What is it?
It’s the stretched version of Renault’s newly revised Modus; the company's first effort at a supermini-MPV. In a similar vein to the Grand variants of the Scenic and Espace, Renault have lengthened the Modus by 160mm, taking it closer to the rivalling Nissan Note in terms of size.
The pay-off for the increased length is a boot that’s significantly bigger than the standard car, up from 293 litres to 410 litres. With the seats folded, this figure increases to 1454 litres; remarkable given the car’s exterior dimensions.
This is the first time we've driven the car on UK roads, and with the 1.5 dCi engine.
What’s it like?
Identical to the standard Modus, only roomier. Adding an extra 93mm to the wheelbase has significantly increased rear passenger space, so you no longer have to sacrifice legroom for luggage space.
The cabin is basic but well built, with the soft-touch dashboard and aluminium-look trim on this range-topping Dynamique model helping to lift the quality of the interior over lesser models. Rear picnic tables and numerous storage spaces in the roof and doors enhance the family-friendly nature of the car.
Standard safety equipment is generous, including electronic stability control and a tyre-pressure monitoring system, which helped get the regular Modus the maximum five-star rating in the EuroNCAP crash tests. Expect the Grand to do equally well.
The Grand Modus is an easy and undemanding drive, aided by light steering and the refined 1.5-litre diesel in our test car. The high driving position and roofline means that visibility is excellent; even the steeply raked A-pillars do not obstruct the view.
Downsides? The extra length of the Grand has compromised the ride quality that we praised when we tested the regular Modus back in 2004. The gearchange could be more precise, and although the diesel is quick enough, it lacks a little low-down torque around town.
Should I buy one?
Certainly, especially as this stretched version is only £600 more than the standard Modus and retains the same robust cabin and excellent safety record.
However, unless you have a high annual mileage to justify the lower fuel consumption, we’d recommend going for the 1.2 TCE petrol model instead, which offers similar performance and reasonable economy for £1,550 less.