Lotus wants a little more civility to its sports cars. Plus, of course, electricity
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A new Renault Scenic? It looks kind of fetching… ‘Seduction’ is a word used often by the new Renault Scenic’s design team. And sure, seduction – especially the successful sort – is the first step on the road to MPV ownership, though that’s not really the point they’re trying to make. What they’re actually talking about is the styling, which, seductive or not, you must admit is pretty striking for a people carrier. How have they done that? Much of it is down to the wheels, which are not 17s, 18s or even 19s, but whopping 20 inchers – the same size as you get on a Bentley Mulsanne.
They’re standard on even the most basic version, which is quite a talking point, but also a distraction from the Scenic’s number one job of looking after the family. Can it still do that? It’s 20 years since the first Scenic arrived, and despite the proliferation of crossovers and SUVs, it remains stubbornly an MPV. This is the five-seat version (there’s also a new seven-seat Grand Scenic), and as before the rear seats slide back and forth and fold completely flat. Now, though, they do so at the touch of an electric button, either a physical one in the boot, or a virtual one on the new portrait-style touchscreen. Is it roomy? The floor has been raised and the roof lowered, though the cabin accounts for 80 per cent of the car’s entire volume. There are storage wells in the floor, the sliding central armrest will hold a man-size handbag, and the slide-out glovebox is the size of a shopping basket. There are fold-down picnic tables for the kids, complete with a bungee string that twangs satisfyingly against the front seats. Good luck with that on long journeys, mums and dads. Does it drive OK? Amazingly the enormo-wheels don’t trash the ride, and except for some wind noise around the wing mirrors, it’s a fairly polished thing to drive. Go for the TCe 130 petrol or dCi 110 diesel with twin-clutch automatic gearbox, but don’t go overboard on options – the second-most basic trim, Dynamique Nav, has all you really need and costs around £21,500. If you splurge on anything, make sure it’s the Honey Yellow paint. I’m tempted. Should I? It could do with some bigger door bins and more nooks for storage (the Citroen C4 Picasso is a little better in that respect), but it has the biggest boot of all its competitors, and the best looks by far.