Scenic showcar will 30

Birthday, the show car of the same name is even 30 years old. The then responsible designer Louis Morasse explains the concept (with video).

Scenic showcar will 30

Louis Morasse: 30 years of the Renault Scenic Showcar, 25 years of the (Megane) Scenic production car

Scenic showcar will 30

Louis Morasse: 30 years of Renault Scenic show cars, 25 years of (Megane) Scenic production cars

Scenic showcar will 30

Louis Morasse: 30 years of Renault Scenic show car, 25 years of (Megane) Scenic production vehicle

Scenic showcar will 30

Louis Morasse: 30 years of Renault Scenic show car, 25 years of (Megane) Scenic production car

In the 1990s, Renault was the manufacturer of "cars to live for". As the inventor of the first European MPV, the Espace, launched in 1984, the brand with the rhombus followed suit in the compact class segment in 1996. The Renault Mégane Scénic offered a generously sized interior full of innovative ideas. Louis Morasse was the lead interior designer of the Mégane Scénic 25 years ago. He reveals to us how and why the compact van was designed from the inside out, so to speak.

At the 1991 IAA, Renault presented the Scénic concept car, an "invitation to travel". The study of a compact large sedan with its distinctive shape reminiscent of a cocoon provided a first glimpse of the Mégane Scénic, which would debut five years later. The revolutionary new model quickly became an icon. Working on it was an absolute career highlight for the designers at the time, as Louis Morasse recalls. "The opportunity to develop a car from the inside out probably only comes along once in a lifetime," says the designer responsible for the interior of the Mégane Scénic.

A unique project of its kind

"Cars for living" – this was the Renault brand claim in the 1990s. And just like the larger Espace, offered since 1984, the Mégane Scénic should embody this statement as perfectly as possible. Morasse and the other designers involved in the project had a clear vision: in a light-flooded interior, everyone should have their own seat in an elevated position to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the traffic and the surroundings. It was all about the feel-good atmosphere on board. The new compact van was to take its passengers on a journey – literally and figuratively.

With this in mind, Renault decided to take an unusual approach to the development of this unusual car: instead of working from the outside in as usual, the designers and engineers worked from the inside out.

"With the Scénic, passengers enjoyed absolute priority. Unlike in 'normal' cars, sitting in the back in the Scénic was not a punishment."

While most models of the time were more or less tailored exclusively to the needs of the driver, the Mégane Scénic was aimed at the entire family. Its interior, with five individual seats, outstanding variability, a multitude of storage options and a large luggage compartment, set new standards. Its sandwich construction not only enabled additional lockable storage compartments in the absolutely flat vehicle floor, but also resulted in a raised seating position, which guaranteed a better overview and thus increased active and passive safety. With these diverse qualities, the Mégane Scénic immediately became an absolute sales hit. In 1999, the best-seller shed the suffix referring to its technical basis: it was now simply the Renault Scénic.

Second and third generations push boundaries

With the introduction of the second generation in 2003, the single model became an entire model series with three variants. For in addition to the five-seat Scénic with a length of 4.30, customers could also opt for the 20-centimeter-longer Grand Scénic with a choice of five or seven seats. In the interior, the second generation of the Scénic further expanded the innovative concept of the compact van pioneer. In addition to a sliding center armrest, it also offered a new dashboard with centrally positioned digital instruments, among other things. High-mounted gearshift lever and a total of 91 liters of additional storage space distributed across the entire interior. The larger windshield and optional panoramic glass roof let even more light into the interior, creating an even more inviting atmosphere on board.

The third generation of the Renault Scénic, which was launched in 2009, has once again increased the amount of space on offer. Not only was there 92 liters of storage space in the interior, but above all the legroom in the second row and the general spaciousness in the third row of seats set the standards in the segment. Variability reached an even higher level, thanks in part to the folding and removable second-row seats and the folding front passenger seat backrest. Larger window areas also let even more daylight into the interior.

"With the introduction of the Scénic in the 1990s, we came as close as we could to the ideal of the 'car for living,'" says Louis Morasse, looking back on the beginnings of this success story. "We simply wanted to develop a true family car with room for everyone."The interior designer and his colleagues have succeeded in doing this.

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