Renault’s fresh assault on the small passenger car market has begun with the introduction of its Modus at the Madrid Auto Show. But is it a passenger car or people-carrier? You decide…

Renault’s fresh assault on the small passenger car market has begun with the introduction of its Modus at the Madrid Auto Show. But is it a passenger car or people-carrier? You decide…

The Modus will slot between the Clio and Mégane when it is launched and is the first Renault to be built on the platform jointly developed with Nissan. The design and interior styling have produced a cabin that is roomy with its Mégane -inspired panoramic sunroof.

At a news conference to present Renault’s Modus in Madrid, chairman and chief executive, Louis Schweitzer said the company decided to launch the model to complete its range of small cars. The Modus will be produced solely at Renault's Spanish plant and it is projected that 300 000 will be manufactured each year.

“Modus isn’t a replacement for Clio, it is an additional offer,” was Schweitzer’s take on the new arrival.

Said to offer the space efficiency of an MPV on a smaller scale, the Modus displays many features seen on its larger siblings. It has a sliding two or three way split-folding bench seat and a split rear tailgate while the driving position combines many of the advantages of a hatchback with those of an MPV.

When it is launched, the Modus will feature a choice of powertrains ranging from the three 16-valve petrol engines namely the 56 kW 1,2-litre, 73 kW 1,4-litre and 84 kW 1,6-litre derivatives to the 60 kW 1,5-litre diesel engine.

The suspension and gearbox (with adapted gear ratios) used in the Megane II range are carried over to the Modus. The gear ratios have been adapted for the Modus while the 1,6-litre 16 valve will also be available with automatic transmission.

The Modus offers leading levels of active safety with its advanced braking system featuring ABS and EBD, redeveloped ESP with understeer control and a tyre monitoring system. Other safety features include xenon headlights with active cornering lights – apparently a first in small car technology. Numerous crumple zones, six airbags and double pretensioners with load limiters for the front seatbelts up the safety quotient.

With both MPVs and small passenger cars being all the rage at the moment, perhaps Renault have latched onto something good by going straight for the space between.

At the time of this report Renault SA’s spokesperson, Doris Roberts, was unavailable for comment.

Original article from Car