BEAUTIFUL autumnal amber is the colour that dominates the Cotswolds at present, as it does many parts of rural Britain.
And, by happy coincidence, amber happened to be the colour of this week’s drive, the Renault Scénic XMOD — hence the nicely colour-co-ordinated photographs you see on this page!
Of course the colour of the test car on this particular week of the year when autumn colours are at their best was my good luck.
I have written before about colour and cars, especially about the changing tastes in the various shades of new cars.
We all know that red was one of the most durably popular colours because it bodes well in residual values — when you come to sell the car on.
But can the colour of a car be regarded as a fashion statement? Well, a few years ago, car industry trendsetters at the Geneva Motor Show — always a stylish affair — declared that white was the new black.
So today we have a plethora of white cars on our roads from the most expensive to humble super-minis. Indeed, I would say that the majority of the test cars I get to drive these days are white.
But we also are getting new cars coming on the market where the choice of colour for the buyer is bigger than it has ever been.
And this covers cars that are increasingly being turned out in two-tone colours with matching wing mirrors.
In that sense, the bespoke model where colour becomes an important and personalised option, is establishing itself as the car of the future.
Actually the Scénic’s colour was described as Saffron Yellow, a colour exclusive to the new Scénic XMOD.
As far as I was concerned for this article the colour of this Renault was the real deal: it was what Aussies call the “Amber Nectar” when referring to a favourite brand of beer.
The Scénic is one of Renault’s most successful 21st century models. As it reaches its third generation of production the French carmaker has introduced from this year the crossover-look inspired Scénic XMOD. This is the rugged one, with Grip Xtend advanced traction control and mud and snow tyres.
Bearing in mind the winters we have been experiencing of late, this Scénic could be an opportune buy.
I did not get a chance to test the XMOD in snow but there were a few rural rides where the car excelled in handling and determination.
This comes from the bullish engines employed in the Scénic, whichever version you choose. There are five engines (three petrol and two diesel) to choose from, including debuts in Scénic for the new direct-injection 1.2 TCe (Turbo Control Efficiency) 115 and 130 petrol and 1.5 dCi 110 Stop and Start.
The 1.6 dCi 130 is, says Renault, the “world’s most powerful engine of its type for its size at launch”. This is also economical and with Stop and Start, 64.2mpg (combined cycle) can be achieved with CO2 emissions of 114g/km.
One of the early Scénics I liked was the RX4, which was a chunky, rugged version, but this new XMOD is a far more sophisticated beast.
With raised ground clearance and special alloy wheels, the car features special front and rear bumpers, sill guards and chrome-finish roof bars across the range.
The new front end incorporates Renault’s new design identity and signature LED daytime running lights.
The new Scénic XMOD is the first vehicle in the Renault range to feature the all-new Grip Xtend system. This traction control system helps the vehicle to grip the road in mud, sand and snow. The driver can manually activate a rotary control positioned on the centre console, choosing the type of technical assistance he needs from the car to suit motoring conditions.
For example, in “Expert” mode, Grip Xtend manages the braking system, while leaving the driver in full control of engine torque (pulling power).
The “Road” mode offers conventional traction control settings, while the “Loose Ground” mode “optimises braking control and engine torque control as a function of available grip”.
So for an autumnal rural ride — and for those who want a Scénic with more “bite” — the XMOD could fit the bill.
*Car tested: Renault Scénic XMOD
*On-the-road price: from £17,955 to £22,100
*Option Packs include: Relax+: dark carbon leather upholstery, heated front seats, height adjustable passenger seat and electrically adjustable driver’s seat
*Safety: electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors and front/rear parking sensors
*Luxury BOSE+ available on XMOD, including highlights such as: 17in MESA alloy wheels, longitudinal roof bars, folding passenger seat, suede and synthetic leather upholstery and of course, BOSE sound system with nine speakers
*Other single options include: Dual Zone climate control, metallic paint and electric panoramic sunroof with sunblind.