Nice, but we'd rather have the diesel
11 January 2005

When we first road tested the Modus we were impressed but felt it was a little lethargic, the less powerful but lighter Honda Jazz piping it to 60mph. But that Modus was a 98bhp 1.4 petrol, so will the larger 1.6 provide enough extra poke?

Not really. The extra torque – 111lb ft, 19 per cent more than the 1.4 – makes the Modus more relaxing to drive, yet it doesn’t feel significantly quicker. Power is also up (now 113bhp), but compared with the free revving 1.4, our test 1.6 sounded coarse and was reluctant to rev to the red line. 

Renault claims 0-60mph in 10.3sec, 1.1sec swifter than the 1.4. However, we found the 1.4 to be a second slower than claimed – so the 1.6’s true performance is yet to be qualified. Fuel economy dips slightly to 41mpg.

Upgrading from Dynamique spec to the range-topping 1.6 Privilege tested here adds automatic lights and wipers, manual air-con, a better stereo and clever cornering headlights. Interiors get a lift with light-coloured seat covers and soft-touch door panels. While these mostly look fine, some of the gold-coloured plastics are a bit dubious.

The 1.6 Privilege costs £12,000, a £400 premium for the bigger engine and a whopping £1100 for the plusher spec. For this money we’d go for the 1.5 Diesel (only 80bhp, but with a useful 136lb ft) in Dynamique spec for £11,300, and spend the change on some choice options.

Jamie Corstorphine

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