Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Renault Mégane Scénic was the first European car of its kind: a five-seater based on the chassis of a compact hatchback (in this case the Mégane which had been launched a year earlier) but with a high roof to give it the appearance and practicality of an MPV. It also had removable seats. It became European Car of the Year on its launch in late 1996.
Underneath, the Scénic was very much the same as the Mégane hatchback. The 1.4 L, 1.6 L and 1.8 L petrol and 1.9 L diesel engines were shared with the hatchback range. The only real downside to the Scénic range was the interior switchgear which had a downmarket feel.
Along with the Mégane hatchback, the Scénic underwent a restyle in 1999 but the mechanicals remained unchanged and the interior still used many cheap plastics. From the time of this restyle, the 'Mégane' badge disappeared and the cars were officially known as the Renault Scénic.
Renault also developed a 4WD derivative of the the original Scénic, the RX4. Featuring an electronically controlled viscous centre differential designed by Austrian specialists Steyr Daimler Puch , it offered part-time, on demand 4WD. Renault also fully re-engineered the rear suspension and strengthened the front. The RX4 rode higher with increased suspension travel and larger wheels. While these changes provided a rugged chassis, the RX4 was held back by a single range transmission and an engine, the 2.0 litre from the Mégane, with limited low end torque.
Production of the RX4 ceased in 2003 with the introduction of a new model. A 4WD version of this model is not currently proposed.
By 2004, there were alternatives on the market like the Citroen Picasso , GM Opel/Vauxhall Zafira, Peugeot 206 SW, Hyundai Matrix and Daewoo Tacuma . So an all-new Scénic (again based on the Megane hatchback) was launched. There is also a seven-seater Grand Scénic.
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