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Renault Modus

Saving the pennies is essential to family motorists on a budget, so finding a model that offers all the economy of a diesel supermini along with the practicality of an MPV is a huge bonus.

If economy is key to your new car choice, Renault's salesmen could use the diesel Modus as their trump card to steer you away from the Honda Jazz. The dCi 80 is well suited to the supermini-MPV, and the car offers frugal and refined family transport.

Saving the pennies is essential to family motorists on a budget, so finding a model that offers all the economy of a diesel supermini along with the practicality of an MPV is a huge bonus.

When you couple that to a great reputation for building strong and refined diesel engines, plus one of the most exciting new car launches of this year, you have what promises to be a seriously capable challenger. But does the oil-burning variant of the Renault Modus live up to our expectations?

We've already praised the supermini-MPV's practical cabin and fresh, funky design, but it's the diesel engine option that will be the newcomer's unique selling point over rivals such as the Honda Jazz. In short, it has to be good..

And it doesn't disappoint. Turn the key, and the dCi engine sounds smooth and quiet even when cold. The excellent refinement continues on the move, and performance is impressive as well, thanks to a power output of 80bhp, combined with 184Nm of torque.

On paper, the 0-62mph sprint time of 13.4 seconds might not seem particularly quick, but the practical Renault feels far from sluggish in everyday driving conditions, with plenty of mid-range urge and low-down pulling power. Our only complaint stems from the awkward gearchange, but otherwise the dCi unit, which is taken from the Clio, seems well suited to the Modus. What's more, fuel economy is class leading. Renault claims a combined consumption figure of 61.4mpg - that's nearly 40 per cent more than the 1.4-litre petrol variant.

At £11,300 in Dynamique trim, the dCi 80 will save buyers £800 over the equivalent petrol model. And although it's also £900 more expensive than the Honda Jazz SE, the fuel savings mean the Modus is sure to satisfy even the most demanding customers.

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