Crossovers are taking over the world. It’s estimated that, within the next few years, they could account for as much as 50% of global car sales.

Every other sector of the market has taken a hit as a result, but the one that’s probably suffered most is the people carrier. Some manufacturers have abandoned the format entirely, while others are modelling their latest models on crossovers. The fifth generation of the Renault Espace – the original MPV – is one such, which makes it somewhat surprising that the new, fourth-gen Renault Scenic looks very much like a traditional MPV.

The Scenic nameplate celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and, in its three generations, has shifted nearly five million units. Sales have slowed in recent years, partly because crossover buyers tend to be the same that used to buy small MPVs, and partly because the current car is decidedly long in the tooth.

Renault hasn’t revealed any technical details about the new car – they will come when it debuts at the Geneva Motor Show next week – but it is known to share its chassis with the Megane hatchback, as previous generations have.

Crossover influences aren’t entirely absent, the Scenic featuring higher ground clearance, a shorter rear overhang and a wider track than the outgoing car. Similar tricks were employed for the bigger Espace but, in these pictures at least, the effect doesn’t appear as pronounced. According to Renault: “The new Scenic redefines MPV thinking with a fresh approach to the segment’s traditional cues.”

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By Only Motors