Renault Scala CVT in India: Review

The Renault Scala is simply an up-market premium version of its cousin the Nissan Sunny. So if you like the Nissan Sunny and wished for a little more class and premium features like automatic transmission, you’ll definitely like the Renault Scala.

We had been hearing rumors of an automatic version of the Scala since 2012 and early this year, Renault finally launched two automatic petrol variants of the Scala- the Renault Scala RXL X-tronic CVT and the Renault Scala RXZ X-tronic CVT.

Now if you have a decent working knowledge about cars, you know that automatic transmission gives lesser mileage. This is why most folks prefer the manual gearbox version, since fuel prices are already sky-high. However, the most unique thing about the CVT versions of the Scala is that contrary to popular belief, these cars give BETTER fuel efficiency compared to their manual counterparts.

The X-tronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) technology enables the Renault Scala CVT to offer a net mileage of 17.97kmpl (according to ARAI test figures)- around  1kmpl more than that offered by the Scala manual.

Renault explained its move to offer an automatic variant of the Scala by saying that with the increasing number of cars on the road and the frequency of stop-and-go traffic, more and more Indians are taking to automatic transmission.

Renault Scala CVT

Engine

The Renault Scala CVT is powered by a powerful 1.5 L, 4-cylinder based XH2 petrol engine, which can displace 1498cc. The petrol engine has the capacity to generate a peak power output of 97.02 Bhp @ 6000 Rpm and a maximum torque of 134 Nm @ 4000 Rpm. This engine is mated with a smooth X-tronic CVT automatic gear box that also features multipoint fuel injection technology.

Performance

The Renault Scala CVT is a well-behaved sedan that is built to be driven around calmly and smoothly in city traffic. Needless to mention, the automatic gearbox has been provided mainly to reduce the irritation of constantly shifting gears in busy city traffic. This makes the Scala the perfect car for city commuters. However, if you’re thinking of stepping on the gas on the highways, the engine becomes a bit strained and noisy so it’s better not to try and push its limits. In fact, using maximum throttle won’t get you an immediate reaction as it takes the car a while to get to the higher speeds.

The 1.5-liter petrol engine along with the CVT automatic gearbox helps you get through city traffic while maintaining optimum fuel efficiency.

However, the CVT (which makes you pay around Rs. 60,000 more) gives you high driving efficiency. It maintains the engine rpm in the lower and efficient region of the power-band and each time you leave the throttle, the gearbox disconnects from the engine thus minimizing mechanical drag. According to the French automaker, the Scala CVT petrol variant delivers a mileage rating of 17.97kpl (according to ARAI) which is significantly better than the 16.97kpl mileage (according to ARAI) offered by Ford Fiesta’s DCT auto variant.

New Renault Scala CVT

Exteriors

The Renault Scala has borrowed a lot of exterior features from the Nissan Sunny but the French automaker has done a little bit of work to make sure that the Scala appeals to the more premium customers. Some of these additions and improvements include the smoked-style large headlamps, the front bumper and grille which have been borrowed from the Renault Pulse, the tail lights which bear a resemblance to those in Skoda cars and door handles that bear a chrome finish. The 15-inch alloy wheels come as a default fitting on the Scala which really brighten up the wheels of the sedan.

Renault has added a significant amount of chrome to the exteriors which actually make the car look more upmarket compared to the Sunny.

However, there have not been any groundbreaking changes to the exterior of the Scala and it makes you wish that there was more to set the Scala apart from its cousin the Sunny.

Interiors

The interiors of the Scala are almost exactly the same as that of the Sunny. The all-gray look, which was passable on the Sunny as it’s a value-for-money car, doesn’t bode well with the premium tag of the Scala. Of course, the Renault logo on the steering wheel reassures you that it’s a Scala you’re sitting in and not a Sunny. Perhaps the only differences between the two cars are the leather seats and a new gear knob and leather seats. There are also some handy comfort features incorporated into the Scala, including keyless entry, a multi-functional smart key, an illuminated push-button start-stop function, a leather-covered power steering wheel featuring mounted controls for driver’s convenience and automatic climate control with air quality control.

While you do get a lot of leg-room, Renault has not been so generous with the rear-seat headroom and the under-thigh support. However, just like in the Sunny, the Scala offers you an enormous amount of boot space.

Renault Scala CVT  Interiors

Safety

While the Scala is loaded with several comfort and performance features, Renault has also blessed the car with several advanced safety features. Some of these protective safety functions include dual front air bags for the driver and front seat passenger, antilock braking system with emergency brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, automatic door locks that sense current speed, child-proof rear door safety systems, an anti-pinch auto down driver’s window with one-touch up and down function and lastly, an engine immobilizer with a built-in anti theft alarm. These advanced safety and security features surely make this premium sedan a class apart and provides hefty competition to other cars in this segment.

After-sales service

Renault is offering 2+2 years or 80,000 kilometers warranty (whichever comes first) on the Scala, in addition to  3 labour servicing sessions provided at regular intervals. Moreover, the French carmaker is also offering 24/7 road side assistance on the Renault Scala which is another great feature of the after-sales service offered by the company.

Conclusion

The Renault Scala RXL X-tronic CVT comes with a price tag of Rs. 8,99,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) , while the Renault Scala RXZ X-tronic CVT is available at  Rs. 9,89,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi)

While the Renault Scala CVT is certainly going in the right direction, some of the features from the Sunny that have remained untouched (namely, the all-gray interiors and the basic dashboard and instrument cluster) dampen the premium feel of the car.

Renault Scala CVT back view

Also, with regard to performance, the Scala CVT will appeal to only a certain section of customers who would use the car for daily city commuting. As mentioned earlier, the Scala is definitely not meant for high-speed driving on the highway.

So keeping all these things in mind, we can safely conclude that the Renault Scala CVT does a decent job of what it is supposed to do, i.e. a premium sedan ideal for city commuting. However, it will not appeal to all types of consumers.

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