Our long-term Modus dCi 86 left Vic Harman in June 2006 with fond memories of a rather individual, economical, and practical mini MPV. Did he find Renault’s new upsized Grand Modus an even better car?
Six inches longer than the standard Modus, which survives in updated form, Renault’s new Grand Modus isn’t as big as one maybe expects. But with fresh bonnet lines, headlamps, rear lights, and other body changes, the longer Grand Modus now looks less squat and far better proportioned. Internally, little has changed, although the new “soft-touch” dashboard that arrived in 2007 in top trim Dynamique models looks and feels far classier than the original hard plastic. Significant new options are two aviation-style, flipdown roof storage units, and rear seat fold-down tables, supplementing the many existing storage locations.
Wide, tall, easy-opening doors and a high seating position make for easy cabin access and exit – particularly appealing for those lacking in bodily flexibility! Once aboard, the big windows and deep windscreen make for superb vision and easy driving, and add to the big car feel. But I would certainly pass on the test car’s optional dark-tinted rear windows and tailgate that pointlessly spoil otherwise excellent rear vision. Although their synthetic two-tone grey Techno upholstery looks and feels rather cheap, the front seats are really comfortable and generate no bottom-shuffling on even the longest of journeys.
There is significant extra boot space – 305 litres, even with the sliding rear seats in the maximum “generous” leg-room position. The cabin then feels every bit as spacious as cars like the Golf and Astra – surely one of the strongest features of the car? But the clever “Triptic” rear seat option that offered limousine space for two in the rear has gone on the Grand Modus. The maximum 1,454 litres cargo space is most impressive though, as long as the driver can handle the reduced leg room needed for the rear seats to fold and then tumble forwards into the rear foot well.
The power unit pulls well, and smoothly, as do all dCis, and the six-speed gearbox’s changes are better than the rather clunky ones of the five-speed 1.5 dCi 86. But five cogs are arguably quite enough for the flexible engine, and you can often change up from fourth direct into sixth with no real loss of momentum. I recorded fine economy of 54-55mpg over several hundred fairly hard-driven miles, the car cruising comfortably at higher speeds, with notably low road and wind noise, although strong side winds are a touch discomforting. Ride comfort is excellent and the handling, whilst a touch rolypoly, is safe and reassuring.
I found the Grand Modus very appealing, and the £600 asked over the Modus for its extra inches is not unreasonable. But the cabin, whilst comfortable, spacious, and airy, feels a bit cheap in places where only a few pounds could make it feel far classier. The dCi 86 Dynamique is probably the best buy, at a saving of £750 over the tested dCi 106.
ON SALE: Now RANGE STARTS AT : £12,070 for Renault Grand Modus expression dci 86
- Price: £13,720
- Engine: 1461cc 4 cylinder turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 106bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 177lb ft at 2,000rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 850kg
- Combined Consumption: 60.1mpg
- CO 2 Emissions (taxband): 124g/km (C)
- 0-62mph: 11.6secs
- Max speed: 116mph
- Insurance group: 4
Spacious, comfortable, refined, economical. More space than standard Modus
Lacking in stylish image. Cabin could be better quality. Depreciatio