Motoring for Women
Seven seats for seventh heaven - Jackie Violet road tests the new Grand Scenic 7-seater!
With all thoughts turning towards the festive season, shopping is high on the agenda. If you mums and dads have the same never ending list of Christmas wishes my daughter has just presented to me, then the shopping is only half the battle. The other half is where to hide these goodies until the famous day – or in my daughter's case a week earlier, that being her birthday. Great planning I will admit.
So I have come up with a cunning plan - more cunning than a fox’s tail - of where to hide the prezzies. In the car! Ah, I hear you cry, it's full of the childrens toys from last Christmas. Well time for a good sort out for starters then you may discover you have more storage places than you think.
However, if you add the new Renault Grand Scenic to your own personal wish list, then you will be spoilt for choice as to where you hide these precious parcels.
This is the second generation of Renault's seven seater Grand Scenic that sees more interior space, more school gate street cred style, lots more toys of the adult variety and more gump under the bonnet in case the dads decide to do their own Christmas shopping.
Seven engines including a 1.5 diesel that has the lowest CO2 emissions of any seven seaters MPV at 135g/km mated to five trims are on offer. Two of those are specials - the TomTom Edition and the I-Music Edition. Prices start from just £15,795 for the entry 1.6 litre petrol on Extreme rising to £24,245 for the all singing and dancing Automatic on the Privilege trim. I went very middle of the road and opted for the 2.0 litre diesel 160 on dynamic trim - a snip at £22,405.
The most noticeable thing about the new Grand Scenic is despite its longer, taller and wider dimensions meaning more interior space, the car did not appear to be as enormous as one would think it would. It may have gained middle age spread but the facelift has helped to transform this vehicle. The large glass windows flood the cabin with lots of light and force the children to look out of the window thus keeping them occupied. Sleek new lines, alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers, door handles and door mirrors that are electrically adjustable and heated plus new funky light clusters proves that MPV’s do not have to look boring anymore.
Inside is a host of equipment keeping mum and dad in the luxury they deserve. Height adjustable leather steering wheel and drivers seat with lumber support, electric windows with sun blinds on the second row plus air conditioning will take away some of the strain. As for the stresses, well there is a digital central display with multi functional trip computer and warning system, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control with speed limiter, fog lights, automatic parking brake, auto activation of the rear wiper when reverse gear is selected, Renault hands free key card and that all important radio CD player with MP3 connectivity.
Drivewise the new Grand Scenic is a dream with power assisted steering guiding you effortlessly into the parking bays time after time. The 2.0 litre diesel engine mated to a six speed manual gearbox is quite punchy taking just 9.2 seconds to reach 62 mph and comes with a reputed top speed of 127 mph. Running costs are kept low thanks to great fuel consumption of 42.8 mpg on a combined cycle and low CO2 emissions of 173g/km thus falls into VED band H.
Of course being a Renault the new Grand Scenic is a very safe place to be for all seven occupants. ABS with EBD and ESP should keep the car on track but occupant protection is ensured with driver and front passenger two stage auto adaptive airbags, front and rear curtain airbags and front lateral airbags. The front passenger airbag can be switched off. All seven seats had seven three point seatbelts and height adjustable headrests while the front passengers have seatbelt pretensioners as well. ISOFIX mountings points are on the second row seats.
The true gem of this new Grand Scenic is its ability to be a first class family car and that means lashings of storage solutions; .83 litres of space to be precise are dotted around the cabin. There are four underfloor compartments, two in the front, two in the second row plus a 4.5 litre drawer beneath the driver and passenger seats perfect for the handbag.
The glovebox is chilled and illuminated with an 11-litre capacity and all the doors have pockets. There is an open centre console cubby for small items such as mobile phones, a double sliding centre console comprising of an armrest and console with independent slide functions, nine litres of space in two sections, space beneath the armrest for small items like pens and a main bin for larger objects. There are six pockets on the front seatbacks; two small pockets for games consoles and a larger map pocket beneath the picnic flip up trays.
Then there is storage spaces beneath the armrest of both third row seats along with bag hooks at the rear of the sliding centre console and in the boot. Three 12v power sockets and a pretty adaptable boot that can take 702 litres of Christmas presents complete this marathon of storage solutions.
The new Grand Scenic is a lovely practical family car but if you cannot afford one this side of Christmas it may be worth simply hiring one of these just for hiding all the Christmas surprises.
On that note, may I wish everyone a very happy stress free Christmas!
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Jackie Violet, motoring journalist, mother of two and qualified driving instructor reviews cars and outlines issues relevant to working mums and motoring such as safety, entertainment and most of all, comfort!
HANG ON TO YOUR HANDBAGS, LADIES.
I remember my dad teasing my Gran relentlessly over the fact she never went anywhere without her handbag. The problem was this included trips to the toilet as well as the shops so you can see his bemusement, I suppose.
Yet we have to admit it ladies, it is a rare occasion we go anywhere without our precious totes. Memories of the dance floor come flooding back when even then we could not be parted from our beloved fake Chanel quilted bags with gold-link chains. Rather than leave them sitting all alone and forlorn on a chair, we chucked them into the middle of the dance floor and then proceeded to dance around them!
No wonder the boys stayed on their side of the disco hall.
Yet isn’t it strange that the bigger the handbag, the more we find to fill it to the brim with?
Of course the office party is a nightmare, for we do not want to ruin our image by pairing a sack with our new sleek cocktail dress bought specifically to create lockjaw to our colleagues. Hours then are spent, not to get ready, but to prioritise what essential items go into the miniscule sequinned clutch bag that complements the dress beautifully.
Our handbags are an appendage from which we are never to be parted.
So I was quite surprised to hear that more than 400,000 women in the UK have had their handbags stolen from their car in the past 12 months, according to research by women’s car insurance specialist Diamond. More astonishing is the fact that the total value of those handbags is around £178 million. The research also revealed the average cost of a woman's handbag and its contents is £431.68, and that does not include the cost of replacing car and house keys.
What it does include are our ‘cannot go anywhere without’ items such as purse, credit cards, mobile phone, make-up, umbrella, sunglasses, pen etc.
So, ladies, with the run to up to Christmas firmly stamped on our brain by our delightful children, never leave your handbag on display in the car even for a few minutes, say, at the petrol station. If you are to be parted, lock all doors, windows, plus sunroof, and never leave your keys in the ignition.
If you think hiding your handbag under the passenger seat will fox the thieves like I did, think again. It’s the first place they look if they notice a car is not locked.
The only safe place if you insist on leaving your handbag, is in your car’s boot, which you have locked.
That way no one can bag your loot. Have a very Happy Christmas!