Renault's latest supermini-cum-MPV is a little car with big aspirations... The car is just under four metres long, but incorporates functions and features that could make it the envy of many bigger machines.Renault's latest supermini-cum-MPV is a little car with big aspirations... The car is just under four metres long, but incorporates functions and features that could make it the envy of many bigger machines.

Two 16-valve petrol engines will be offered at the launch of Modus in South Africa - a 1,2 litre and a 1,4 litre. The range consists of a 1,2 Authentique, 1,4 Expression and 1,4 Dynamique.

The entry-level model is powered by a 1,2-litre engine that produces its maximum power of 55 kW at 5 500 r/min and peak torque of 105 N.m at 4 250 r/min. With a top speed of 163 km/h, this little car returns a mixed fuel consumption of six litres per 100 km/h.

This engine uses a twin-stage catalyst system and complies with the latest Euro 4 exhaust emission standards.

The 1,4-litre 16-valve engine produces 72 kW at 5 700 r/min while its peak torque of 127 N.m kicks in at 4 250 r/min, with at least 90 per cent available between 2 000 and 5 750 r/min.

The top speed is a claimed 177 km/h and the car accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 11,4 seconds. On a mixed cycle, the fuel consumption is only 6,7 litres/ 100 km and the 1,4-litre engine is compliant with Euro 3 emission standards.

Both engines drive the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission.

The Modus' overall length of about 3,8 metres belies its interior comfort, which uses an innovative seating system to maximise the cabin space. With the Triptic seating system, the sliding rear bench seat, with a folding centre section, can slide through 170 mm and offer up to four different seating positions. The Triptic bench can be split or folded forward for a completely flat rear space, but is not available on the 1,2 Authentique.

The Modus uses the new centrally-mounted dashboard display that shows the car's on-board computer information and warning text messages (which have replaced the traditional warning lights).

The Expression and Authentique models' interior is dominated by charcoal grey and both models are distinguished from outside by black bumpers and side strips, 15-inch wheels and black mirror housings and door handles. Metallic paint is optional.

Standard equipment on the 1,2 Authentique includes a radio/CD player with fingertip control, manual air conditioning, front electric windows, electric variable-assist power steering, height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, "see me home" courtesy headlights, single front reading lamp, double optic height adjustable headlights, remote central locking, front cup holder, boot lighting and manually adjustable exterior mirrors.

Safety is catered for by two stage adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, three-point safety belts with pretensioners and load limiters in front, three-point inertia reel safety belts for all three rear seat occupants and two height-adjustable headrests both front and rear. Isofix child seat mounting points are provided for the front passenger and rear outer seats. There are load anchorage points in the boot.

ABS with EBD and Emergency Brake Assist is fitted, and the hazard lights are triggered in the event of an emergency stop.

Security features include RAID (Renault Anti-Intruder Device), auto-locking of doors over 10 km/h, deadlocking door locks and a transponder immobiliser with rolling code technology.

The 1,4 Expression shares the same basic specifications as the 1,2, but with additional front lateral airbags, a height adjustable driver's seat and Triptic rear bench seat.

The top-of-the-range 1,4 Dynamique has six airbags, exterior temperature display, automatic light-sensing headlights, automatic front wipers with rain sensor, cornering headlights, front foglights, electrically operated and heated exterior mirrors with electric folding operation and blind spot eliminator for driver, climate control, one touch front electric windows, rear electric windows, illuminated vanity mirrors, child minding mirror, storage space in front passenger seat, drawer under front seat and safety luggage net as its additional standard items.

A cruise control/speed limiter, xenon headlights and electric panoramic sunroof are optional extras.

The 1,4 Dynamique can be distinguished from the outside by colour coded front and rear bumpers, carbon bumper- and side strips, colour coded mirror housings, chrome exterior door handles and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Regarding the supermini's safety, the car was the first in its class to receive a five-star Euro NCAP rating. It is equipped with Renault's third generation System for Restrain and Protection (SRP3), which has up to six airbags - four on the sides, and two twin-stage adaptive airbags in front. The front safety belts have double pretensioners and load limiters.

In the back, the seat base is designed to prevent submarining, and all occupants have inertia-reel safety belts. Three point ISOFIX child restraint mounting points are provided for both outer rear seats and the front passenger seat.

Furthermore, the Modus' spare wheel is housed beneath the luggage compartment floor and is accessed from below to retain the car's compact ideology.

All Modus' are covered by Renault's three-year unlimited distance warranty and a six-year anti-corrosion guarantee. Service intervals are every 15 000 kilometres.

Prices:

1,2 Authentique R110 000

1,4 Expression R125 000

1,4 Dynamique R135 000