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Renault Grand Modus 2008 Road Test

Wed, 21 May 2008

I liked the original Modus a lot more than I had expected to. Cute, likeable, practical and a good drive summed it up. Now, for the Grand Modus. Renault has stretched it six and a half inches, which doesn’t read like much, but makes a much bigger difference.

Gone is the clever ‘Triptic’ rear seat because, with 160mm more wheelbase, the Grand Modus doesn’t need its back seat to become narrower to slide backwards and forwards. There’s better rear access, too, because the rear doors are also 160mm longer. Combined with the height of the seats and the excellent front access, this makes the Grande Modus ideal for the elderly, or anyone needing good ingress and egress front and back. And, of course, if you slide the seat back you don’t lose space in the centre as you do with the ‘Triptic’ seat, so the Grand Modus remains a 5-seater.

It’s not quite so versatile in the seat folding stakes, though. You can fold down either side of the 60/40 backrest, but to completely free the floorspace you have to unclip the heavy seat sliding mechanism and fold the whole thing forward. That frees up 1,454 litres of loadspace compared to 1,283 in the standard length Modus.

The obvious engine of choice is the 86PS 1.5 diesel because that comes in at 119g/km, so £35pa VED this year and £30 next year, whether you go for the three-pedal manual or the two-pedal ‘Quickshift’. Next lower emissions is the DCI 106 at 124g/km, so £120 this year down to £90 next year. Next, the 1.2 petrol engines, either non-turbo or turbo and both at 140g/km, so £120 this year down to £110 next year. And finally the 1.6 with ‘proper’ 4-speed torque converter automatic at 179g/km, so £170 tax this year and £205 next year.

I think the extra 6 inches makes the grand Modus handle better. It’s certainly a lot more grippy and more fun than you’d expect this kind of car to be. Combine that with decent hump absorption, a good seating position, clear instruments and ease of entry and egress and it becomes a pretty good retirement car. On the one hand you can get elderly people in and out easily. On the other you can fold the seats for carting garden rubbish to the tip (or whatever else you need 1,454 litres of loadspace for. It’s economical turning in over 60mpg (from the DCI 86). It’s cheap to tax. And you can actually enjoy driving it.

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