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Old 1st September 2012, 19:45   #1
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Default Renault Scala : Official Review

The Renault Scala has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 6.99 - 9.57 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Better looking than the Nissan Sunny. Scala's design is more mature
• Spectacular rear legroom and comfortable rear bench
• 1.5L Diesel has excellent driveability, fuel economy and durability
• Compliant ride quality matched by predictable handling
• Feature list includes leather seats, true keyless entry & start, rear fan vents, folding mirrors etc.
• Interior quality & cabin fit/finish
• RxL middle variant is well-equipped (in terms of safety kit & features)

What you won’t:

• Priced noticeably higher than the Nissan Sunny
• Brakes feel slow to react and aren't confidence-inspiring
• Mediocre handling & stability above 120 kph
• Prominent tyre noise at speed. Engines are loud at high rpm too
• Quirky styling lacks universal appeal
• Rear seat headroom & under-thigh support are in short supply
• Renault's after-sales is an unknown quantity

The Scala (CVT) Automatic:

• Team-BHP's Review of the Scala Automatic is available at this link (Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review)


Last edited by GTO : 22nd January 2013 at 17:33. Reason: Link to Scala CVT
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Old 1st September 2012, 19:46   #2
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Default Re: Renault Scala: Official Review

Since the mechanically-identical Nissan Sunny has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on what's different with the Renault Scala. For easy reference, here are direct links to the full Nissan Sunny review:

Exterior Design & Build Quality (Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review)

Interior design, space, practicality & features (Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review)

1.5L Diesel Engine, Ride & Handling (Nissan Sunny Diesel : Test Drive & Review)

1.5L Petrol Engine, Ride & Handling (Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review)

The Smaller & Significant Things (Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review)
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Old 1st September 2012, 19:48   #3
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Default Re: Renault Scala: Official Review



In less than a quarter from the Duster's launch, Renault fires its second salvo at the intensely competitive Rs. 8 - 10 lakh segment. This time, it's with a badge re-engineered Nissan Sunny. In a repeat of the Micra / Pulse & Rapid / Vento stories, customers now have a choice between two identical cars, differentiated solely by some exterior design tweaks. Will the market bite and choose the Scala solely because it looks better on the outside? Time will tell.

Word is that Renault preponed the Scala's launch due to the tremendous showroom footfalls that the Duster generated. There isn't any doubt that the Duster has brought the Renault brand more visibility than it ever managed before. The SUV's popularity will have some rub-off effect on other Renault products and thus, now is a good time to introduce the Scala. Keeping Renault's intended brand positioning in mind, the Scala will inevitably be priced higher than the Sunny. This is the company's 5th car in India following the Fluence, Koleos, Pulse and Duster. They will focus on this product portfolio for now, with no new car launches on the horizon.

Renault's dealer network is even smaller than that of Nissan, and it is hoping for managing 40-50% of the Sunny's volumes with the Scala. So, what's new vis-a-vis the Nissan Sunny?

• Different front & rear end treatment (including sheet metal changes, lights & bumpers)
• The top-end RxZ trim gets leather seats & door inserts
• The middle RxL variant also gets alloy wheels and the fine vision meter console
• Follow-me-home lamps have been added
• Alloy wheels from the Renault Pulse
• Lower variants get a different seat upholstery colour combination
• Some more chrome
• Petrol available in base RxE and mid RxL trims only
• Diesel available in mid RxL and top-end RxZ trims only
• A 2+2 year / 80,000 km warranty

Renault Scala : Official Review-renault-scala-prices.png

Last edited by GTO : 22nd January 2013 at 17:34. Reason: Removing point that's irrelevant as the AT is now launched
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Old 1st September 2012, 19:50   #4
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Default Re: Renault Scala: Official Review

On the Outside:

Renault used its Mumbai-based design studio to transform the Sunny's relatively staid "friendly grill" into the Scala's more aggressive stance:


Viewed from the side, there is nothing to tell the Scala from the Sunny, except for the snazzier 5-spoke alloys (the Sunny gets elegant 7-spokers):


The rear will remind some of the Dzire, yet others of the W221 S-Class. That chrome strip with the Scala name emblazoned across the rear is carried forward from the Duster. Not a fan of the garish look:


Tear drop-shaped headlamps. Follow-me-home function offered on the RxZ variant:


C-shape clearlamp blinkers:


185/65 Bridgestone B250 tyres shod on the Pulse's 15" alloy wheels. The spare is a steel wheel of the same size:


Chrome belt-line of the top RxZ trim level. I prefer the black look of the lower variants:


The front is where the Scala comes into its own. The logo straddling grille and bonnet look cool:
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Old 1st September 2012, 19:52   #5
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Default Re: Renault Scala: Official Review

On the Inside:

Step inside the Scala and the first thing you ask yourself is "Am I in a Sunny?" Stick some tape over the Renault logo on the steering wheel and you can barely tell one from the other:


3-spoke wheel with funky stereo controls mounted on the left. Mute button conspicuous by its absence. The control stalks have a RHD configuration (lights / turn indicators on the right and wiper settings on the left) which should please most of us. Only the RxZ gets a 6-speed intermittent wiper control:


Unlike the Sunny's mid-variant, the Scala RxL gets these fine vision meters (of the top trim level) too. MID has data on average and instantaneous fuel economy, outside temperature, 2 trip meters and a distance to empty counter:


The RxZ's leather seats:


Additional bits of leather trim on the doorpads add a touch of class:


Renault has missed a great opportunity; differentiating the Scala by providing plusher interiors could actually justify a premium price over the Sunny. As things stand, the interiors are nice-looking, but hardly class-leading. If the Scala is to make headway against the likes of the Rapid, Vento, City and Verna, it needs to have a little more than what is currently on offer:


At the back is where the Scala / Sunny advantage lies:


Legroom ahoy! This is with the driver seat adjusted for my 5'10" frame. The Scala has tons of legroom and is one of the most comfortable cars to sit it, front and back:
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Old 1st September 2012, 19:53   #6
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Default Re: Renault Scala: Official Review

The Scala at launch retains both drivetrains that power the Sunny. This is unlike the Pulse hatchback which was launched with a diesel engine, with the petrol added only recently.

The familiar 1.5L K9K turbo-charged diesel engine that powers the entire Renault Nissan repertoire in India is tuned in this application to 85 BHP (@ 3,750 rpm) and 200 Nm of max torque (@ 2,000 rpm). The minimum turbo-lag makes it a very driveable car on city streets and highways alike.

Click here for a full review of the 1.5L diesel.

The 1.5 XH2 petrol delivers a higher peak power of 98 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm), but at a lower torque rating of 134 Nm (@ 4,000 rpm), making it the less desirable of the two engines on offer. Also, there is a perceptible & annoying whine from the petrol engine when pushed.

Click here for a full review of the 1.5L petrol.

The Scala, like its sibling, has a compliant ride and the suspension takes pretty much what is thrown at it with aplomb. Renault insists that they have tweaked the suspension to give it the "Renault feel", but any difference from the Sunny is barely perceptible. Certainly, the diesel RxZ feels more planted than the petrol, perhaps due to the increased weight (1080 vs 1005 kilos) at the front.

At higher speeds and around the twisties though, the ride gets increasingly unsettled and the rear tends to swing about a bit. No comparison to the Rapid & Vento in the handling department at all.

Disclaimer : Renault invited Team-BHP for the Scala test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Credits : A huge shoutout to Moderator Stratos for processing the images!

Last edited by noopster : 3rd September 2012 at 10:38. Reason: Petrol Pulse addition courtesy georgesraju
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Old 1st September 2012, 20:07   #7
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

If the Scala was available 6 months earlier, I'd have bought it over the Sunny. I much prefer this front & rear end treatment to the Nissan's. The Scala doesn't look nearly as quirky as its separated-at-birth twin.

Smart on Renault to:

- Time it within 2 months of the Duster. A large part of the market didn't even know of Renault's presence in India, until the Duster happened. The Sunny / Scala's fuel efficiency, space and practicality are huge selling points and most people who check out my Sunny end up impressed (the same folk who wouldn't have considered the car earlier). Getting a potential customer into their car is the biggest challenge for newer brands. The Duster will definitely lead to a sales spike for others in the same showroom.

- Give it some extra features. I hate the plain-jane instrument console of my Sunny diesel. Would have much preferred the fine vision dials. The mid variant here also gets alloy wheels (unlike my car). If the Scala RxL is priced 40K higher than the Sunny XL, it's a deal (20K for the wheels, 5K for the MID & instruments and 15K for the better looks). The Sunny's alloy wheels (only on the top variant) are more to my taste though.

Thanks for sharing this report with us!

Last edited by GTO : 1st September 2012 at 20:46. Reason: Typo. Thanks to Satish_appasani for pointing it out
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Old 1st September 2012, 20:31   #8
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

Nice review. A relatively unknown Renault has suddenly is surely has stamped its presence with the launch of the Duster.
IMO,the Scala will only cannibalize the volumes of Sunny a similar story of the Pulse/Micra.

Cheers!
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Old 1st September 2012, 20:38   #9
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

Thanks for the review Noop. The front end re-work has all the French quirkiness and looks really nice, but other than that (the side/rear profile + interiors), there is nothing much to differentiate from the Sunny. And the added chrome bits looks a bit too brash. In comparison, I must say that the brand re-engineering from VAG was much better (Vento/Rapid).

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
• Different front & rear end treatment (including sheet metal changes, lights & bumpers)
Are there any differences in safety kit, compared to the Sunny?

And congratulations on the first official team-bhp review!

Last edited by vb-san : 1st September 2012 at 20:43. Reason: last line added
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Old 1st September 2012, 20:40   #10
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Would have much preferred the fine vision dials. The mid variant here also gets alloy wheels (unlike my car). If the Scala RxL is priced 40K higher than the Sunny XV, it's a deal (20K for the wheels, 5K for the MID & instruments and 15K for the better looks). The Sunny's alloy wheels (only on the top variant) are more to my taste though.
I think you meant 40K above Sunny XL. XV is the topend.
My exact feeling too. I have decided on Sunny and waiting for Scala. If RXL is priced more than 40-50L above Sunny XL, it doesn't make sense. At +40K, it can also win customers even who are planning for Sunny XV.

Good report noopster. Is the color of TD car Pearl white? My wife was disappointed Sunny doesn't come in pearl white.

Last edited by satish_appasani : 1st September 2012 at 20:45.
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Old 1st September 2012, 20:41   #11
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

Though I read reports that the suspension is tuned for better handling too, this review clarifies there isn't a drastic difference! OD guesstimates a 90K difference on Scala over Sunny. Even for looks, I am not too sure a large chunk of buyers are going to take Scala for a 90K premium!

Have to say, the designed have done an impeccable job on the Scala's front!

Good review too!
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Old 1st September 2012, 21:03   #12
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

I really do not get the point of Renault launching Pulse against Nissan Micra and then this Scala against Sunny. Can some one please like to explain on this strategy ?

Scala's front has certainly a distinctive feel but even Sunny's Grill also stands out. I guess they can rather upgrade the same model to a better design rather than rolling out new cars which looks like identical twins.
I just hope Nissan doesn't come out with a Duster look-alike.
By the way, nice review noopster.
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Old 1st September 2012, 21:10   #13
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

swiftnfurious, 90k premium is too much to ask for. I feel it should be made available at 30-40k premium at the most. People who don't care about looks would find Sunny far more suitable, available @ lower asking price. The Scala looks more contemporary than the Sunny. The rear and front treatment is good. The tear drop headlamps and 'C' shape blinkers @ rear would make it stand out in the crowd. Though I hate chrome, I quite like the use of it on the front grill. Even the chrome on the boot lid helps to hide the bulkiness.

Beige Black combinations should have been provided for the interiors just like the Duster. It would come out as a fresh and good differentiating factor from the interiors of the Sunny, which I feel looks like a Sea of beige.

Last edited by Blow Horn Ok : 1st September 2012 at 21:13.
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Old 1st September 2012, 21:14   #14
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

Good review and the best pictures of any of the reviews I've seen on the Scala. I guess all the talk of the improved rear seat and lighter dash color was just that - talk. Just one question - the Autocar tv show today mentioned ESP as one of the safety features in the car, is that correct? I haven't heard that anywhere else.
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Old 1st September 2012, 21:16   #15
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Default Re: Renault Scala : Official Review

Nice review noopster. This is quite a surprise as the launch of the Scala was earlier assumed to be after Diwali. But its obviously a smart step taken by Renault to launch it within two months gap of the launch of its most succesfull product - the Duster, and as a result, the Scala will surely be able to take some profit of the positive vibes present in the market for the brand.
Scala is surely better in looks as compared to its Nissan sibling. And if GTO has shown his positive response towards the Renault product (even when he himself owns the Nissan counterpart), then there is no need to compare between these two caaaaars.
[OT: Hats off to you GTO for always being so unbiased].
The things I liked the most in the Scala are:
- Obviously the front. The new bumper, grille and headlights combine together brilliantly to give a muscular and sporty look.
- The rear (which definitely appears similar to the new Dzire) looks definitely better than the Sunny. I liked the way the chrome strip extends at the end in the form of turn indicators in the rear light cluster. It would have been better if the "SCALA" engraved in the chrome strip was in some other font.
All-in-all, the car is miles ahead of its Nissan sibling and it would be interesting to see two "very" similar cars competing in 8-10L segment.
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