BY ASSOCIATION, there is expectation.
When you associate your brand with another, you expect the best features of both brands to come together to be more than the sum of its parts.
Well, that’s the expectation.
Renault has built itself into a global automotive player by forging alliances and disrupting the status quo of established business models. By teaming up with Nissan and Mitsubishi, Carlos Ghosn, who was hired to turn the French company around, saved the day, and was the knight in shining armour.
While his subsequent arrest takes the shine off his efforts, the resurgence of the brands shows that thinking differently and leveraging on the stengths of others can’t be all bad.
That thinking could have been behind Renault’s decision to lock sonic arms with BOSE.
For those who can recall the early days of BOSE, its speakers caused quite a stir with the quality of their output. Since then, there have been several competitors on the scene, and the shift in listening habits has also pushed the American brand to become more mass market than it probably intended to be.
But then, the entire audio scene has been digitised, reduced for headphone listening and wireless audio.
Still, by associating itself with an audio brand, you’d expect sound that is way better than what you’d get in the regular Grand Scenic.
Renault is so convinced with this collaboration, it’s got the BOSE branding on the body and the running board.
The Scenic made waves as the first MPV to hit the road, two decades ago. Having sold 5 million units worldwide, the MPVs must continue to find favour in a dynamic environment.
You’d think the seven-seater offers a good platform for enhanced sound, with lots of volume within, and a panoramic glass dome to lie back and possibly gaze at the stars (if you can see any in all that light pollution).
But turn on the BOSE system, and you are hard pressed to be impressed. There is no wow factor or spatial effects to be enjoyed, let alone give you goose bumps.
Fortunately, the Grand Scenic BOSE is still a good diesel runner if you’ve a lot of people or things to cart around.
Endowed with heaps of storage, if you’d like to keep things out of sight, there are storage spots underfloor, along with several other cubby holes.
It now has a head up display and massage functions in the front seats which are great for long runs. For those living across the Causeway, that would be quite handy.
The 1.5L turbo diesel engine is a willing performer. Added to the quick response, there are more driving options to choose from, easily accessed by a button on the centre console. Not that there’s a huge difference between the various driving modes, but it’s a nice to have.
Besides the BOSE affiliation, the Grand Scenic is pushing its versatile space configuration and a tablet-sized display which may or may not appeal, since it looks like it’s been slapped on as a highlight feature, instead of being integrated into the console.
The 8.7″ touchscreen would be delightful for the Millennials and susbequent generations since it keeps to the smartphone concepts, but would certainly alarm the luddite since finding things requires a lot of sliding and poking.
The system does let you store six different driver profiles, which oddly are not synchronised with the stylish white key fob. It’s nice to be greeted by the door automatically unlocking and the wings turning out, but it would be nicer if the seats and media settings could also be adjusted in the process.
For what would be a big car for some drivers, the Grand Scenic handles quite smartly.
It’s also equipped with helpful aids — blind spot monitoring, hands-free auto parking, parking sensors, rear view camera, cruise control — so that you are warned before doing potential damage.
Watch out for the recently announced high-end limited-edition Grand Scenic Black Edition. Not sure if it will be available in right hand drive, or if it will even make it to Wearnes’ showroom here.
The BOSE model costs an additional $8K, for which you get lots of BOSE badging, a head up display and special rims that are standard across this variant.
RENAULT GRAND SCENIC BOSE RATING:
Engine: Turbocharged Euro 6 diesel
Max Power: 81kW@4,000rpm
Max Torque: 260Nm@1,750rpm
VES Band: A2
0-100kmh: 13.2 seconds
Top Speed: 184kmh
Retail price: *$134,999
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
Read more STORM car reviews HERE.