Renault Modus Hatchback (2008 - ) review
Read the Renault Grand Modus MPV (2008 - 2012) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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The extra length to the rear, just 160mm, has made all the difference to the overall appeal of the Renault Grand Modus. The cabins remain similar in size, yet the Grand appears to be better proportioned than its shorter sibling. The Modus desperately needed this option in its armoury because the segment it now competes in is a fickle one and demands well designed and thought out cars. Renault can now successfully challenge the likes of the Citroen C3 Picasso and the quirky Skoda Roomster, both styled for a broader and more fashion conscious audience.
Having a cabin full of soft touch materials allows the Grand Modus to exude the warmest of greetings on first entering, even if it is a bit on the basic side. There are lots of clever cubbyholes and compartments including under-floor storage to keep the clutter at bay. From the driver’s perspective it takes just seconds to get acquainted with the simple to use controls and instrumentation.
The versatile rear seats, which can either be folded down flat or flipped up and pushed forwards to sit behind the front seats, open up the Grand Modus to endless possibilities. Even with the rear seats in their upright position the cargo area will quite happily swallow a week’s-worth of shopping or several suitcases. For those in the rear the larger boot area provides a smidgen more leg space, although anyone over six feet tall still might feel a bit cramped.
Ride and handling
The Grand Modus isn’t as much fun to drive as a Nissan Note or Skoda Roomster, but it isn’t especially taxing either. Thankfully, unlike the Picasso, the Grand Modus hasn’t been given the soft suspension set-up the French tend to install on cars of this type. Corners can be taken with verve, as it doesn’t get upset by speed humps, and motorways are there to be relished.
There are five engines to choose from. Starting with the entry level 1.2-litre petrol unit and working up through the range to the auto-only 1.6-litre, it’s the 1.5dCi diesel in either 86 or 108bhp forms that prove to be the best suited to the Grand Modus, even more so the higher output version. This is same low-revving engine found in the Clio and it never fails to disappoint.
All the engines in the range are economical and even the automatic 1.6-litre can return a useful 47mpg. Across the board, servicing only needs to take place every 12,000 miles. Insurance ratings are competitive and road tax is cheap thanks to low emissions.
This has been an Achilles’ heel for Renault in the past, but the company is committed to becoming one of the best manufacturers for reliability and durability. The Grand Modus is one of the models that should benefit from this renewed commitment, so it should perform much better than previous models.
The Grand Modus was awarded the maximum five stars in the tougher EuroNCAP crash tests, introduced in 2009. This new overall rating covers adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and a new area of assessment: safety assist. All models get ABS and ESP, as well as six airbags.
There are two trim levels to choose from: either the Expression or the top-end, higher spec, Dynamique. All models come equipped with air-con, remote central locking, a split folding and sliding rear seat, electric front windows and trip computer. A leather steering wheel and gear knob are part of the Dynamique package, as are a set of 15-inch alloys and electric door mirrors.
Renault’s Grand Modus is the car it always should have been. It is highly practical, cheap to run and, if Renault sticks to its promise, a lot more reliable.