When Renault’s latest Grand Scenic was launched, it added lots of new features and included more space for occupants, but the latest model to join our fleet has had something taken away – the clutch.
Our Grand Scenic Dynamique TomTom dCi 110 EDC auto is among the first in the Renault stable to come with a six-speed gearbox where changes are automated thanks to a new dual-clutch system.
This offers the convenience of an automatic, but without the traditional loss of fuel economy.
Mated to the 110bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine, our Grand Scenic promises 60.1mpg and 124g/km, although initial mpg figures suggest that’s an ambitious figure.
The Grand Scenic dispenses with a clutch pedal and offers a familiar P-R-N-D automatic shift arrangement, plus an up/down selectable shift mode on the gearstick.
You don’t get the steering wheel paddles offered by some manufacturers though.
In automatic mode, all the gear changing is done for you, including changing down while braking.
The dual-clutch means that when one gear is engaged, the next is automatically pre-selected.
The gearshift takes place by switching from one clutch to the other much faster than you could do it manually.
Performance is smooth and free of jarring thanks to the inclusion of ‘creep’ control, so the vehicle pulls away gradually as the brake pedal is released.
The system also incorporates a hill-start assist function, which together with the creep control function, prevents risk of the vehicle slipping backwards in most cases.
The Grand Scenic looks like a large car for the 1.5-litre engine to haul, especially when it’s full of passengers, but it doesn’t feel weighed down.
It is quick around town and happily reaches cruising speed on the motorway.
But as the 0-62mph time of more than 13 seconds suggests, it isn’t built for racing starts.