Renault Scenic III, the last samurai. Renault Scenic III, was the best attendee at a party where it was just him alone. Why it’s worth buying a Scenic III, find out in today’s article.
The 2010s were a troubled year for the car industry in terms of reliability. Euro 5 was being switched to, diesel engines were starting to be gagged, the first turbocharged petrols were appearing, automatic gearboxes were starting to be better than running on broken glass at night because it’s late, you’ve had too much to drink and you’re rushing home.
Why was the Renault Scenic III the only Mohican at the party?
If you watch the competition, it’s easy to see why. The VW Touran had remained the same since 1854, Ford was going through a period of mechanical issues, the Opel Zafira was Opel and the rest of the car industry was moving towards crossovers. Just as we discussed in the Mondeo V article if the classic saloon segment is already on its last legs, what can we say about the mini MPV segment other than “God help us”?
And then came the Renault Scenic III, which was built on the Megane III platform. Unlike the previous generation, the group-specific issues have been solved so we’re left with only the Scenic-specific problems. Which makes it one of the best mini MPVs at the moment, if you’re really looking for one. And rightly so, a crossover does a better job than a small class MPV, its only favorable argument being its low purchase and maintenance costs. But otherwise, why would you buy one? At least Renault has come up with a clockwork of options and engines, so you can at least say you have a choice. It really was an engine available for anyone and every need, even those with a bizarre fetish for spending intense times at the service station and bank, taking out loans to afford repairs.
Renault Scenic III engines
- 1.2 TCe 115 and 132 horsepower – The base engine went through a monster scandal in 2019 in which Nissan blamed Renault for giving them engines as good as malaria. However, the truth is somewhere in the middle (Nissan changed the electronics of the engines they received from Renault) so Beck’s. You decide. The problem in question is excessive oil consumption and engine life, but Renault hasn’t had too many cases of that. Still, a little care doesn’t hurt.
- 1.6 16v of 110 horsepower – The classic 1.6 MPI engine does its job decently and without much fuss. Like any naturally aspirated petrol, expect an appetite for coil packs and somewhere late in life, it takes to drinking oil.
- 2.0 16v VQ20 of 140 horsepower – That’s the engine you want. Even if your mind and bank account says otherwise, the Nissan-sourced VQ20 engine is part of the same family as the VQ35 in the Nissan 350Z. An excellent engine in terms of performance and reliability, marred only by high oil consumption after many, many sport-driven miles.
- 1.5 dci of 85, 105 110 horsepower – The same 1.5 dCi K9K that the Renault-Nissan-Mercedes group has accustomed us to. Mounted on everything from Logan to B Class, this engine needs a timing belt change every 4 years or 50,000 km. Also, versions under 90 horsepower have Delphi injectors, made in Romania between two sips of Unirea and a glass of Babanu, and versions up to 2011 are susceptible to diesel of questionable quality and consequently contaminated with soot deposits, the first victim usually being the high-pressure pump.
- 1.6 dCi of 130 horsepower – Borrowed from Nissan because they needed a reliable engine, this 1.6 dCi really is an engine free of notable issues, the only one being the rare premature timing chain tensioner wear. 1.6 dCi – the official potato soup engine. Good, but bland.
- 1.9 dci of 130 horsepower – Urban legends say that this engine would blow the buns out spectacularly, straight down the exhaust pipe. However, in the case of the Renault Scenic III this mono-dramatic outcome is more myth than reality.
- 2.0 dCi of 150 and 165 horsepower – Another “borrowed” engine from Nissan, this mammoth only needs the timing chain inspected every 40,000 km. Used extensively in the Renault Koleos or Nissan Xtrail, this engine is related to the agricultural diesels in the Nissan family. Still, I find it hard to believe that people would trample over themselves for a Renault Scenic III 2.0 dCi.
Renault Scenic III General Issues
- As with the previous generation and as with the Passat B6, the electronic parking brake has a habit of locking up or breaking down. In true French style, when it comes to work, the engine comes out in protest.
- The EDC automatic gearbox remains a questionable subject in the Renault family, so it’s best to avoid it and go manual to make sure your mechanic won’t greet you wearing a Gucci jacket and answering using a Vertu phone.
- Like the Chucky doll, you’d think you’d have escaped the electrical problems that made the previous generation famous for quality as questionable as the sexuality of the people who built it. Bygones are bygones. But will they come back?
Renault Scenic III Verdict
A car that has little competition in this segment. While everyone else is migrating to crossovers, the Renault Scenic III still remains a small class MPV and still remains an excellent car for the die-hard family car enthusiast who wants something bigger than a saloon, something better looking than a station wagon and something that looks like a car, not a van with windows.
A middle-of-the-road car in terms of reliability, it’s a pretty safe choice for the family man who has his wife’s budget very clearly mapped out. It’s uglier than a C Max, but it’s more reliable. It’s about as reliable as a Touran, but the Touran was already an Betty White by that time. So stick with the Renault Scenic III, a decent alternative. Not great, decent.
What engines do you recommend? For petrol, I still recommend the classic 110hp 1.6 MPI, and for diesel anyway, everyone bought the 1.5 dCi so there’s no point in recommending anymore. Be careful instead to have more than 90 hp.
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