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Renault Modus (2004-2012) Buying Guide

Renault Modus (2004-2012)
Renault Modus (2004-2012)Renault Modus (2004-2012)Renault Modus (2004-2012)Renault Modus (2004-2012)Renault Modus (2004-2012)Renault Modus (2004-2012)Renault Modus (2004-2012)Renault Modus (2004-2012)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

The Renault Modus is closely related to the Nissan Note, but while the latter thrived, the former never really made any headway in the UK market. Renault offered a wide model range and there was even a choice of short- or long-wheelbase variations, but still buyers weren't interested. Despite this, Renault persevered for eight years before pulling the plug, by which point the car had been facelifted in a bid to boost interest. With its sliding rear seat, smart design and decent (if hardly cutting-edge) engines the Modus is well worth a closer look. However, while purchase costs are low, running costs can be high because of uncertain build quality, so thoroughly test drive and inspect any Modus before signing on the dotted line.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Big Grand Modus boot
Strong value
5-star EuroNCAP rating
Interior versatility
Good diesel engine
Comfy ride
Small Modus boot
Patchy build quality
Not refined enough
Spartan entry-level models
Key Dates 
9/04The Modus reaches showrooms with a choice of 1.2, 1.4 or 1.6-litre petrol engines, or there's a 1.5 dCi diesel.
4/06The 1.5 dCi is now available with an automated manual gearbox, called Quickshift5. It has sequential manual or auto modes.
6/06A facelift brings a redesigned nose, an upgraded cabin and new colour options.
2/08The Grand Modus is introduced with a wheelbase stretched by 93mm. It's 242mm longer and has extra rear seat and boot space. The regular car is now called New Modus and both come with 1.2, 1.2 TCe or 1.6-litre petrol engines, or the 1.5 dCi - the 1.4 petrol is killed off.
11/10The range is slimmed down with just three (new) trim levels
1/12The Modus is discontinued in the UK.
  • The manual and automated manual gearboxes have the same official CO2 emissions and fuel economy figures.
  • The solenoid for the fuel filler flap can fail in the locked position, leaving you unable to refuel the car.
  • Corrosion can strike in the front suspension turrets, visible from underneath the bonnet.
  • The 1.5 dCi comes in 85bhp and 105bhp forms, rated at 119g/km and 124g/km respectively. As a result the high-output model costs more to tax.
  • Make sure that the headlight bulbs don't need to be replaced, as renewing them entails removing the front bumper and it's a dealer-only job.
  • If a 1.6-litre petrol engine is running poorly it's probably because at least one of the ignition coils is on its way out. There are four of them fitted.
  • The high-level brake light stops working after water has leaked into it.
  • If a sunroof is fitted make sure that it works, as the electric motors are prone to failing.

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