In 1992 Renault’s portfolio of one box utility cars spanned the Twingo city car at one more extreme and the much larger seven seater Escape at the other. It might seem logical to plug the gap with another one box car, but the decision to build a VW Golf sized people carrier was a much more significant risk for Renault. It was risky, but a supremely perceptive move, MPVs in the American mould were almost too big for European in town use, as well as being too expensive for young families. A smaller, cheaper, version of the Escape could potentially attract a very wide audience. Renault gave a clue to its plans in 1991 with a concept car called the Scenic. It was a move the company was later publicly to regret. Renault merged plans for the Scenic, with a bigger overall strategy of replacing the 19 range with a new single model line up of cars encompassing six different body styles, called Megane, all the vehicles were based on the same basic running gear, and used the same dashboard and switch gear. Ahead of the mainstream, Renault produced the Megane hatch, saloon, cabriolet, estate and Scenic.
The Scenic was a huge sales success. It offered five individuals seats, which could be removed and folded in a taller than normal body, which heightened the sense of space. Superb design, detailing included storage cubby holes in the floor, and a structural panel shelf in the tall boot which could take the weight of shopping. Other manufactures raced to launch their own interpretation of the mini MPV as this new take on the family car become hugely popular in Europe.