Longer Modus is usefully more versatile, spacious and feature-laden, but still lacks character
17 December 2007

What is it?

It’s a longer version of the Renault Modus. Sixteen centimetres longer to be exact. As is well known, the Modus has been a bit of a disappointment to Renault as sales have been seriously short of targets.

Quite why buyers have shunned away from it I have never worked out, but on the other hand I didn’t find it as special as a small Renault should be when I first drove it. Renault asked a few questions itself and came back with the answer from punters that it was too short and lacking in space.

No problem, said Renault, we’ve done this trick before with our Scenic and Espace. We’ll stretch it and call the longer version the Grand Modus. And this is the result. While it was on the case Renault also facelifted the current Modus and fitted it with a new angled rear screen that has increased boot volume by 19-litres to 1302-litres in all.

The Grand Modus is easily spotted by its extra window next to the C-pillar. What you get for your extra length is a luggage space that, at 410-litres with the seats up, is almost 50 per cent bigger than the standard Modus’s. The rear seats fold down to give a maximum capacity of 1454-litres and a maximum load length of 1278mm.

What's it like?

Well it’s still not love, but as with the original Modus there isn’t anything about it, or the way that it drives, that’s seriously at fault. It just isn’t particularly characterful.

Renault launched the Grand Modus alongside the Clio Sport Tourer and on day one we drove the Clio with the 105bhp turbodiesel and on day two the Grand Modus with the 99bhp 1.2 TCE turbocharged petrol engine. It’s a nice engine this little blown four and I’d have it in either of these cars over the diesel. It’s got plenty of torque and is willing to rev.

The Grand Modus’s interior is well made, and the seating position and the seats themselves comfortable. It’s comfortable in the back, too. As a £150 option the front seats can be fitted with optional seat back trays and aviation-style overhead lockers fitted. The front one has a capacity of 2.8-litres and the rear one 3.0-litres. There’s plenty of storage compartments fitted standard to the Grand Modus including a large 11-litre glove compartment, and underfloor lockers.

Those who criticised the Modus’s lack of space should now be happy. The rear seats can be slid back and forwards via a simple handle system to alter the ratio of rear legroom to luggage space as required. The rear seat also folds, of course, and splits 60/40 as it does on the standard length Modus.

Should I buy one?

One thing Renault cannot be accused of is not giving us any choice. With the arrival of the Grand Modus it’s now virtually possible to purchase your Renault MPV by the centimetre. If the Modus is not quite big enough then perhaps sir or madam might like to try the Grand Modus? Bit short in the leg? How about a Scenic?

And that’s really how to answer this question. If the Grand Modus now conveniently fits your requirements where its shorter brother didn’t then it’s well worth looking at. It doesn’t have an abundance of character, but apart from that it’s a hightly practical, easy to drive and easy to live with vehicle for town and country.

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