Renault Group

Scénic: same name, new everything else!

13 July 2023

Scénic first appeared in 1996 – as Megane Scénic at the time – and is widely regarded as the first compact MPV in European automotive history. It was named to spark the desire to travel and explore the world outside. Its first four generations came with the same built-in upsides: they were all roomy, packed with useful technology and eminently safe. And so will the next one: Renault has chosen to name its future all-electric family vehicle All-new Scénic E-Tech electric, it will be all of the above, and it will be radically reinvented. Sylvia, the head of naming strategy at the Renault brand’s Global Marketing department, told us about the car and how it has changed over the years. Everything about it is new, except the name.

BY Florentina DECA

In the 1990s, Renault’s reputation as a brand that made cars for life and living was at its peak. It had introduced Espace, its high-end MPV, in 1984, then its city-friendly Twingo in 1993. And Scénic was about to take it to the next level with the first compact MPV for families on the market. The concept car was unveiled in 1991 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and the road-going version reached dealerships in 1996. It was designed from the inside out for every passenger’s well-being, and named Megane Scénic at the time. It was a cocoon for cross-country travel, pioneering, safe, comfortable and friendly, its modularity was out of this world, it was full of trailblazing technology and its windows were larger than life. Its design, in other words, was in a class by itself and geared for memorable experiences on the road.


The name Scénic instantly conjures up visions of scenery and views. So it beckons you to travel, to open up to the outside world, especially with its large windows. There is also the notion of a scene as a setting for technology, so the name Scénic is also about enhancing life on board.

Head of naming strategy at the Renault brand’s Global Marketing department

32 years of cars for life and living

The name Scénic was the obvious choice: it has stood for cars for life and living for 32 years and become a landmark in Renault’s history, alongside Clio (15.9 million vehicles), Megane (13 million), Twingo (4.1 million) and Espace (1.3 million). It was European Car of the Year in 1997 and Renault has sold more than 5.4 million of them in 110 countries. The brand has extensively upgraded its invention over the years while keeping all the original distinctive features – indoor comfort, safety and useful technology. “Not many people know this, but the name Scénic is also an acronym for Safety Concept Embodied in a New Innovative Car,’ Sylvia adds.

renault scénic
The Scenic Concept a.k.a “An invitation to Travel” aside Renault Megane Scenic 1

Scénic’s gently rounded shapes and ‘one-box’ silhouette were very much in tune with the zeitgeist. It was designed to appeal to families, and they loved the idea of a cocoon-like car. It came in one size and its proportions made it roomier and more modular inside. And it came with a variety of features that everyone in the car could enjoy – making it a family-friendly car par excellence. Fun fact: when designers were working on the first Scénic generation, they asked employees’ children what they wanted and needed, how they imagined the inside of the car, and what kinds of things they fancied in it. That explains the fun assortment of half-hidden storage nooks and crannies and the other clever amenities in the first compact MPV.

renault scénic

The following generations – Scénic II in 2003, Scénic III in 2009 then Scénic IV in 2016 – all came in a choice of two lengths. Scénic is a model that has felt right for its time every time. The world has changed and Scénic has changed with it.


Scénic E-Tech electric is the family car for tomorrow

To take one step further towards more responsible, safer cars packed with innovation and technology for the planet and people, Renault decided to add a new dimension to the Scénic name. In 2022, it called its pioneering concept car Scénic Vision, and with it heralded the fifth Scénic generation. It is reinventing its invitation to travel with a high-tech, connected vehicle that encapsulates the Group’s strategy for sustainable development and safety. 

Renault Scénic Vision, the concept car for the fifth generation of Scénic

Renault Scénic E-Tech electric will be unveiled this year at IAA Mobility in Munich. Watch this space in September for more about this new family-friendly, all-electric vehicle, and what will make it more trailblazing, more daring and more attuned to the times than ever.