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Road Test: Renault Scenic Xmod 1.5 dCi Expression+ 5dr (2013-2014)

£19,890 when new
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It’s an old trick: ageing celebrity squeezes into new frock, adds a bit of plastic surgery and goes for one last pop at the limelight. As the world increasingly turns to SUVs and crossovers over the MPV class that the Scenic once created, so Renault responded with this, the new Xmod line.

Outside, we get beefed-up bumpers, raised ground clearance, new alloys and plenty of plastic to give that desirable SUV look. Under the bonnet, the Xmod remains resolutely 2WD, but sports a new Grip Xtend traction control system. Three settings - Expert, Loose Ground and Road - play with the braking and torque to allow more slow-speed ability on tricky surfaces. A neat idea that works fine, but never rivals the off-road ability of, say, the Skoda Yeti.

In terms of engine range and interior, the Xmod remains a Scenic, which is no bad thing: spacious, well-specced and a pleasant if unexciting drive, with the 1.5 and 1.6 diesels still near the top of their class.

But there are plenty of new kids in town these days: the interior is outclassed by the new Citroen C4 Picasso, and the Ford C-Max’s sliding doors are more useful to a family than a pseudo-SUV frock. And if you want a real 4x4, you’ve got the Yeti, or even the Scenic’s stablemate - the more spartan Dacia Duster, with the same 1.5 - for considerably less.

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