For 2013, rather than leaving the Dacia Duster to steal the SUV limelight on its own, Renault is tapping into the trend for off-road-look inspired cars. It isn’t the first time the French marque has dipped its toe in the area. Most recently, it sold the Conquest special edition of the five-seat Scénic. Prior to that, there was the highly acclaimed RX4, however, that did offer full off-road 4×4 capability.

The new crossover-inspired version, XMOD, is a more rugged variant of the French brand’s iconic MPV, yet retains its trademark practicality and ease-of-use. It has unique wheels and striking front and rear bumpers, and black roof bars.

It also comes with additional equipment over its Scénic sister car. It debuts Renault’s new advanced traction control system, Grip Xtend. Coupled with specific Continental mud and snow tyres, it also features body protection mouldings, giving it the outdoor look and feel. Mud and snow tyres are for all year round use, featuring specific tread patterns which aid the evacuation of mud, snow and sand in more difficult driving conditions.

Its boot capacity is up to 555 litres with the rear seats slid forward, rising to 1,870 with the rear seats removed completely, one of the biggest in its class. Additionally, no less than 86 litres of additional stowage space are cleverly spread around the cabin. New Scénic XMOD offers simple, effective and fast modularity: the seats are independent, folding and removable to provide a host of seating configurations for the occupants.

One version of Scenic XMOD Expression+ also has the 1.5 dCi 110 available without Stop & Start if a customer prefers to not specify it on cost grounds. Renault’s six-speed EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) transmission is available on the 1.5 dCi 110, unlike the hot Clios, without paddleshifters.

The crossover-inspired Scénic XMOD, starting from £17,955, comes in two well-equipped trim levels, Expression+ and Dynamique TomTom.