Renault has released the first official pictures of the new Modus, a roomy alternative to the Clio due for launch in the autumn.

Instead of making the next generation Clio taller and therefore less sporty (are you listening, Peugeot?), Renault will retain the Clio’s character and instead launch the Modus alongside, as a roomy, more versatile alternative.

With ‘cheeky’ styling, the Modus offers the space efficiency of an MPV, but on a smaller scale, with its sliding two- or three-way split-folding rear bench, unique “boot chute” rear tailgate and specially designed bike rack.

Suspension is based on the Megane II, as is the range of engines, with three 16-valve petrol units – 75hp 1.2 16V, 98hp 1.4 16V, and 113hp 1.6 16V – as well as two diesel units – the 65hp and 80hp 1.5 dCi.  Further Euro IV compliant engines will arrive later.  The range of 5-speed manual gearboxes is taken from the M├ęgane II, with gear ratios adapted to the Modus, while the 1.6 16V engine also drives through an automatic gearbox.

The Modus will include numerous safety features, which include additional cornering lights – a first in the small car segment – double-distance xenon headlamps, together with an automatic range adjustment system, and is built on the Alliance platform B, jointly developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance, with safety as a prime concern.

The Modus should prove cheap to run, too, with service intervals of up to 18,000 miles or every two years, while components such as the polypropylene rear beam should help it secure a low insurance group.  In addition, ninety-five percent by weight of the Modus can easily be recycled.