Take a look at Renault’s latest grand design! The Modus has grown up with a version that promises to right the wrongs of its smaller sibling.
Called the Grand Modus, it’s a super-sized evolution of the freshly facelifted Modus. It takes its inspiration from the Grand versions of the Espace and Scenic, so offers a bigger boot and more practical seating set-up than the standard car.
The changes haven’t ruined the supermini-MPV’s styling. It has similar bodywork to the original model, but the new headlamps bring it up to date. From the family nose, along the sweeping roofline to the rear door, the mini people carrier is every inch a standard-bearer for the French company’s design philosophy – but how does it measure up inside?
By adding 93mm to the wheelbase and 160mm to the length, Renault has given the Grand extra space in the rear, plus a couple of advantages over its smaller stablemate.
The additional room means that there is now up to 117 litres more boot space, with a maximum capacity of 1,454 litres when the sliding rear bench is folded flat. The set-up also means the car can now comfortably fit three in the rear, although shortened runners mean maximum legroom has been reduced slightly.
Inside, the cabin is basic but well built. The central instrument binnacle has a simple design that’s easy to read, and there are plenty of clever storage spaces, including a handbag-sized cubbyhole located under the front passenger seat squab.
The elevated driving position pro-vides a clear view of the road ahead, and the car’s high roofline also ensures that visibility is good. A panoramic sunroof helps keep the cabin feeling light and airy, too.
Standard safety features include electronic stability control, a tyre-pressure monitoring system and full three-point seatbelts. The Dynamique spec model that we drove also has a trip computer, curtain airbags, foglights, leather steering wheel trim and soft-touch plastics.
Light but responsive steering and a slick five-speed gearbox mated
to the all-new 1.2-litre TCE (Turbo Control Efficiency) petrol engine mean the Grand Modus is perfect for nipping around town. But it can run out of steam a little when cruising along the motorway, where inclines and overtaking manoeuvres are best tackled by shifting down a gear.
The ride is smooth and comfortable, and while the car is unsettled by really big bumps, for the most part it is easy to drive and uncomplicated.
The new TCE unit replaces the firm’s old 1.4-litre petrol engine. Yet while it offers decent pace and economy, in our experience, the real-life mpg achieved by larger diesels – such as the 1.5-litre dCi 86 or 106 offered in the Modus – typically comes closer to industry figures than turbo petrol engines.
Prices start at £10,250 for the entry-level 1.2-litre 75bhp petrol in Expression trim, rising to £13,400 for the range-topping 1.5-litre dCi 106 Dynamique. A 111bhp, 1.6-litre VVT is also available with an automatic gearbox for £13,150, and there’s the option to add the Quickshift5 clutchless manual to the dCi 86.
Overall, the Grand Modus is a capable contender – and with its larger boot and spacious rear seats, it’s more desirable than the standard car.
Even so, the competition in this sector of the market means Renault can’t take anything for granted, even with a model as grand as this.
Rival: Nissan Note
A spacious and versatile interior, plus Nissan’s impeccable build quality, still make our current champ a favourite. But you’ll have to pay slightly more for the privilege.
* Price: £11,850
* Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl petrol turbo
* Power: 100bhp
* 0-62mph: 11.4 seconds
* Economy: 47.8mpg
* Emissions: 140g/km
* Standard equipment: Electronic stability control, ABS, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, active headlamps
* On sale: February