Renault Scenic E-Tech review

Renault Scenic E-Tech

We get behind the wheel of the all-new, all-electric Renault Scenic E-Tech…

The Renault Scenic has been re-invented for 2024. It’s goodbye to the worthy MPV and hello to a chic zero emissions family crossover – the 2024 European Car of the Year, no less.

Based on kerb appeal alone, the new Renault Scenic E-Tech is more than a match for its many rivals which include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Tesla Model Y, Nissan Ariya, Skoda Enyaq and Peugeot E-3008.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

Priced from a very competitive £37,495, Renault is offering the Megane E-Tech’s big brother with two battery options, two power outputs and a choice of three trim levels (entry-level Techno, sporty Esprit Alpine and even better equipped Iconic).

With hints of hatchback and SUV, it’s certainly stylish. The front end is particularly striking with the latest Renault logo set within diamonds which merge into the LED headlights.

Other goodies, such as flush door handles and big 19-inch or 20-inch alloy wheels, help to make this a statement car.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

There’s a wow factor inside too with a 12.3-inch driver display and a portrait-orientated 12.0-inch centre infotainment touchscreen which uses Google’s slick tech.

The spacious, classy interior features plenty of storage areas, plus a 545-litre boot, which expands to an impressive 1,670 litres with the rear seats folded.

A special mention for the rear central armrest which houses cup holders that also double up as smartphone or tablet holders, plus two USB-C ports.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

There’s also a clever ‘Solarbay’ glass roof on top spec models. It is, in effect, a cutting-edge sunblind, switching from clear to opaque at the touch of a button – and doesn’t eat into headroom either.

Build quality is right up there with the best of its rivals. The animal-friendly leather-like seats and most of the surfaces have a plush feel, and it’s only when you feel around lower down that cheaper, scratchy plastics can be found.

The Scenic E-Tech scores big when it comes to sustainability too. Renault claims that 24% of the materials used are recycled, and 90% of its mass – including the battery – is recyclable.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

Standard equipment includes a frameless electro-chromatic rear-view mirror (it can switch to a rear-view screen), heated front seats and steering wheel, paddle shifters for regenerative braking, automatic wipers and a rear-view camera.

Driver assistance and safety kit includes adaptive cruise control, traffic and speed sign recognition, driver attention alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, and blind spot warning.

The new Renault Scenic E-Tech is available with two sizes of battery and it’s front-wheel only. The standard range model has a 60kWh battery paired with a 168bhp electric motor, delivering a claimed range of more than 260 miles and a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

The larger 87kWh battery and more powerful 217bhp electric motor has a range of 379 miles, while the 0-62mph sprint takes 7.9 seconds.

Rapid charging is good, but not outstanding (up to 150kW for the larger battery and 130kW for the basic one), so a 20-80% boost should take around 30 minutes. On the plus side, the Scenic E-Tech does come with a heat pump as standard (a feature which is often an optional extra) which aids recharging, especially in cooler temperatures.

Our test car was a top-of-the-range Scenic E-Tech in Iconic trim, featuring the larger 87kWh battery pack.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

The driving position is on the high side for me, but it does offer a commanding view of the road ahead, plus there’s plenty of adjustment for the steering wheel and seat. Rear visibility isn’t so hot thanks to large C pillars and the slim tailgate window.

That said, the Scenic E-Tech is blessed with light steering, a tight turning circle and lots of parking aids, making it easy to manoeuvre and drive in town.

With instant torque, it’s quick off the mark too, but not blisteringly so like some other EVs.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

The ride is comfortable for the most part, only becoming unsettled on poorer surfaces, while the cabin is refined, making it a smooth cruiser.

It’s fair to say that it looks more athletic than it is, so while it’s not a dull drive, it’s not particularly dynamic either. Even so, it manages to stay reasonably flat in more challenging corners and there’s good grip.

Sadly, like many EVs, the brakes are spongy, so there’s a lot of dead travel before they bite, making it hard to slow down smoothly.

Renault Scenic E-Tech

The ‘Multi Sense’ driving modes (Personal, Comfort, Eco and Sport) alter the steering weight, throttle response and interior ambient lighting, but – as ever – you’ll find yourself staying in Eco or Comfort, for the best all-round experience and efficiency.

We’d need to spend at least a week with the car to give a proper estimate of real-world range, but we’d guess it’s an impressive 310-330 miles in the 87kWh and the right side of 200 miles in the entry-level model.

Verdict: Stylish, safe, spacious, easy to drive and well equipped as standard, the all-new Renault Scenic E-Tech is keenly priced and one of the best family EVs on the market.

Renault UK

Peugeot E-3008 review

Peugeot E-3008

We road test the pure electric version of the next-generation Peugeot 3008…

The Peugeot 3008 is a great example of how the automotive industry has evolved since 2007.

Back then it was a dumpy looking MPV, but all that changed in 2016. In one fell swoop, Peugeot’s designers re-invented the 3008 so that it became one of the most stylish and distinctive mid-sized SUVs on the market.

Crowned 2017 European Car of the Year, at launch it was available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, though mild hybrids and a plug-in hybrid followed.

So, that’s SUVs in, diesels out.

Peugeot E-3008

The 2024 third generation Peugeot 3008 is greener still, and is first model to use parent group Stellantis’ new STLA Medium electric powertrain. Ultimately, there will be mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions.

It’s on-trend too because it’s marketed as an “electric fastback SUV”, which means it has a sporty, sloping roof.

The first model in the 3008 line-up is the 100% electric E-3008. It will come with two sizes of battery (73kWh or 98kWh batteries), but initially only the former with a claimed 326-mile range will be available.

We’ll have to wait until 2025 for the 98kWh Long Range with an impressive 422 miles on a single charge, and the Dual Motor all-wheel drive (73kWh, 326 miles).

Peugeot E-3008

We road tested the entry-level Peugeot E-3008 73kWh Single Motor, which starts at £45,850.

And the good news is that the new 3008 is even more striking than the outgoing car. There’s a bold front end featuring slim LED headlamps integrated into the frameless grille, but the most obvious change is that it now sports an aerodynamic SUV-coupe profile (think Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron).

Naturally, Peugeot’s trademark light signatures feature too – ‘lion’s claw’ LED daytime running lights up front and ‘three-claw’ at the rear.

Inside, there’s the wow factor of Peugeot’s new “Panoramic i-Cockpit”, complete with a floating, curved 21-inch HD screen that combines the head-up display with the central touchscreen.

Gareth Herincx driving the Peugeot E-3008

I’ve had my issues with Peugeot’s i-Cockpit design before, because the dinky, low-set steering wheel and higher dashboard results in a slightly awkward driving position for taller drivers (ie the steering wheel is almost in your lap, otherwise it blocks the dashboard).

Thankfully, this situation is much-improved in the E-3008, though it’s still a quirk.

The main takeaway is that the infotainment screen and instrument cluster are a huge-step up from the previous model. The graphics are still not-class-leading, but it’s a big improvement and works well.

There are no physical buttons, but the touch keys are great and the ability to create shortcuts really boosts usability. There’s also a handy “OK Peugeot” voice assistant.

Peugeot E-3008

The cabin is well designed and the quality is impressive as long as you don’t look too far down where more basic scratchy black plastics lurk.

It’s spacious too – not just up front, but at the back (the rakish profile doesn’t appear to have impacted headroom too much) and in the boot, where there’s a 588-litre luggage capacity, expanding to 1,663 litres with the seat folded down.

On the road the front mounted electric motor develops 213bhp and drive is via the front wheels. It’s swift, but not blisteringly fast off the line.

With 253lb ft of torque, it can complete the 0-62mph sprint in a respectable 8.8 seconds and tops out at 105mph.

Peugeot E-3008

For the record, the E-3008 is capable of charging speeds up to 160kW, enabling it to be boosted from 20-80% in just 20 minutes (or 30 minutes via a 100kW connection).

It’s easy to drive in urban areas thanks to light steering, a tight turning circle and good visibility for the most part, except for the rear pillars and slim tailgate window.

And despite firm suspension settings and the big 20-inch wheels on our car, it dealt with the lumps and bumps of everyday driving well, only becoming a little unsettled over larger potholes and really poor surfaces.

Grip is good, but the brakes are disappointing (a common issue with EVs) because they lack a progressive feel and have a tendency to snatch.

Peugeot E-3008

You’re also aware of its bulk (2,108kg) on more twisty roads, so there is some body lean. In short, it’s at its best and most refined cruising at higher speeds.

The drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) tweak the dynamics slightly, but you can’t alter the fact that this is a family five-seater and not one of the more engaging electric SUVs on the market to drive.

On the plus side, there are three levels of regenerative braking that are adjusted via the steering wheel paddles.

We achieved an efficiency of around 3.5 miles per kWh, which would translate to a real-world range of about 270 miles, so the upcoming 98kWh Long Range should be quite the thing when it arrives on the scene.

Peugeot E-3008

The Peugeot E-3008 is available with a choice of just two trim levels (Allure and GT) and its many rivals include the Renault Scenic E-Tech, Volkswagen ID.5, Nissan Ariya, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Model Y, Kia Niro EV, Volvo EC40 and Skoda Enyaq.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a classy and refined family-sized SUV loaded with kit and ample kerb appeal, then the all-new, all-electric Peugeot E-3008 could be the car for you.

Peugeot UK

Subaru Solterra review

Subaru Solterra review

We get behind the wheel of the Solterra mid-sized SUV – the first pure electric car from Subaru…

The Subaru brand has a relatively low profile here in the UK. Elsewhere, in countries such as the US and Australia, the Japanese company’s cars are more appreciated and sell in much bigger numbers.

Subaru’s very capable 4x4s are renowned for their durability, and traditionally, owners are intensively loyal, holding onto their cars for longer than any rivals.

Quite what they will make of the all-new Solterra is another matter because it’s sayonara to Subaru’s signature boxer engines and effective ‘symmetrical’ four-wheel drive system.

Subaru Solterra review

Before we begin, let’s deal with the elephant in the room, because the Solterra has been co-developed with the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ.

In fact, it’s manufactured alongside its cousins in the same plant at Motomachi, Japan, and they all share the same e-TNGA platform.

It also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Toyota and Lexus. However, there are some key differences.

The most important is that Subaru has kept things simple with the Solterra, which is only available in twin-motor four-wheel-drive form. That also means it has a higher starting price than some single-motor rivals.

Subaru Solterra review

There are just two trim choices too – entry-level Limited (£49,995) and top-spec Touring (£52,995). Both seem to be almost identical mechanically, which means they share a 71.4kWh battery pack and two electric motors, producing a combined total of 215bhp and 249lb ft of torque – enough for 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds.

Significantly, Limited has a claimed range of 289 miles, while Touring tops out at 257 miles. The only obvious difference between the two is that the latter has 20-inch wheels (Limited has 18s) and Touring weighs 25kg more.

In other words, on paper it’s hard to justify the extra few thousand quid for a shorter range and a few spec upgrades such as an electric passenger seat, (synthetic) leather and a passenger door mirror that tilts when reversing.

As Subaru customers would expect, the 4×4 system is permanent, plus there’s an X-Mode button which helps you navigate tougher terrain such as deep mud, snow and steep, slippery slopes — all in a controlled, calm way.

Subaru Solterra review

We tried some light off-roading and the Downhill Assist Control, the speed of which can be adjusted via a simple switch on the steering wheel, is particularly effective.

What’s more, with a minimum ground clearance of 210mm, it can tackle trips some EV competitors can’t and it has a water-fording wading depth. It’s also worth noting that the Solterra has a towing capacity of just 750kg.

Inside, it’s not unlike Subarus of old in that it has a feel of functionality and durability, but it is a tad dark and drab.

Like its Japanese cousins, there’s the same unconventional layout for the driver. In other words, they share the same Peugeot-esque low steering wheel position and high instrument binnacle, plus centrally mounted 12.4-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Subaru Solterra review

That said, it is easy to get used to the driving position and the infotainment system works well.

There’s plenty of room for adults to sit comfortably in the rear, while the boot capacity is a useful 452 litres (441 litres in the Touring version). On the minus side, there’s no ‘frunk’ under the bonnet to store charging cables and no glovebox inside.

It’s well equipped too and, as Subaru owners will like the fact that it boasts the latest safety equipment, achieving a maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP.

All-round visibility is good, and if you need extra assurance, there’s a reversing camera and 360-degree surround-view monitor. Our only gripe is that there’s no rear wiper, which is OK in light rain, but a nuisance on filthy motorway journeys.

Subaru Solterra review

On the road the Subaru Solterra feels solid, composed and surprisingly agile for a relatively large, heavy car.

Push it on more challenging roads and body roll is kept to a minimum, there’s also plenty of grip and the steering turns in keenly.

There are three driving modes (Eco, Normal and Power). As ever, Eco dulls the driving experience, so it’s fine on motorway runs, but Normal is best for everyday tootling along, while Power is fun for overtaking.

Subaru Solterra review

Even though the 71.4kWh battery and two motors are on the modest side compared to some competitors, the Solterra seems to have plenty of poke.

Unlike some EVs, the brakes are fairly progressive, while brake regeneration can be adjusted via paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

One final thought. If you test drive a Solterra, choose a smooth stretch of road and listen out for noise. Our Touring spec test car wasn’t quite the whisper-quiet experience we’d hoped for. Harsh, when even a bit of wind noise is noticeable in an EV, but we’ve come to expect no more than a distant wine from those electric motors.

Subaru Solterra review

As for charging, it’s capable of delivering an 80% boost in as little as 30 minutes via its (average) 150kW fast-charging system. The same charge at home will take 7-8 hours. Our charging experience wasn’t ideal because the weather was cold, so we couldn’t match the 30-minute target time or get close to the advertised charge rate.

Perhaps more importantly, our Touring spec Solterra only gets a 257-mile range, which in real-world driving is closer to 200 miles, so not ideal. What’s more, if you switch on the heating, for example, the range takes another hit. As we said before, stick with entry-level Limited spec for those extra miles of range.

Looking in the small print, the Solterra is covered by a three-year/60,000-mile warranty (whichever is sooner). However, the bZ4X benefits from Toyota’s warranty which covers your vehicle for 10 years (up to 100,000 miles), provided your car is serviced by a Toyota dealer.

Subaru Solterra review

The Solterra’s electric SUV rivals include everything from the Tesla Model Y, Skoda Enyaq iV and Nissan Ariya to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

So, the Solterra isn’t perfect, but don’t be put off. We like it, and in fact, we’d say it just edges the bZ4X.

Verdict: The handsome Subaru Solterra SUV is a confident EV debut. It’s not without a few gripes, but overall it delivers an assured drive, it’s easy to live with, well equipped, safe and spacious.

Subaru UK

Subaru Solterra review

Nissan Ariya review

Nissan Ariya

We road test the distinctive Nissan Ariya mid-sized electric SUV…

It’s taken Nissan more than 10 years to follow-up the game-changing Leaf with a brand new EV model. So, is the Ariya as good as it looks?

Let’s start by going back to basics. The Ariya (we think it’s pronounced ‘Arr-Ee-Yah’) is a mid-sized five-door SUV, so its rivals include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Skoda Enyaq, Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model Y.

First impressions count and two things stand out. Its futuristic looks are like nothing else on the road, while its plush interior is a real step-up for Nissan.

Nissan Ariya

There’s a choice of two battery sizes- a standard 63kWh unit or the ‘extended range’ 87kWh, which Nissan claims can travel 250 miles and 329 miles respectively from a full charge.

Starting at £46,145, entry-level models use a single electric motor to power the front wheels, producing 214bhp (63kWh) and 239bhp (87kWh).

All-wheel drive versions (marketed as ‘e-4ORCE’) get the larger 87kWh battery and an extra electric motor, delivering a total of 302bhp. However, range takes a hit, resulting in a claimed 285 miles.

Nissan Ariya

The front-wheel drive 63kWh is capable of a 0-62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph, while the all-wheel-drive 87kWh has a 5.7-second 0-62mph time and can go on to 124mph.

Standard equipment is generous and there are just two trim levels to choose from – Advance and Evolve.

Entry-level Advance is fitted with full LED lighting, a heated windscreen, climate control, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, a navigation system, 360-degree cameras and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Nissan Ariya

Evolve adds a panoramic sunroof, a video-based rear-view mirror, ventilated seats, heated rear seats and a Bose sound system, among other features.

The extensive list of safety and driver assistance aids standard on all grades includes Intelligent Driver Alertness, Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Jam Pilot, Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Full Auto Park and a 360-degree Around View Monitor. Extra goodies on the Evolve spec include Pro-Pilot Park and a Head-up Display.

The Ariya can be charged at speeds of up to 130kW (slower than some rivals such as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5), meaning you can top up from 10-80% in around 30 minutes, while an overnight charge from a 7.4kW wallbox will take 10 hours.

Nissan Ariya

Our 63kWh Advance test car looked stunning in Akatsuki Copper with a pearl-black roof. Somewhere between a traditional and coupe-styled SUV, it’s no shrinking violet and is on the tall side.

Up front, the large closed-off grille is flanked by sharp LED daytime running lights and headlights, while the swooping roofline leads to a full-width LED light bar at the rear of the car.

Inside, it’s smart and minimalist. Stylish wood-grained trim spans the width of the dashboard and it has a premium feel.

Nissan Ariya

Touch-sensitive controls with haptic feedback are hidden within the trim, illuminating when the car is switched on. More of these ‘buttons’ are conveniently placed on the sliding centre armrest, which can be moved via the press of a button to provide additional foot space in the front or the rear.

The Ariya’s infotainment system consists of two 12.3-inch screens, mounted side-by-side – a driver’s digital instrument cluster, plus a main infotainment interface complete with sat nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The cabin is spacious and light with plenty of room in the back for rear passengers to travel in comfort.

Nissan Ariya

Single motor models get a decent 466-litre boot capacity (1,348 litres with the back seats down), reducing to 408 litres if all-wheel drive is chosen.

The overwhelming sensation on the road is of a relaxing driving experience. Not only is it comfortable and well insulted inside the cabin, it’s been well put together and the delivery of all that instant torque is smooth and quiet.

There are three driving modes (Eco, Sport and Normal), though we found the latter will do just fine. As you’d expect from Nissan, there’s also an e-pedal option, which winds up the regenerative braking and can bring the car to a halt simply by lifting off the accelerator.

It feels planted at high speed and on flowing country roads, but try to hustle in more challenging corners and its weight and height become more obvious. There’s a bit of body lean and 2.2 tonnes to slow down, which tends to blunt the driving engagement.

Nissan Ariya

That said, grip levels are good, though as we found with our front-wheel drive test car, it is possible to spin the front wheels when setting off on loose surfaces and in the wet if you’re too heavy on the accelerator.

Otherwise, the steering feels nicely judged, and the commanding driving position offers good visibility (plus there’s a rear wiper, unlike some rivals!).

We haven’t tried the 87kWh all-wheel drive e-4ORCE model yet, but we suspect the increased grip, power and range (we’d estimate the real-world range in our 63kWh test car is closer to 200 miles) might be worth the extra expense.

Verdict: Safe, spacious and surprisingly classy, the Nissan Ariya family SUV boasts serious kerb appeal. Easy to drive and comfortable, it’s at its best cruising along stylishly and smoothly.

Nissan UK

Nissan Ariya

Nissan Ariya EV crowned ‘Car of the Year 2022’

Gareth Herincx

6 hours ago
Auto News

Nissan Ariya

Nissan has scooped the prestigious Auto Express Car of the Year 2022 with its all-new pure electric Ariya.

British engineers at Nissan’s European technical team in Cranfield have played a big role in the development of the new Ariya, resulting in what judges describe as “a comfortable ride and superb refinement with impressive agility for a big car”.

The Ariya is Nissan’s second mass-market EV following its pioneering Leaf, arguably the EV that first made electric driving affordable.

The annual Auto Express Awards are “the most customer-focused car awards in the UK”, recommending models across categories that are set, like the judging criteria, following research into the wants and needs of real UK buyers.

As well as specific EV category wins, there was success for electric cars in traditional car categories, too. The new all-electric Fiat 500 scooped the best City Car trophy and the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric was named Best Company Car.

“The new Nissan Ariya is quite simply a fantastic new car – it just so happens to be an EV, too,” said Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Auto Express.

“It’s so cleverly thought through, buyers will find it really easy and enjoyable to live with, while it drives superbly, looks great and is the most premium-feeling Nissan we’ve ever seen.”

Auto Express Car of the Year 2022 winners

  • City Car of the Year – Fiat 500
  • Supermini of the Year – Renault Clio
  • Family Car of the Year – Dacia Jogger
  • Estate Car of the Year – Skoda Octavia Estate
  • Small Company Car of the Year – Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric
  • Mid-size Company Car of the Year – Nissan Ariya
  • Large Company Car of the Year – BMW 5 Series
  • Small SUV of the Year – Kia Niro
  • Mid-size SUV of the Year – Hyundai Tucson
  • Large SUV of the Year – Skoda Kodiaq
  • Small Premium SUV of the Year – Mercedes-Benz GLA
  • Mid-size Premium SUV of the Year – Lexus NX
  • Large Premium SUV of the Year – Land Rover Defender
  • Luxury Car of the Year – Range Rover
  • Hot Hatch of the Year – Hyundai i20 N
  • Coupé of the Year – BMW 2 Series
  • Convertible of the Year – MINI Convertible
  • Performance Car of the Year – Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
  • Affordable Electric Car of the Year – MG ZS EV
  • Premium Electric Car of the Year – BMW i4
  • Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year – Toyota Yaris
  • Premium Hybrid Car of the Year – Mercedes-Benz C 300 e
  • Pick-up of the Year – Ford Ranger
  • Electric Van of the Year – Ford E-Transit
  • Van of the Year – Fiat Ducato
  • Technology Award – Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX
  • Auto Express New Car of the Year – Nissan Ariya

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