Renault finally has taken off in India with the launch of the Duster. The French automaker is now in the limelight with the Duster clocking 15,000 bookings, quite possibly outnumbering the total sales by post-Mahindra Renault till date.
Now is the right time to bring in another mass market product to ride the wave of success.
When Renault decided to go solo in India, they announced the launch of 5 products in a very short time. The first two products, Fluence and Koleos, were brand builders. The next two products Pulse and Duster were meant for more affordable segments. The final vehicle in this draw is for a segment that is growing at 12% every year.
But it cannot be just any sedan. It needs to be carefully selected to meet all needs of India. We have already discussed why Renault cannot get the next generation Dacia Logan to India. The next best option is to re-badge the Nissan Sunny, an extremely capable sedan developed to be on sale in more than 100 markets across the globe. In fact, in recent times the Nissan Sunny was the only sedan to come close to dethroning the mighty Hyundai Verna.
But before the Nissan Sunny was rebadged into the Renault Scala, it needs to be comprehensively redesigned to make sure that it looks a bit more premium than its cousin. So the Nissan Sunny was sent to the Renault’s design studio to make it more Renault and less Nissan.
The Renault Scala is born ready to take on bigwigs such as Honda City, Ford Fiesta and the like.
The Renault Scala is based on the ‘V’ platform which supports the Micra/Pulse twins as well. The ‘V’ stands for versatility because it can house a hatchback, sedan as well as a compact/mini MPV (Note replacement that won't make it to India).
It is also versatile enough to accommodate customer requirements of all global markets whether RHD, LHD, diesel, petrol, Euro 3 to 6, and worldwide crash test requirements including the US, EU and Japan. Thus, you can see that the Scala is a based on a world-class product.
Unlike the Nissan Sunny whose design was executed to please people all across the globe, the Renault Scala gets a more edgier and sporty design. Major transformation have occurred to the front fascia to keep it in line with Renault’s design philosophy in India.
The headlamps have been revised and they have a slight reminiscence of the Fiat Viaggio. The Scala gets the same hexagonal grill featured on the Pulse. Very conservative usage of chrome on the grille makes it look very aesthetic. A redesigned front bumper houses different fog lamps and fog lamp enclosures making it look much better than the Japanese cousin.
Coming to the side profile, you will notice that no major changes have been done to the Sunny’s side profile. Sure, it gets new 15’ inch alloys and a small chrome strip on the windows but they don’t make any big differences. Having said that, this is ‘The CAAAR’ so the side profile is stretched long enough to give the Toyota Corolla a run for the money.
The 185/70 tyres look very meaty on the Scala. The ORVM is electrically adjustable and foldable as well.
They lack turn indicators which can be fitted as an accessory from the dealer. Nonetheless, they provide good all round visibility. The door handles have sensors for key less entry. Every feature engineered for the Sunny has been carried over to the Scala.
The rear has been revamped to make it look different from the Sunny.
Some would say that rear looks a bit like the Mercedes S Class with the revamped tail lamps and a chrome strip running across the rear fascia with ‘SCALA’ badge. Also, unlike the Nissan Sunny, the rear bumper is dual tone. You can fit a chrome tip exhaust as a dealer accessory.
Overall, the Renault Scala manages to overcome the Nissan Sunny’s vanilla and bulbous design.
The new design is more athletic and premium making it stand out in the parking lot.
The Nissan Sunny was criticized for a conservative and restrained design. The Scala definitely looks upmarket and premium for Renault India to be able to charge a premium over its Japanese sibling.