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Happy taking the Scenic route home

IT'S a known fact that the MPV was invented when a car dull Bavarian auto designer walked by a mini-skip which contained a number of discarded chairs.

Our inspirationally starved boffin then proceeded to build the squarest, dullest, concept car in history and so began the people carrier's bizarre ride to fame.

Over the years, and despite many variations, the MPV is still the dullest car on the road.

You can put as many Yummy Mummies behind the wheel, and you can stick as many cute babies on board, and it makes no difference ... . I hate the MPV, with a passion.

There was one variation over the years that put 'people carrier' and 'sexy' in the same bracket and that was the delicious R-Class.

The only problem with the Mercedes supercar? ... It costs almost e100k.

Can you begin to imagine just how bad baby puke smells from the carpet of a car that costs you four times more than the average mini-MPV?

Well, a far more practical people carrier, and one that has done its bit in removing the boring baggage from MPVs in recent years is the Renault Scenic.

It comes in 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre dCi diesels, with the later particularly impressive, as you would expect from the much improved Renault badge.

The sense of smoothness and decent acceleration adds to the overall safety concept of the Renault Scenic.

The gears are a very easy moving affair, which helps in a fluid and punchy take off, and the dash mounted gearbox adds to the experience.

I have seen and heard criticism about the braking, but my experience demonstrated nothing out of the ordinary.

In fact, never once did I or my cargo feel unsafe onboard.

A most notable feature of the Scenic is just how light it is on the road, which adds to easiness and pace.

Apart form its punchy performance a big plus for the Scenic is how aesthetically pleasing it is - don't forget this is still an MPV. The overall profile of the car is less boxy than the previous and it is quite sleek, in a strange kind of way.

The revised grille still looks great, headlights, LED tail lights and general air of confidence combine to go give the Scenic a superb overall look, gelling elegance and attitude ... can this really be an MPV?

The Scenic will compete with the Ford C-Max, C4 Picasso and Seat Altea XL, and there is little to suggest that it won't cope with such illustrious competition.

What all these cars demonstrate is just how quality driven this now extremely competitive sector has become.

It is now more than 10 years since the launch of the Scenic and there is no reason why this car won't be around for another 10 years.

Prices for the Scenic starts at e21,890 - e27,980, without scrappage discounts.