Renault Scala

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February 22

Born in the Renault design studio in Mumbai, the Scala looks anything but like the Sunny it is based on. The new front end with its sleek front grille and chrome accents give it a wider and lower look which goes well with the redesigned air dam.

The 15inch alloy wheels are carried over from the Pulse. At the rear, the tail lamps have redesigned and a chrome strip runs across the boot in an attempt to liven up things. The Scala, like the Sunny, looks a full segment bigger than its rivals and in this segment that really matters.

What that size has lead to, is enormous interior room. Rear passengers in the Scala are better off with more legroom than many D segment cars. The seat itself is low and lacks underthigh support, but with adequate headroom and good posture, it is comfortable over long distances. Except for the Renault badges, you can’t tell the interiors from the Sunny, but you do get leather upholstery in the top end RxZ model.

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The Scala gets two engines that also do work in the Sunny. The 1.5litre 98bhp 16v DOHC petrol motor is reasonably efficient and smooth, but it tends to get a bit thrashy as revs climb. The mismatched third gear ratio doesn’t help either. Things are better in the diesel however. The 1.5dCi found under the hood of the many Renaults and Nissans is the pick of the lot. The engine in its 85bhp state of tune has decent punch but it’s the drivability that really impresses. It lets you drop to 800rpm and the ECU automatically compensates for it to prevent stalling. The power delivery is quite linear, and overall refinement levels are quite good too. The Scala dCi should match the 0-100kmph time of 12.78 sec we got in the Sunny.

The Scala isn’t entertaining to drive, but its handling is still very benign and gris levels are adequate. It is not a car you can chuck into the corners like the Vento or the City, but it goes well with sedate driving. The ride is very good, but at high speeds on broken roads it gets unsettled.

What sways the purchase decision away is the fact that the Scala is much more expensive than the Sunny. The price difference between the base petrol models is close to one lakh rupees and that of the diesels is around Rs.60,000 across variants. That is too much to pay for redesigned bumpers and Renault badges.

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