Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > Team-BHP Reviews > Official New Car Reviews


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 22nd January 2013, 16:51   #1
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,195 Times
Default Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

The Renault Scala CVT has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 8.99 - 9.89 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Smooth driving experience due to the seamless gearbox
• Light steering & automatic transmission make the Scala CVT a convenient city commuter
• Better looking than the Nissan Sunny. Scala's design is more mature
• Spectacular rear legroom and comfortable rear bench
• Compliant ride quality matched by predictable handling
• Feature list includes leather seats, true keyless entry & start, rear fan vents, folding mirrors etc.
• RxL middle variant is well-equipped (in terms of safety kit & features)

What you won’t:

• A Diesel CVT would have been something else
• Lazy highway performer due to the slow CVT. Rubber-band effect is terribly prominent
• Tyre noise at speed. Engine is 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

NOTE: This review has been jointly compiled with BHPian Parrys!


Last edited by GTO : 23rd January 2013 at 21:05. Reason: Updating with price
noopster is offline   (20) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 16:52   #2
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,195 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Since the Renault Scala & Nissan Sunny (both identical in most ways) have already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on the Automatic transmission & changes vis-a-vis the manual variant. For easy reference, here are direct links to the full tests:

Nissan Sunny (Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review)

Renault Scala (Renault Scala : Official Review)

Last edited by noopster : 22nd January 2013 at 17:04.
noopster is offline   (9) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 16:52   #3
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,195 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review



The Scala was launched a year after the Nissan Sunny, as a rebadged version of the same car. With some cosmetic tweaks thrown in, of course. The engine is identical, as are most other things.

It's nice that Renault has now taken heed of some of our feedback comments and is offering an automatic variant. This slushbox is a CVT (continuously variable transmission) a la the second generation (dolphin-shaped) Honda City and current Toyota Altis.

A CVT can have either a torque converter or wet clutch. The earlier 2nd gen City used a wet clutch, but in the Thai-spec Brio CVT, Honda switched to a torque converter for a less jerky launch feel. The Scala's CVT uses a torque converter as well. Renault has branded it as the "X-tronic" and claims that the transmission's "use of an auxiliary gearbox enables the world's highest transmission ratio, even broader than 7-speed automatic transmissions, aimed at achieving light weight, compactness and fuel efficiency." To know more about how CVTs work, click here.

A lovely video:


Fuel efficiency from a petrol automatic? Seems like a tall claim to make, till you realise it's backed by statistics. The Scala CVT has an ARAI mileage of 17.97 kpl, as opposed to the Scala MT petrol which delivers 16.95 kpl. The MID displayed between 11.0 - 12.5 kpl in a regular driving style with 4 occupants onboard. The FE did drop to just under 10 kpl, but that was when we were redlining the motor. We'll leave final kpl reports to our ownership reviews which have accurate real-world numbers.

There's more to life than numbers, as any Team-BHPian worth his salt will vouch for, so we test-drove the Scala CVT on the open highway as well as rush hour city traffic to get an idea on how it performs.

A brief note on automatic transmissions before we start with the actual review. Though largely looked down upon by the enthusiast community as slow and lacking in feel, ATs have picked up demand in recent times. This is especially so in the C-segment and above, where price elasticity is lower. After all, the same Rs. 1 lakh premium pinches less on a 10 lakh car than on a 5 lakh one. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a manual transmission in any Indian car from the luxury segment. MTs become a rare breed as you cross the Rs. 20 lakh mark, and are completely missing in models costing Rs. 30 lakh and over. The clutch of new launches (pun definitely intended) in the automatic-only market can be directly linked to the fact that new generation auto-boxes are anything but slow. VW's DSG and Ford's DCT use state-of the-art dual clutch mechanisms that are faster than manuals to upshift. Even the ZF8 gearbox, in use on luxury cars like the BMW 3-series, is one swift shifter (despite not being a dual-clutch box). No wonder then that every new launch in the AT segment is eagerly awaited by slushbox fans like me (remember, I drive a Vento AT).

Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review-renault-scala-stats-price-comparo.png <br />
We hit the road in a black Renault Scala CVT one winter morning. It's identical to the petrol MT, except for the gearshift lever, wide brake pedal (typical of ATs) and "CVT" badging at the rear. The instrument cluster has a gear indicator in the center (showing "P" here for park). A Sport icon lights up when you engage S-mode:<br /> <a href=

Last edited by GTO : 23rd January 2013 at 21:01. Reason: Updating with price
noopster is offline   (14) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 16:53   #4
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,195 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review


The Renault Scala CVT is powered by a 1.5L DOHC petrol engine with Variable Time Control (VTC). It puts out 98 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 134 Nm of torque (@ 4,000 rpm).

In the city, the Scala CVT is a seamless shifter. Light pressure maintained on the accelerator makes it a boon to drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions. The steering is feather light and the engine has sufficient power for urban confines. CVTs usually deliver power in a linear manner & the Scala is no different. Having made the shift to AT myself, I cannot understate how much your left knee will thank you later. The daily commute to work becomes a stress-free experience. The Scala is easy to point in and out of traffic gaps, but due to its sheer length of 4,425 mm, you need to be careful when parking.

On the open road, if your regular driving style is cruising @ 80 – 90 kph without too much of downshifting and upshifting, the Scala CVT is adequate for your needs. It’s no road burner, yet it does the job of point A -> point B motoring. The petrol engine is refined when it isn’t pushed, and the CVT's shifts are absolutely jolt-free. In conventional ATs like the City & Vento, you still feel the gearshifts, however smooth they are. Not so in a CVT. When you consider the amazing space this sedan offers, I would highly recommend the Scala CVT to the self-driven middle-aged gentleman whose car runs mainly in the city.

CVTs respond best to soft accelerator input. Prod the Scala harder and you take the car out of its comfort zone. The Scala CVT feels like a timid kitten when you mash the throttle to the floor. It's here that the weak points of the engine (lack of outright performance and engine noise over 3,000 rpm) come starkly to the forefront. Only this time, the negatives are further accentuated by the CVT gearbox.

The response of the CVT in highway overtaking manouveurs (or simply accelerating hard) is very poor. The tachometer, which is happy to laze around the 1,500 rpm level with a light foot, suddenly and inexplicably rises to 5,500 rpm. Then, it simply stays there, until you lift your foot off the accelerator. This “rubber-band” effect, as is the case with most CVTs, becomes very prominent when you floor the throttle. The rpm rises, but there is no resultant increase in speed. The Scala takes its own sweet time to gain momentum. Overtaking fast moving traffic on the expressway requires careful planning. This isn’t an engine that likes the redline either. It sounds awfully noisy at high rpm and feels stressed. The Scala CVT suits those with a sedate driving style. If you are looking for fun & play with an auto tranny, consider the Honda City 5-Speed AT or the Ford Fiesta dual-clutch automatic instead.

Driving Modes:

The Scala CVT doesn’t have a manual shift mode (neither tiptronic nor paddle shifters).

Right below the large “gear unlock” button is a smaller button to engage Sport mode. Sport mode basically maintains a higher rpm for the same driving conditions. There’s nothing really sporty about it, and you only end up with a louder engine note & higher fuel consumption. However, Sport mode can be useful for preparing the car just before an overtaking manouveur (bringing the engine closer to its power band). It also gives you additional engine braking, as sport mode prevents the car from free-wheeling. In regular (non-sports) mode, the Scala starts free-wheeling as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator.

Shift the gear lever to "L" mode for inclines & declines. We tested it in the hills and it worked fine. The CVT maintains a lower ratio for powering up inclines and engine braking when going down.


Last edited by noopster : 22nd January 2013 at 17:06.
noopster is offline   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 17:09   #5
Team-BHP Support
 
noopster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 8,665
Thanked: 9,195 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Other Points:

A Scala Diesel Automatic would have been something else! Just like the Duster, it could have given Renault an early-mover advantage, as the Verna is the only other diesel AT in the C segment.

The Scala CVT sports a very functional gearbox and has none of the add-ons that more sophisticated CVTs offer. For example, the Altis petrol has a 7-speed sequential shiftmatic CVT gearbox with a "manual" mode.

4 year / 80,000 kms warranty is standard.

Peculiar mix of trim levels. The Scala MT is available in entry & mid-level variants, while the Scala CVT will be sold only in mid & top-level variants.

Another difference is the lack of "creep" in D mode. A conventional AT will move forward, even with no accelerator input, thus requiring you to keep the brake pedal pressed whenever you are waiting in traffic. Not so with the Scala. This is a far more convenient option in the city.

The Scala uses a steel belt unlike some other CVTs that deploy a rubber belt. Renault claims that the life of this steel belt is longer.

The brake pedal has a long travel and feels spongy. Not confidence inspiring at all, given that brake usage is significantly heavier in an AT.

Parrys astutely notes that they could have used X-tronic as the badging nomenclature, instead of the boring CVT.

You can bet that the Nissan Sunny CVT is just around the corner. Keeping their brand positions in mind, the Nissan will be cheaper too.

A serious omission is the driver armrest. This is a must-have in an AT car.

A big shoutout to Parrys for accompanying me on this drive, contributing insights and shooting all the pictures.
noopster is offline   (17) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 17:19   #6
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 47,735
Thanked: 89,311 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

This is as detailed as an automatic variant review can get. Rating report a well-deserved 5 stars. Thanks for sharing, Noopster & Parry!

Renault launching a Nissan transmission in a Nissan car before Nissan India speaks volumes of the power of the parent company!

Car is as expected. CVTs are supremely smooth to drive in the city, but the rubber-band effect makes them awful for a spirited driving style. Best suited to sedate drivers only. I'm going to be keeping a close eye on the fuel-economy figures that owners report, as that could be this sedan's USP (over other AT C-segmenters), along with rear bench comfort and space. However, keeping the history of petrol ATs in mind, I don't expect it to be too high.

As you rightly said though, a diesel CVT would have torn its competitors to shreds. The 1.5L diesel is a proven workhorse with excellent pep & fuel-economy. Renault could have managed another "Duster" with that one.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd January 2013 at 17:28.
GTO is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 19:57   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
ghodlur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Thane
Posts: 5,040
Thanked: 2,077 Times
Smile Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Thanks Anoop for the short, sweet yet perfect review. Scala in its new variant I hope will bring in the numbers which Renault is expecting.

Can you elaborate on the safety features in the RxL variant? Also suggest you to add the mileage as an feature in the comparison chart of the various AT models. Does this also mean that Nissan would soon come up with the Sunny AT variant too on the same configuration? What about braking - does it still carry over the poor braking of Renault?
ghodlur is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 20:50   #8
Distinguished - BHPian
 
swiftnfurious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Chennai
Posts: 6,449
Thanked: 6,435 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Thanks Noopster for a neat review. Heard a lot about the rubber band effect in CVTs, there is one more product showcasing it. Neverthless more options are always better for customers to choose what suits them best.

@GTO & @Noopster :: Curious, which will be your pick of AT from those listed in the above sheet, an all rounder?
swiftnfurious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd January 2013, 21:10   #9
Team-BHP Support
 
Vid6639's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 14,468
Thanked: 19,377 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Thanks for the succinct review Noopster but I sadly can't say anything good for the car going by the review.

Rubber band effect and no feedback from transmission means that it removes the fun out of driving completely.

After reading the excellent ownership review by kamen_rider ... the Fiesta AT is probably the best AT you can buy within 12L. The Honda City comes second followed by the Rapid/Vento.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 22nd January 2013 at 21:13.
Vid6639 is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2013, 00:13   #10
Team-BHP Support
 
ampere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 15,604
Thanked: 8,593 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
the Fiesta AT is probably the best AT you can buy within 12L. The Honda City comes second followed by the Rapid/Vento.
+1. Thats exactly what I had in mind too. For first time I could see a non-Honda being a better automatic.

A minor corollary : A car like Sunny/Scala would be bought either for diesel (which does not seem to be the reason nowadays!) or back seat space.

If the most folks are taking rear seat as the prime reason, then why AT, as they wont anyway be on the driver's seat and why should chauffeur get an AT to drive!

Last edited by ampere : 23rd January 2013 at 00:14.
ampere is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2013, 00:36   #11
Team-BHP Support
 
Jaggu's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 17,752
Thanked: 7,471 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

A very detailed review Noopster and Parrys. Though CVT's are not very direct like the other auto tranny, they definitely offer a better FE figure. In the recent past i had an oppurtunity to drive a friends Honda CVT from Kerala to Bangalore and not only was the drive effortless, we achieved close to 16 kmpl with decent high speeds, ghats and traffic thrown in Last but no the least, driving any autobox needs some figuring out from the driver, then they can be almost as sprightly as a manual box
Jaggu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2013, 07:11   #12
Newbie
 
Earth Lord's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 10
Thanked: 5 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

A great review and a very helpful video.

Honestly, I would not buy this car. Paying 80k for the Renault badge over Nissan does not make sense, especially the AT. That's a lot of fuel I can use. I hope Nissan bring out the Sunny AT soon. It's definitely more VFM.
Even if the Scala had launched a Diesel AT, consider the costs and see if it would be worth it. 80k for the Renault badge, 80k for the AT, 1.2lakhs for the diesel engine, that's 2.8lakhs more. That changes the segment of the Scala.
If I wanted an AT for the city, I would pick a hatch back or wait for the Honda Amaze to be launched with an AT. If I wanted some fun, the Honda City or Fiesta like the earlier posts already mention are more fun.
What would be really cool is the Ecoboost engine coming into the Fiesta with the DCT AT, or an Ecosport AT with the EcoBoost engine.
Earth Lord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2013, 09:16   #13
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: RJ-02,DL,MH-12
Posts: 922
Thanked: 1,081 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Pardon my ignorance, but when so many modifications are carried out (after-market) and now when Scala petrol-head has got a CVT; it there a possibility that this gearbox and allied systems can be moved to a diesel machine?

Will it work? or does the tuning has to be altogether different when this gearbox does duty in a diesel motor as against a petrol motor.
i74js is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2013, 09:30   #14
Team-BHP Support
 
Vid6639's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 14,468
Thanked: 19,377 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
Pardon my ignorance, but when so many modifications are carried out (after-market) and now when Scala petrol-head has got a CVT; it there a possibility that this gearbox and allied systems can be moved to a diesel machine?

Will it work? or does the tuning has to be altogether different when this gearbox does duty in a diesel motor as against a petrol motor.
It's not that easy since the diesel engine produces more torque and the gearbox may not be designed to handle that torque. Basically what Renault have done is use the existing CVT box found in other petrol cars that have this petrol engine and plonked it into the Scala. Nothing really ingenious. Just reuse what is already being used elsewhere in the world.
Vid6639 is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd January 2013, 09:48   #15
BHPian
 
ambivalent_98's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pune-Bangalore
Posts: 758
Thanked: 161 Times
Default Re: Renault Scala CVT (Automatic) : Official Review

Nice crisp review Anoop. Thanks for it. Is this your first review independently as a mod ?
ambivalent_98 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Renault Scala : Official Review noopster Official New Car Reviews 147 17th November 2016 22:53


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 09:07.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks