Cars I have driven #14 – 2001 Renault Scenic

29 Feb

J66It was five years ago that I wrote here about maybe buying a light van. Over time I kept looking, but I couldn’t find the right one on the occasions that suitable surplus funds were available.Then in the spring of 2012 I had some cash in the bank and started to look for something as a back up to the S Type Jaguar that I was then running. The lady of the house was not keen on an old van being parked on the drive and so the option to go for a small MPV instead seemed like a compromise. I fancied a Citroen Picasso, but the two that I tried put me off and then I came across the Scenic that I ended up buying. It was the Priviledge Plus DCI RX4 version with the twin sun roof option and was loaded with extras.

It had another possible advantage in being the all wheel drive variant and I used it extensively in the first couple of weeks after I bought it in the June of that year. Unfortunately that was the point at which a rogue bunch of bacteria set up camp in my liver and I was out of action for a lengthy spell in hospital.

Once back in the land of the living the Jaguar was sold in the January of 2013 and the Scenic became my main mode of transport. It was a very good workhorse and proved to be a good van substitute when I began to develop my transport collectables business, the back seats being removable to provide a good load space for attending fairs and shows.

I ran the Scenic for around three and a half years in all, but with just over 130,000 on the clock she was starting to give me the feeling that one or two big bills were in the offing and so last month we parted company when I replaced it with a similarly sized Nissan. My Scenic had the 1.9 litre diesel engine and turned in just under 40 miles to the gallon over the time that I had her. I did have one big bill for new discs all round and another for some rear suspension bushes. She did let me down a couple of times, going into limp mode on the M25 near Reigate once when she blew out a lot of coolant for no apparent reason and then later a failing battery caused another electrical problem. Both times my AA membership was a blessing.

Although most of my trips with the Scenic were short to mid distance, runnung from my Swindon base over to Gloucester, Reading and Newbury on a regular basis, I did go down to just over the Cornish border on one trip, past Swansea on another, once up to Blackburn, two or three runs down to Wareham and another two or three over to East Sussex. It was not a comfortable car on a long run for me at six foot three and around twenty stone and I didn’t entirely trust the feel of it on a winding road. The brakes felt very vague, especially compared to the Jaguar, and the Scenic didn’t give any confidence at speed on a fast road. The latter was no real problem as I was usually happy enough cruising at around seventy on the clock, but acceleration was desperately slow. It was quite a noisy car too, not just engine noise, it resonated road noise and that added to the fatigue on a long run so the lack of driver comfort could be a blessing in keeping me alert.

The Scenic did me a good turn over the years that I owned it and it did what I needed it to. Can’t say fairer than that.

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