As a major builder of compact and family cars, Renault figured it had the market pretty much covered, but soon discovered a glaring, gaping hole in its offering. Between the tiny Twingo and the much, much larger Espace was a whole untapped market for smaller, mid-range people carrier. Thus was the 1996 Renault Megane Scenic born. It offered comfortable seating for five, in a compact yet spacious arrangement that was designed to maximize the impression of space, thanks to its particularly high roof. Everything about the Mégane Scenic was designed to enhance not only comfort, but usability and versatility, from ample storage space to a rear, structural shelf.
The Megane Scenic was powered by a 2-liter, inline four cylinder engine that pushed out 115 horsepower, and coupled with a five-speed manual transmission, was able to give the car a top speed of 114 miles per hour, and a 0-60 time of 10.5 seconds. The Scenic shared the drive-train, and indeed much of its mechanical aspects with other versions of the Mégane, such as a convertible, coupe, station wagon and sedan.
The 1996 Renault Megane Scenic was a marvelous sales success for Renault; of course, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and every other manufacturer was soon on board, copying Renault’s winning formula.