If you’re looking for the perfect family car, then chances are you’ve limited your search to estates and MPV’s. There is a case for a 4×4 in family life, but estates and MPV’s tend to be cheaper to buy, run and maintain. Therefore, they are better suited to most families.
The Renault Modus is an MPV that’s been extremely popular since it first went on sale in 2004. A Renault Modus on a 2009 plate with 40,000 miles on the clock can be picked up for around £4k nowadays, which makes it exceptionally affordable used. Renault are no longer manufacturing this car new so it makes sense to shop around.
The version you should be looking at in my opinion is the Renault Modus 1.5 dCi 86 in Expression or Dynamique trim. Dynamique trim nets you better alloy wheels and little bit of extra equipment, whilst Expression lacks some of the bells and whistles most new family cars come with.
The Renault Modus Gloucester from Bristol Street Motors is available with the 1.5 dCi engine in 65 and 86 guise. The former is economical but lethargic, whilst the latter is economical but pulls well. For this reason I recommend the latter.
It will return a combined fuel economy of 62.8 miles per gallon, with a CO2 output of 119 g/km, which translates to £30 per year road tax. That’s extremely good for a car of this type. Despite its modest capacity it’ll pull the Modus to 62 mph in 13 seconds, and the 5-speed manual gearbox is pleasant to use.
You sit up high in the Modus and the driving experience isn’t particularly fun, either. The engine feels brisk but the Modus leans into bends and if you overcook it, it suffers from body roll. Motorway speeds are pleasant, though, with minimal wind and road noise at 60 mph.
There’s five seats in the Modus and the cabin has plenty of space upfront and in the rear. The seats are also extremely comfortable, with the driver and passenger seat also offering good lateral support. The boot in the Modus is this cars only real downside – it’s just 293-litres with the seats in place, which is less than some family hatchbacks today. This can however be extended to 1,176-litres, but that requires folding down the back seats.
Reliability is generally good with the Modus. So long as you have it serviced at the recommended intervals and have your Bristol Street Motors MOT, you should be able to enjoy a few years worth of hassle free motoring.
So, is the Renault Modus the perfect family car?
It can be, but there’s a few tradeoffs. The boot isn’t very big and the design is now beginning to look a little dated. Also, the Modus isn’t being produced anymore, which means it’s going to depreciate quite a lot. If you want a family car that’ll serve you well for a year or two, though, the Modus is an affordable way to go about it.