This week we were out and about in the latest, a fourth generation Renault Scenic.
In the eighties the Renault Espace was the very first Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) and in the nineties the smaller Renault Scenic was introduced.
While the Espace had a just ‘out of this world’ look in them days compared to what family cars look liked. The scenic never looked near as beautiful as her older sister was, on the outside anyway.
In the the nineties it was the inside of the scenic that had the appeal to families.
The Scenic was one of the first to offer families three individual seats in the back complete with full three point seat belts. These seats could also move back and forth individually and also had child seat belt systems.
It was a massive step in safety for rear seat passengers and also gave children their own space for their journey.
Safety was one thing the other was the overall amount of combinations that seats could be positioned in.
Four generations on and the scenic is still doing all that so well. But this car is doing it with so much more style now.
20inch alloys are the standard footing for this latest Renault which is still very much a MPV but looks more like a crossover.
The Scenic that we drove had a full moonroof on it as an option which makes this car so spacious to be in.
The new Scenic comes as a five-seater or as a seven-seater called the Grand Scenic .
We drove the five-seater which will probably be the best seller in the range in Ireland, the seven seater gives you a lot more space and seats, but I think there is ample space in the standard five-seater Scenic.
The interior of the Scenic is very plush and fuss free, the driver has a very clear multi-function controls centre in the middle of the dash which does everything but drive the car.
And chatting about driving the car, that is looked after via sensors around the car which will let you know when you drift over the line in the middle of the road in its lane departure warning system, these warnings come up on the dash and also come up on a class pop up screen in front of the driver.
The new Renault has a great selection of power plants in both petrol 1.2 turbo to diesel 1.5 and 1.6 with a wide range of power outputs. Match that up to they way the scenic can change the driving style at the touch of a button on the dash.
I think the most demanding of drivers will find it hard to not be happy with these amazing combinations.
The car we drove cost €32,000 but starts at €27,000 for the basic model. The scenic was the first mid range MPV in the nineties, now complete with the 7-seater Grand the new forth generation Renault is probably the best around.
In the silence of the night a dull sound can be heard, maybe It’s a tumble dryer completing a cycle or even an oil boiler clicking on perhaps.
As the sound ascends the reality of the urgency of the thudding becomes clearer. We live higher on the hillside in Letterkenny than the hospital is three fields below us.
The sound now has slowed up a bit to that of a very fast heart beat.
The night skies light up as the search lights come on as the Irish Coast Guard helicopter comes down from the sky. It will go so close to the roof of our house as it plans it’s landing at the back of Letterkenny General hospital. So many things go through your head listening to that helicopter in the night sky.
Is someone on board in great bother? Where were the air lifted from? Then to listen to the wind and rain outside the window and not being a good air passenger yourself all adds up to a great appreciation of what these emergency crews do.
They always seem to fly in from the west which would suggest that they rescued someone from the Atlantic and bad and all as the wind might seem high up on a hill in Letterkenny hitting against a bedroom window it was ten times worse where they have come from that night.
The beat of the propeller blades has now got slower as the helicopter banks into the wind to find the wind direction before making a final landing safely.
There are nights three helicopters could land at the hospital in Letterkenny and then you might not hear one for a week. Irish and British coastguard helicopters fly over the homes of Letterkenny day and night to the nearest northwesterly hospital along the western sea board, which is Letterkenny General Hospital. Casualties on these rescue helicopters never thought when they got up that morning
that they would end up being airlifted into Letterkenny General Hospital before the day was out . The crews on these helicopters in their professional way prepare for the worse every night they go on duty.
I am sure one if not all four of these Irish Coast guard team that tragically perished west coast of Ireland this week have airlifted casualties safely in to Letterkenny General while on duty for the Irish Coast Guards.
I don’t doubt that causalties who were winched up to safety were reassured through eye contact made by these winch-men and pilots and will never forget that.
I will always think of these brave crew members every time their fellow colleagues fly low over my roof to complete yet another difficult rescue in the middle of the night.
Rest in peace.
And finally: Meeke in short stay carpark!
The hearts of rally fans all missed a beat at the same time at the weekend as Dungannon’s Kris Meeke took the scenic route on his way to his fourth over all win on a world rally.
They were on the final power stage with Dubliner Paul Nagle on the notes as he could be heard calling double caution just as the car took an unmerciful bounce ending up going straight through the hedge.
The all new Citroen C3 was lucky to kiss a CC VW Passat when it eventually landed in the spectator carpark which my well have saved Meeke’s win as the car was about to roll over on to it roof.
The in-car footage looked like a PlayStation game as Meeke could be heard saying , how do we get out of here?
The helicopter that was filming this happening may well have gave the Ulster man and idea where the road was as it hovered in front of him .
Chris spent 30 seconds in the short stay car park before finding a road out, but luck of the Irish was with them both as they managed to finish the stage,with seconds to spare to win the rally outright.
Happy motoring folks