Renaul it just the job for a grand day out!
Engine: 1.9-litre diesel
Power: 130 bhp
Top speed: 121mph
Combined mpg: 50.4mpg
OTR price: £20,745
SHOULD have packed my tin hat for my first ever visit to the Wartime Weekend at pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors.
What a fantastic experience it was. Forgive me if you’ve already been, but for those who haven’t, go next year – you’re in for a treat.
Every October, the town recaptures the spirit of the Second World War, when locals and visitors dress up in 1940s clothes, deck the streets and buildings with sandbags, taped-up windows and re-enact the Bulldog spirit with sights and sounds of the time.
Steam trains pull into the historic station, packed with servicemen in uniform, Land Army girls, nurses and civvies as a 1940s radio star croons Glenn Miller¬type melodies. There were lots of period cars there too, particularly military vehicles and lots of classic veteran cars.
I parked my 2009 road test Renault Grand Scenic next to an Austin 8 and was impressed by the quality of the restoration, since it was probably about 60 years old.
But on to the Renault. Next to the baby Austin it looked like a spacecraft.
The quality of materials and fit and finish of the Grand Scenic give the impression of sturdiness, and look as if they will survive the stresses of modern-day family motoring.
To get to Pickering we had to travel from Thirsk on the A170 up the very steep incline of Sutton Bank, which is so precipitous that it is forbidden to caravanners.
With four people on board, the Grand Scenic sailed up it comfortably in third gear, though second gear engine braking was needed for the return descent.
On the move, there were no creaks or rattles at all. It’s sleek and roomy, with seven seats, up to 40 storage spaces, a high driving position, comfy seats, and good visibility all round. It corners well, cruises on the motorway without too much noise and there’s plenty of room inside.
Its party piece is the way the third row of two seats can be plucked out of the boot floor in one movement, simply by pulling on a strap.
We took the opportunity to have a picnic lunch and folded the middle row down to form a table. Not quite 1940s rations, but enjoyable all the same.
These seats were OK in these circumstances, but with all seats in place they would be suitable only for children.
For versatile luggage carrying you can fold them flat, push the second row forWard, fold them up against the front seats, or even remove the middle row altogether for a flat floor that will accommodate items up to 2.5metres long.
Buyers have a choice of seven engines. On the petrol front there’s a 1.6-litre 1l0bhp with variable valve timing, a new lA and a 2.0-litre 140bhp with a CVT. Or you can choose a diesel- from a 106bhp 1.5, a 130bhp 1.9, a 150bhp 2.0-litre with auto and the 2.0-litre 160bhp.
We had the 1.9 dCi 130, which is capable of 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds, with a top speed of 121mph and 50Ampg.
The diesel was extremely quiet and apart from a rather rubbery feel of the steering, the only problem I had was getting used to the audio controls, duplicated behind the steering wheel, and separate controls for the satnav, which were on the sliding storage box down by the driver’s left thigh rather than in the line of forward vision.
The Grand Scenic is one of the safest vehicles you could buy, with six airbags and full five-star NCAP safety rating. There’s also energy absorbing headrests, Isofix child-seat fittings.
There are four trim levels: Extreme, Expression, Dynamique and Privilege.
The Dynamique version tested had cruise control, hands-free keycard, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers and multi-functional MP3 connectivity; satnav is a £450 extra.
All very Buck Rogers for a trip down memory lane. All the same, I think I’ll go back next year. Wonder if I can borrow a wartime Jeep for the occasion?