It’s a sign of the times that many car manufacturers are adding higher-riding, crossover themed versions of regular family hatchbacks these days. Think Volkswagen’s CrossPolo, Nissan’s Lavina X-Gear, even Renault’s Sandero Stepway. Similarly, Renault’s Scenic MPV is also no stranger to the crossover-themed special edition game. The previous incarnation was available in fashionable ‘Navigator’ guise and before that came the far more capable Scenic RX4. At the Geneva Motor Show in early March, Renault will show this, the rather oddly named Scenic XMOD.
XMOD – the recipe: take one regular Scenic, increase the ride height, add model-specific alloys, redesign the bumpers, front grille and sill guards, add roof bars and new-style daylight running lamps. The interior also gets a makeover, with an XMOD-specific centre console complete with TFT digital display including Renault’s R-Link touchscreen multimedia system. Top-line XMODs feature a flat bottomed steering wheel, aluminium-bedecked pedals and distinctively stitched leather/Alcantara upholstery.
In addition to the newly introduced 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the XMOD debuts Renault’s new Extended Grip system, accessed via a three position rotary dial. How does it work? In Renault’s own words, “In ‘Expert’ mode, Extended Grip manages the braking system, while leaving the driver in full control of the engine torque. The ‘Road’ mode offers conventional traction control settings. It automatically reconnects at speeds of over 40kph. The ‘Loose Ground’ mode optimises braking control and engine torque control as a function of available grip.” It all sounds a little gimmicky really and will, no doubt, turn out to be the least used driver aid ever. Rest assured, people will not buy the XMOD for its Extended Grip, instead, they’ll buy it because it’s a slightly trendier MPV. Renault SA concede the XMOD is a ‘promising product’, but one that has not yet been confirmed for local introduction.