Renault’s recent success with the Duster SUV has put them in the lime-light with more and more prospective new car owners, across segments, getting to know about the French brand. Continuing on the same lines of success, the company’s 5th product for Indian after the Fluence, Koleos, Pulse and the Duster will be another high volume product that will be positioned in the Rs 6 to 9 lac bracket and as expected, it is based on the Nissan Sunny – the new Scala. In terms of looks the front end of the Scala looks very similar to the Pulse and that is not a bad thing at all. Infact, so good is the design tweak with the new grille and the huge hexagonal black insert, the Sunny in comparison looks a little bland.
The Pulse derived headlamps look great too though the side profile of the car remains unchanged. At the rear, thankfully, unlike the Pulse, changes have been done as well with tweaked tail-lamps that have a ‘C’ shaped silver insert / reflector and ofcourse the horizontal chrome garnish with the Scala graving. The interiors of the Scala remained unchanged and same as the Nissan Sunny apart from ofcourse the big Renault logo on the steering wheel. However Renault will also be offering leather seats as optional for that premium-touch. The Scala retains all the plus points of the Sunny in terms of ergonomics, quality and segment leading knee and leg room.
Top end versions get rear air blower, steering mounted controls, electronically foldable mirrors, start-stop, rear arm rests. The Renault Scala comes powered with the same engine options as the Nissan Sunny which means for petrol heads, the 1.5-litre motor with 99PS of power and 134Nm of torque does duties here. It is extremely efficient with an ARAI rating of over 16kmpl. Interestingly, Renault is also offering a segment first CVT automatic transmission with the petrol engine option. It goes without saying that the diesel will be the higher seller and comes with same 1.5-litre dCi motor as the Sunny that puts out 86PS of power and a very healthy 200Nm of torque. This is a gem of a motor and pulls very cleanly from as low as 1400rpm with minimal turbo-lag. The Nissan Sunny was always a very comfort oriented car and this one is no different. The long wheelbase aids in the overall stability and during our high speed drive on the Himalayan Expressway, the Scala remained poised and calm at triple digit speeds.
During the drive over some broken patches around Shimla, I personally found the suspension to be a tad better than that of the Sunny and it seems the good guys at Renault had played around with the suspension for extra comfort too. Round the flowing curves and corners of the Shimla highway, the Scala did prove to be a decent handler and gives it main role of comfort, this behaviour is completely acceptable. ABS is also standard across all models. Prices start at Rs 6.99 lakhs to 8.7 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi. Renault has launched the Automatic versions of the Scala sedan (petrol engine only) and announced the prices. The automatic version is around a lac more than the manual transmission and this steep premium is due to the modern technology it uses. Renault has used the patented X-Tronic transmission in the Scala in order to give the best to the Indian consumer – for example, the automatic Scala is more efficient that its manual sibling. This technology, according to the company, helps in reducing the notorious rubber band effect that is associated with CVT transmissions. The Scala Automatic is priced at Rs 8.99 lakhs to 9.89 lakhs ex-showroom. For a detailed analysis read below.