguna diesel had a 115bhp 2.2-litre diesel that did 39.2mpg. Next year Renault introduces an all-new 130bhp 1.6 that will give, in a car of the same size and weight (today's Scenic) about 65mpg. And 115g/km of CO2 will be fine for your taxes.

Numbers are all very well, but does it feel like a dreary economy special? Hardly. It will be one of the most powerful 1.6 diesels out there, good enough to haul a biggish car to 60mph in about nine seconds. Sorry, none of these figures are exact yet because it hasn't been sent to the officials.

It's a really nice little engine to use: torque spread over a wide range, an ability to rev to a high-for-a-diesel 5,000rpm if you need to finish your overtake before changing up. There's barely any turbo lag, and not much either in the way of rattle and shake. Beyond that, not much to say. It just works.

As it's just a 1.6, the car doesn't feel nose-heavy. And because it's physically small it fits a huge range of Renaults and Nissans. And because Mercedes and Renault have just got into bed, we hear it's likely for the next-gen A-Class too. Which would be good, because Benz's current small diesel is a donkey.

Paul Horrell

On your drive for: £499pcm
Performance: 0-62mph in 9.2secs, max speed 121mph, 64.0mpg
Tech: 1600cc, 4cyl, FWD, 130bhp, 220lb ft, 1400kg, 115g/km CO2

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