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Renault Scala Detailed Expert Review - January 19, 2013

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Introduction

Jan 19, 2013 : Expert Review By

Renault Scala Automatic Review

The French car maker closed the year 2012 with a sales figure of over 35,000. Still riding high on the laurels and awards received by the compact SUV Duster, Renault finally seems to have got the pulse of Indian market.

Renault Scala Expert Review, Scala Road Test - 116486 | CarTrade

Using the Nissan Sunny platform with minor tweaks and bold styling, Renault had launched the mid size sedan Scala in September 2012. The Scala is comparatively a new model and managed to sell 820 units in December 2012.

The midsized sedan market offers Automatic Transmission variants but then there are some common issues associated with it such as uneven power delivery, low fuel efficiency and High on ownership cost. With the new Renault Scala CVT, Renault claims to have addressed it all. In this review, we drive from Mumbai to Kashid to verify the same.

Exterior

The Renault Scala Automatic has no changes in the exterior as well as interior profile. Based on the Sunny; the looks too seem very reminiscent. Similar to the Pulse, the Scala too is a bolder looking version of the Sunny. In fact, the Scala looks like a next generation Sunny with its impressive styling and bolder street presence.

The front face of the Renault Scala does away with the soft nature of the Sunny and brings in aggression to it. The Scala has a better street presence and visual appeal. The smoke styled flowing headlamps paired with the robust nose grille design are simply fantastic.

Headlights and the nose grille give slight hints of the Hyunda Fluidic Verna. Even the front bumpers have been redesigned and look a lot sportier compared to the original. Bumpers and the lines on them have been retained from the Sunny.

Side profile is very identical to the Sunny again except for some minor changes. The belt line under the windows is done in chrome and also the door handles. The Renault Scala comes with a better set of alloys with a nice design.

Rear profile of the Scala is smarter than the Sunny. The boot gets a dash of chrome with “SCALA” encrypted on it. On the rear too its gets a two tone finish on the bumpers same as on the front fascia.

Overall the exteriors of the Renault Scala are impressive and appeal to the young buyers who wish to have a Sunny but with bold and sporty looks. The redesigned exteriors are the highlights of the Renault Scala.

Interior

The interiors of the Renault Scala have been left untouched and are identical to the Pulse, Micra and Sunny. The Scala also gets premium leather upholstery in addition to all the similar elements.

In the Scala too, the interiors have been kept very basic and utility is the main theme behind its design. Twin pod Instrument cluster has chrome outline and the numbers illustrated have been kept very simple. It displays the necessary information such as trip reading, Fuel left to empty tamp along with a digital watch as well.

Three spoked steering wheel has audio controls affixed on it. The quality of plastics is decent and won’t let you complain about it as it does its job well.The Scala too has the Circular AC control panel which is seen in its Nissan cousins. The Scala with its 2600mm wheelbase proves to be a longish sedan. Legroom is in abundance for all the passengers. 

Rear section passengers get the 2 speed blower for cooling, which is aptly placed between the front row seats. Underneath the front dashboard is a small recess to fit in small documents. The glovebox which also swallows decent load is directly underneath the small recess and impresses with its fit and finishing.

Front door trim has pockets while same is not available for the rear doors. The boot space is same 490 litres and could take in all our luggage and equipment with great ease.

Performance

The Renault Scala X-Tronic is offered in petrol version only. It is offered in RXL and RXZ variants. In India, 93% of the auto market is ruled by manual transmission while a small share of 7% chooses the automatic transmission. Renault is targeting the 6% of that clientele who drive petrol automatic version.

The Scala has already won confidence of the Indian buyers by selling 3000 units in 4 months. The main hurdles behind the consumers shying away from automatic variants is higher cost of ownership, low fuel efficiency and uneven driving experience. Renault using the X-Tronic CVT setup attempts to surpass them. The merits of using this arrangement are a better fuel efficiency as well as superior performance.

With the X-Tronic CVT version which uses comparatively smaller intermediate planetary gear to attain a higher transmission ratio which in conventional CVTs are constrained by the lack of space as they make use of larger pulleys to attain higher transmission ratio. The Renault Scala X-Tronic beats its manual counterpart in fuel efficiency and delivers an ARAI approved figure of 17.97 kmpl

On our way to Kashid, the Scala was very convenient to handle. It is not exactly a performance sedan with its auto shift but then the power delivery was linear across the rpms. On suddenly depression of the accelerator, the engine got evidently loud and felt little sluggish to haul the vehicle but once in the right rpm it seemed very comfortable cruising along.

The real test was driving it through traffic as for an automatic tackling the bumper to bumper traffic is very essential. Unlike other automatics, this one is very peppy in its initial phase as well. There are no sudden jerks felt at the transmission shifts. Thus the smooth transmission paired with the light steering wheel is a great combination. 

Even though, the Scala has a long wheelbase still it is not a hurdle and its tail does not sway out of proportion. In addition to the conventional Drive mode, there is a L mode too which comes handy when the vehicle needs high torque at lower rpms. This helps Scala climb on difficult terrains. Also, on the auto shift stick is a “Sport” mode button. In the Sport mode which transforms the gear ratio into a shorter version while travelling at any speed. Not like what the tag “Sport” would ideally suggest, this mode helps the vehicle while overtaking on highways or on occasions which needs quick and swift response. 

Overall the handling and the other dynamics of the vehicle remain same as earlier however, with the auto option the Scala has got more convenient than before.

Specifications
Technical Specifications
 Make Renault
 Model Scala AT
Variant Petrol
Engine Capacity 1498
Power in PS/RPM 99/6000
Torque in Nm/RPM 134/4000
Gears 4/AT
Fuel Petrol
Length mm 4425
Width mm 1695
Height mm 1505
Wheel base mm 2600
Kerb Weight in Kg 1010
Ground clearance mm 161
Fuel tank capacity 41
Turning circle radius in M 5.3
Boot Space(Litre) 490
Tyre Spec 185/65R15
Fuel Effeciency(KMPL) 17
Renault Scala Competitors
Competition Specifications
Specifications
Renault
Scala
Honda
City
Hyundai
Fluidic Verna
Variant RXL AT S  AT 1.6 SX VTVT
Ex showroom Price Mumbai (in lakhs) 899000 966967 1044356
Engine Capacity 1498/4 1497/4 1591/4
Power in PS/RPM 90/6000 118/6600 123/6300
Torque in Nm/RPM 134/4000 146/4800 155/4200
Gears 4/ AT 5/AT with Paddle shift 4/AT
Fuel Petrol Petrol Petrol
Length 4425 4420 4370
Width 1695 1695 1700
Height 1505 1480 1475
Wheel base 2600 2550 2570
Kerb Weight in Kg 1010 1155 1200
Ground clearance 161 160 165
Fuel tank capacity 41 42 43
Turning circle radius in M 5.3 5.3 5.2
Tyre Spec 185/65R15 175/65 R15 195/55 R16
Features
Power Steering Yes Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes Yes
A/C Yes Yes Yes
Music system Yes Yes Yes
Fog Lamps Yes Yes Yes
Rear wind shield washer Yes Yes Yes
Defogger Yes Yes Yes
Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes
Beige interiors Yes Yes Yes
Steering mounted audio control Yes Yes Yes
Rear seat arm rest Yes Yes Yes
Fuel consumption display Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes
Dual Airbag Yes Yes Yes
Average fuel efficiency (Kmpl) 14 14 14
Conclusion

 

It is surprising that Renault launched the CVT before its alliance partner Nissan. Though, the unit that features on the Scala is a revised version of the Nissan unit. The Renault Scala CVT is offered in petrol RXL and RXZ trims. The prices of the AT variants will be tentatively more than the manual version by Rs.80,000 to 90,000. The company has also negated any possibility of the X-Tronic being offered in diesel.

The Scala indeed features a smooth CVT box and in many ways is even better than the versions offered in the higher segment cars. The main selling point of the Scala automatic is the fuel efficiency offered which is 17.97 kmpl beating its own manual counterpart as well as some of its competitors like the Honda City AT (15.60kmpl) and the Hyundai Verna AT (15.70kmpl).

The drive provided in the Scala is reasonably smooth and there are no sudden jerks experienced. Renault insists that it deliberately worked on the performance factor also along with giving due importance to the mileage so the engine is highly responsive on lower rpms easing the commute in tight traffic. Though the entry was not a smooth one for the French car maker in India but then Renault is determined to leave an impressive mark.

 

 

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