Renault Scenic RXI 2.0 (1999)
Renault Scenic RXI 2.0
The Renault Scénic is a compact MPV built by the French manufacturer Renault, the first of its kind in Europe. It is based of the chassis of the small family car Mégane It became European Car of the Year on its launch in late 1996.
Underneath, the Scénic was mechanically identical to the Mégane hatchback (itself based on the older R19). The 1.4 L, 1.6 L "Energy", 1.8 L "F-type" petrol and 1.9 L diesel engines were shared with the hatchback range. The Scénic was aimed at those who wanted all the practicality of an MPV, but could not accommodate the larger size and higher price of the likes of Renault's own Espace. Renault underestimated the sales impact that the Scénic would have - originally predicting that it would be a niche model with only 450 produced a day, production at the company's Douai plant would eventually peak at nearly 2500 cars a day just to cope with demand. With the Scénic, Renault had created a whole new market segment - the compact MPV, and the concept was quickly imitated by other manufacturers.
Phase 2 (1999)
Along with the Mégane hatchback, the Scénic underwent a minor frontal restyle in 1999 and the newer 16-valve engines introduced. From the time of this restyle, it became officially known as the Renault Scénic, although a small 'Mégane' badge still appeared on the rear door signifying the car's origin. This model is still built in Brazil with flexible fuel engines.
Renault developed a 4WD derivative of the original Scénic, the Scénic 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 redesigned rear suspension occupied the space required for the spare wheel well and led to the spare wheel being placed on the rear hatch. 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, and no replacement is expected.
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