Renault take the Scenic route with new XMOD
THIS is a whole different take on the Scenic thousands of families have come to know.
Yes, the XMOD version is still a people carrier, but it is also all decked out as a crossover and the first thing you'd have to say it is looks 'different'.
It is not all muscle and attitude but somehow is sturdier and bulkier looking.
That is probably because it has more ground clearance, special front and rear bumpers, sill guards and roof bars with chrome finish.
Thankfully inside they have kept the three individual rear seats – and we were thankful for that going down to deepest Westmeath for Body & Soul.
By the way, the sound system (Bose) came in for serious praise from four young twenty-somethings as we rolled on into the midlands to the sounds of Alicia Keys, Usher, Solange Knowles and even one or two songs I recognised.
This has a great driving position – what a huge windscreen for visibility – and we were all comfortable and chilled out.
But there was a distinct lack of cupholders and places to put stuff. Sure the door bins and a small enough larder under the elbow were fine but this is still a people carrier and families need to stash things. I mention this because Renault say there is 71 litres of additional stowage space spread around the cabin. It may be, but we were looking for cupholders.
The 1.5-litre diesel (110bhp) in my test car covered a lot of ground in a relatively short space of time but still had half a tank (60 litres in total) left. This particular engine has a claimed fuel consumption of 4.1 litres/100km and emissions of 105g/km (€190 road tax). It's well tried and tested at this stage, and had plenty of pulling power. Frugal too in real life, it has to be said.
The rear tailgate opens on to a big boot (now up to 555 litres) and you can fold/remove one or all the rear seats for more space. Nifty, as they said while we left Trim in our wake.
That rear tailgate was not all that easy to push all the way up, by the way. We found it quite heavy.
Other than those few complaints this did what Scenics have been doing for years. Getting on with carrying people around with minimum fuss.
And so why would you bother buying an XMOD version?
Simple. Crossovers are 'trending' big time these days. A lot of people want their cars to be 'different' – which is an awful cliche but nonetheless true for that. Why do you think Renault moved so quickly to dress this up as one? For that matter why do you think so many of their rivals are doing the same thing in so many different ways?
Is there a price premium?
Ex-works prices start at €26,090 for the 1.2-litre petrol. But the relevant one is €27,490 for the 110bhp diesel version, with the Bose one I had at €29,390. By comparison the 'basic' Scenic starts at €24,490 – but that is for the 1.5-litre 90bhp version. A truer comparison is the 1.5dCi, 110bhp, Dynamique which costs €28,290. So there isn't a lot of money between them whichever way you look at it.
And it is – well – different.