Renault Scala Review
Aggressive SedanThursday, June 6, 2013
Renault has recently launched their entry level sedan known as Scala. It’s the second re-badged car from Renault after Pulse. It was quite expected that Renault will soon roll out a rebadged Sunny but its name was not revealed. The name sounds extremely new but the car isn’t new completely. Scala is the modified version of Nissan Sunny. You can easily notice how much both cars resemble to each other. Nissan Sunny has not been a hit straightaway in Indian car market but now it’s slowly picking up the pace. Scala will have a direct competition with its cousin Nissan Sunny and others like Skoda Rapid, Volkswagen Vento and Honda City.
It is quite surprising that Renault India is not launching a car which is actually made by the company or for which Renault is known for. The other cars launched by Renault India are Pulse (based on Nissan Micra), Duster (based on Dacia Duster), Fluence and Koleos are also sold by Samsung outside India. But one thing is admirable that the designers at Renault are very expert in giving new look to the cars. Renault Pulse looks much better in comparison to the Nissan Micra. Same is the case with Renault Scala; it looks much bigger and better when compared to the Nissan Sunny. Both the cars share same platform, engines, suspension, gearbox and same interiors sans the steering wheel with Renault logo. Will Scala be a more acceptable car than Sunny? Let’s know more about the differences between these two cousins.
Renault Scala Exterior
Two things are noticeable when you see Scala for the first time. First it’s a Renault car as it gets the typical French flair on its exterior and secondly its face which looks like the matured version of Pulse and doesn’t resemble much to Sunny. Remember how Renault made Pulse look much aggressive than Micra, similarly Scala retains that look and looks much sportier than Sunny. Scala looks a well proportionate car. The face of this car is its USP as it looks very sophisticated and stylish. It has that same black colored bumper grille which adds the manly character to this car. Similar to Pulse, the biggest changes are made to Scala’s bumper grille and headlights.
Renault wants it to look more aerodynamic and high class. The black bumper grille sports a big air dam and twin layered chrome strips on it with a full size Renault logo on it. Fog lights and surrounds remains the same as that of Sunny. Scala is exactly Nissan Sunny when viewed from side angle. Renault has not changed anything in this car except for the 15 inch new alloy wheels. Otherwise it has that same chrome outside door handles, small wheel arches and that irritating rear overhang. Personally we never liked Sunny or Scala in this case from its side. That boot just doesn’t fit in properly. Rear styling of Scala has been improved in comparison to Nissan Sunny. Noticeable changes include usage of black color in rear bumper which makes it look less bulky as we have seen before in Pulse. Tail lights have prominent C shape in them which is well adjusted with a big chrome bar on its trunk sporting Scala on it. The car visually looks much better than its cousin but to many it may not look as premium as other competitors including Skoda Rapid and Fiat Linea.
Fast Facts about Renault Scala
- Launched on 7th September, 2012
- Available in six variants
- Available in both diesel and petrol
- Base variant of Scala petrol is priced at Rs. 6.99 lakhs
- Top model of Scala diesel is priced at Rs. 9.57 lakhs
- In comparison to the Nissan Sunny, the interiors are exactly same sans the 'Renault' logo
- Top variants comes with host of safety features like dual airbags, ABS plus EBD
- Powered by same engines that are doing duty under the hood of Nissan Sunny
- Looks much better and proportionate in comparison to Nissan Sunny
- Warranty of 2+2 year/80000 km, whichever is earlier
Renault Scala Interior
Open the door, enter into Scala and keep on searching for the clues which will tell you that it’s not a Nissan Sunny. That’s the level of resemblance which interiors of this car shares with Sunny. Except for few color changes and Renault logo on that circular three spoke steering wheel, it’s hard to believe if Scala is a new car. Many things inside like chrome door handles, door pads and some of the buttons are picked from its younger sibling, Pulse. The grey colors inside gives it a dull effect. At this price Renault could have opted for dual tone interiors. However it has easy to read all new dials and Multi Information Display. Gear knob and steering wheel is wrapped in leather with premium leather upholstery. The fit and finish inside Scala is much better than cars like Toyota Etios but cars like Skoda Rapid and VW Vento feels a class apart from inside when compared to it.
Comfort and Convenience
Space and Comfort has been a USP of Sunny. Similarly Renault’s Scala is also stretched in size which makes it a very comfortable car. The front and rear legroom is marvellous. Even with full seating of five you never run out of space. The car is wide enough and gives you a generous shoulder room. The material used in the seats is very comfortable. It gives ample amount of back support although rear passengers may notice less under thigh support. Scala has a tilt-able power steering with adjustable driver seat. ORVM’s are electrically adjustable and fold-able. It also has an engine start/stop button with multi-functional smart key. Power windows are standard on this car with anti-pinch power window and one touch auto up and down function on driver side. Renault Scala features an automatic climate control system with air quality filter. Many of Scala's owners will be sitting at the back and Renault has taken special care of them. It has rear adjustable comfort blowers with a rear seat centre armrest for optimum comfort. It also has other features like rear defogger with timer, follow me type headlights and key off reminder.
Dashboard and Storage
The dashboard carries the grey color theme on it. The texture, design and positioning of things is identical to Sunny. Some of the bits like the lower part of center console, circular AC vents and area around ground glove box are from its younger sibling which looks down-market in comparison to others. No storage space except a glove box on it with 2 cup holders on console. The rear seat armrest also has 2 cup holders. There are door pockets and back pockets on front seats. There is adequate amount of space at the back as it has a boot capacity of 490 ltr which is very acceptable for this segment.
Music System of Renault Scala
Renault Scala comes loaded with an audio system integrated in its central console. It’s a radio, CD and MP3 player. It also has an in-built AUX-in port for direct connectivity of music gadgets. There are four speakers incorporated with this music system. Unlike Pulse, Scala has steering mounted audio controls which are very much expected at this price. There is an additional 12V accessory socket in this car.
Engine and Gearbox
Renault Scala is offered with two engines and it shares them with Nissan Sunny. It has one engine each for petrol and diesel. The petrol unit on this car is a 1.5L DOHC 4cylinder engine. Scala is the first car in Renault family to use this engine. It’s capable of producing 97 bhp of power at 6000 rpm with a maximum torque output of 134 Nm coming at 4000 rpm. We wonder how many cars will be powered by this 1.5L K9K diesel engine in India. Except Koleos, every car of Renault is equipped with this engine including Scala. This engine yields out a maximum power and torque output of 84.8 bhp and 200 Nm coming at 3750 rpm and 2000 rpm respectively. These both engines are mated with five speed manual gearbox. Recently, Renault launched Scala automatic in India which features Xtronic CVT gearbox and it is available in two variants - RxL and RxZ.
Acceleration and Performance
First let’s talk about its diesel engine. This engine is less powerful than most of its competitors on papers and on road also. We agree it’s a refined engine with good low and mid-range but its high range is disappointing. Once you pass 3000 rpm, there is not much left in this engine and trust us to reach there you will have to work on it. May be its gear ratios are not well proportioned as with full seating of five, there is major turbo lag and you will have to wait till the car reaches 2000 rpm. Meanwhile if you rev it hard, it does get noisy and vibrations can be felt. It may reach a top speed of 160km/hour but that takes a long time than others as it does 0-100km/hour in 16seconds. We don’t think this car can stand in front of cars like Skoda Rapid and VW Vento which are complete ripper with their diesel engines.
The refinement level and power delivery of those engine can’t be matched by this car. However it feels better than cars like Toyota Etios and Tata Manza in terms of performance. The petrol unit feels faster than its diesel version and manages to impress you. Scala’s light weight gives it an upper hand in this department. The power to weight ratio of this car is better than many of its competitors and it’s quite evident as there is minimal turbo lag in this engine. The car responses well at half throttle and gear ratios seem to be perfectly matched with this engine. It is very silent and responsive. It reaches 100km/hour in less than 13 seconds with a whacking top speed of 175km/hr. The turbo kicks in very soon and you don’t have to wait, specially overtaking on highways is much better than its diesel version. It is very satisfactory but it still lacks the power pack performance which you get in Honda’s i-vtec engine which never runs short of power. It’s better than cars; like Toyota Etios, Chevy Aveo and few others but it can’t pass cars like Skoda Rapid, Hyundai Verna and Honda City. We wish if it had more power to spice up things in its segment.
Renault Scala Mileage
The light weight and less powerful engines of this car allow it to be a fuel efficient car. The petrol 1.5L engine gives you a mileage of around 10-11km/ltr in city conditions while around 15km/ltr on highways can be expected with this car. The diesel version is also very fuel efficient and gives a better fuel efficiency than others. It gives you a mileage of around 13km/ltr in city conditions and on highways things get better as these figures can reach up to 17km/ltr.
Ride and handling
Scala feels quite confident in this department as its ride and handling is very pleasing. The steering used in Scala with a turning radius of 5.3m is very responsive and accurate. It helps it to move smoothly in city traffic. According the size of this car, suspension system works really well as you hardly feel any bump inside and it easily passes big potholes. It has a ground clearance of 161mm which has improved marginally in comparison to Pulse. Thanks to its stretched wheel base of 2600 mm and R15 size of tyres, Scala remains grounded at high speeds and sharp corners. There is minor body roll due to its bulky rear overhang, otherwise this car is nice on highways as well as on city roads.
Braking and Safety Features
Nissan Sunny, the top model of Scala (Diesel RxZ) comes with host of active and passive safety features like dual front airbags, ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution). Scala has ventilated disk brakes at its front with drum brakes at the back. Even the base variants of Scala come equipped with single driver side airbag and ABS plus EBD. Other features include speed sensing auto door lock and anti-theft device with alarm.
Renault Scala is available in six attractive shades: Solid Black, Pearl White, Metallic Blue, Metallic Red, Metallic Silver and Flipped Grey. Like other cars in this segment, Scala looks best in white shade, though it is also available in bright shades like metallic red and metallic blue.
Variants of Renault Scala
Renault Scala is available in six variants: four of petrol and two of diesel. Variant names are same like Renault Pulse, low-end variant ‘RxE’, mid-spec ‘RxL’ and high-end ‘RxZ’. Renault Scala Petrol is available in two variants: RxE, RxL and diesel model of Scala is available in two variants: RxL and top-of-the-line RxZ. The base model RxE of Scala petrol comes equipped with host of features like keyless entry, tilt adjustable electric power steering, AC, rear AC vents, rear armrest with cup holders, Integrated Audio System 4 Speakers AM/FM, CD, MP3&AUX Port, Multi Information Display, Tachometer, Headlight ON Reminder Buzzer, Key Left Reminder, Remote Trunk Opening, Single airbag, ABS plus EBD, Engine Immobiliser, Anti-Theft Device, Anti Pinch Power Window On Driver-side, Body Color Door Mirrors, Full Wheel Cover, Digital Clock, 12V Power Outlet, Cabin Lamp & Trunk Lamp.
In addition to these features, the RxL variant of Scala comes equipped with Electric Adjustable ORVMs, Automatic Climate Control, Height Adjustable Driver Seat, Steering Mounted Audio controls, Outside Temperature Display, Passenger Airbag, Rear Window Defogger, Chrome outside Door Handles, 15" Alloy Wheels, Chrome Plated Inside Door Handles, Reading Lamp. The top-of-the-line RxZ variant of Scala comes with these additional features: Multi-functional Smart Key, Programmed Service Reminder, Remote Trunk Opening (Inside Lever + smart key), Variable Intermittent Front Wiper, Front Fog Lamps, Chrome Finish Radiator Grille, Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel and Gear Knob.
Renault Scala Price
Renault India has priced Scala on the higher side in comparison to the Nissan Sunny, like they did with Renault Pulse to place the car in the premium category. Renault Scala’s base variant is priced at Rs. 6.99 lakhs, which is approx. one lakh more in comparison to the base model of Nissan Sunny. To justify this, Renault India has offered more comfort and convenience features in the base model of Scala. The range of Scala diesel starts from 8.69 lakhs for the base model and top-of-the-line Scala diesel RxZ is available for Rs. 9.57 lakhs. Let's see how many Indian customers are willing to pay more when they can own same car (Sunny) by paying less.
Renault claims a warranty program of 2+2yeras/80,000kms on Scala.
Similar to Pulse; we think Renault has overpriced this car. Scala is a much expensive car than its cousin Sunny and many other competitors. At this price no doubt, you get a perky petrol and efficient diesel engine with a bit new French styling but why would you spend extra money on this car when you can have a much cheaper Sunny available with similar engines and performance. Both Sunny and Scala looks almost identical and there is no reason to say that Scala will prompt anyone to buy it for its exclusivity.
The biggest problem with this car is Renault’s poor brand image which affects its maintenance and resale value. At this price there are many cars like Soda Rapid, Hyundai Verna and even Honda City with their powerful engines, good service network and resale value. They are well tested and trusted cars with much appealing styling. Yes there are some advantages of this car like its space, comfort and solid build quality but that’s not enough to make it a worthy car. Renault Scala is a good option for those who dare to try new changes; otherwise majority of people will stick to their old favourites.