Formerly king of compact minivans, a niche that he largely helped to popularize, the Renault Scenic recently forced into retirement will have no immediate descendant, and not quite in the same form. The Scenic Vision concept, prefiguring a fifth generation of the Diamond minivan, is scheduled for 2024 and plans to make a clean sweep of the past. At all levels, starting with style. Much more of Scenic, one would say, but it was probably necessary.
Here is one of the stages of the “Renaulution” announced by Luca De Meo, current boss of Renault, when he arrived at the head of the French group. Less spectacular than resurrection of the R5 and 4L as electrified neo-retro avatars, talking about the revival of the Scenic inevitably makes the public and those nostalgic for Renault’s brilliance of yesteryear vibrate less. It may be a little early to see the first compact MPV become a rolling legend… Not tomorrow the day before, or even 2024, the date announced for the replacement of the fourth generation Scenic, withdrawn from service in early May. It’s not really a secret: the minivan is often seen as the vehicle of renunciation, however pragmatic and clever it may be. Pushed out in favor of all-all-SUVs, more enticing and enticing. Let it be said, the future Scenic, 5th of the name, will have nothing to do with its predecessors. Not even the architecture, nor the monospace genes, at least in its contours.
In the form of the Scenic Vision concept, we discover a strange crossover profile, muscular, similar to a high-pitched bodybuilder compact. Like a Megane E-Tech which would have pushed hard on the cast iron, the wings are marked, very wide. But the monospace architecture has indeed disappeared, in favor of a silhouette in two volumes. This transformed future Scenic, in principle 90% similar to what we have in front of us (according to the manufacturer’s announcements, and disregarding the style effects confined to a living room prototype) will still have something in common with its predecessors: it will share the platform of the compact from which it derives, and will therefore inherit the technical basis of the recently launched electric Mégane. The dimensions here are significantly larger. 4.49 m long (for 1.90 m wide and 1.59 m high), i.e. 28 cm longer than the Mégane E-Tech. Obviously, it will probably be necessary to forget the opening of the antagonistic doors, the compressed carbon body inserts and other expensive fantasies. Ditto for the original 21-inch wheels with movable fins, supposed to close above 10 km / h and deploy at high speed braking, for cooling.
On board: a taste of 2028
If the outer envelope is relatively close to what we will find on our roads, the cabin organized in a real cockpit for four does not announce anything concrete. Apart from the increasingly large share of recycled (70%) and recyclable (95%) materials that compose it, the rather refined layout, articulated around several “widget” type screens (10) remains whimsical.
More concretely, we should find a design similar to that of the Megane E-Tech, embellished with the developments that will arrive by 2024. Nothing precise to date therefore, even if we can logically foresee an improved modularity compared to that above (a sliding bench for example, a flat floor, etc.) and a rather large space. One of the advantages offered by electric technical platforms, due to the imposing wheelbase required by the batteries.
Exclusively electric, and a share of hydrogen thereafter?
Like the Mégane, the next generation of Scenic will only exist in 100% electric. Remember that the Mégane E-Tech and thermal coexist for a few more years, the time of the retirement of the latter. The calculation, certainly debatable (another debate), enters right into the hunt for CO2 at any price (and without consideration of the long-term impact of these purely political choices). In the current state of Renault’s strategy, it will therefore be necessary to consider that the Scenic will share the same technical basis, with a few nuances, as the Megane E-Tech. There would therefore be two levels of battery capacity (40 or 60 kWh), as well as a 220 hp electric motor.
On the other hand, the concept announces a novelty with a step in the direction of hydrogen. An approach that may seem out of time: it is now accepted that this technology is neither economically nor industrially viable, in the context of large-scale use applied to private vehicles (at best confined, for example, to a industrial use, or public transport, etc.).
On the Scenic, however, Renault is considering a fuel cell as a range extender. In principle, the system advances a range of around 800 km and overcomes the main obstacle of all-electric : autonomy and long-distance recharging (5 min for a full tank of hydrogen, as at any service station. One of the advantages of a system of this type, combining conventional electricity and hydrogen, is to reduce the role occupied by the batteries: this type of hybridization would then make it possible to be satisfied with a battery of relatively modest capacity (that of 40 kWh would then be sufficient to ensure reasonable versatility).
Obviously, any notion of hydrogen production, supply and infrastructure development very quickly comes to qualify the beautiful idea. Still, for once, some may look at a Scenic not because it’s practical and pragmatic… but simply for its look and charisma. It was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to him to save the species: to get rid of his minivan trappings.