Renault Modus mini MPV (2004-2012)
- Excellent diesel engine economy
- Easy to drive
- Clever cabin storage ideas
- Questionable reliability
- Cheap feeling interior
- Engines can be noisy
"Thanks to its ingenious design and compact proportions, the Renault Modus is a practical and comfortable alternative to a family hatchback."
As well as being practical, the Modus is comfortable and easy to drive. The diesel engines are a little noisy at high revs, but offer strong performance. Most models are well equipped, while flagship editions are genuinely luxurious. Safety is impressive, although electronic stability control is a cost option.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Petrol engines are best around town
When fitted with the 1.5 dCi diesel engine, the Modus will average an impressive 62.8mpg and only costs £35 per year for Road Tax. Petrol engines aren’t quite as efficient, but are more responsive and better to drive around town. Service intervals are between 12,000 or 18,000 for petrol and diesel engines respectively, but Renault has a reputation for offering decent value servicing costs.
Interior & comfort
Back seat passengers will never be short on headroom
The boxy proportions of the Modus mean back seat passengers will never be short on headroom. Legroom is less plentiful, and those who plan to travel with rear seat passengers on a regular basis will be better off with the Grand Modus, which is more spacious. There's more than enough space for the driver and passenger up front, though.
Practicality & boot space
The standard car's boot isn't very big, at 217 litres
There are a few ingenious features hidden in and around the Modus that make it more practical than its rivals. The optional split-opening tailgate is very useful - it's possible to open a small section of the boot to quickly drop small items inside, which is particularly handy if another car has parked close behind. There's also a sliding rear bench seat and the option of an integrated bike rack. The 217-litre boot isn't great, though - the Grand Modus offers a more impressive 305-litre boot and more space in the cabin.
Reliability & safety
Cabin build isn't up to the standard as Renault’s recent models
The Modus has experienced its fair share of issues. While top specification Dynamique equipped cars offer impressive luxury, entry-level cars are less desirable. Some sections of the cabin trim feels quite poor quality, and cabin build isn't up to the same plush standards as some of Renault's more recent models, which have moved on in leaps and bounds. Engine problems are not unheard of, either.
Engines, drive & performance
The Modus is an easy car to drive
With its light controls, the Renault Modus is an easy car to drive. It has a comfortable ride and offers a commanding driving position. As a result, it's simple to navigate around town. The small 1.2-litre petrol engine is underpowered, but fine if you stick to town driving. If you plan long motorway journeys, our favourite is the 1.5 dCi diesel. It's available in three different power outputs and suits the Modus exceptionally well.
Price, value for money & options
Cheaper to buy than fellow small MPVs such as the Nissan Note
In its most basic form, the Modus is cheaper to buy than fellow small MPVs such as the Nissan Note - but it's expensive when compared to the Clio hatchback on which it's based. A relatively low list price, plus the fact that it's a small and economical car means resale values are strong.
What the others say
The Modus is economical, especially with diesel engines, and roomy for four people. It has excellent crash protection and a high level of safety kit, and most versions are well-equipped. Boot space is limited – the long-wheelbase Grand Modus is considerably more practical – and the diesel engines are noisy. It's not much fun to drive, either.
The Renault Modus is a joint project with Nissan, whose mechanically identical car is the Note. It's based on the old, but well-proven, Clio but is cleverly repackaged to provide masses of interior space in a relatively small footprint.
Last updated: 28 Jun 2013