The entry-level engine in the Modus is a 1.2-litre petrol but with a mere 75bhp progress is slow and it lacks in-gear pulling power. In early 2007 a turbocharged version of this engine was introduced which boasts 100bhp but the same 48mpg economy figure. It's certainly more nippy, especially around town, but still lacks low down grunt. The 1.4-litre is a popular choice, but it's difficult to believe it has 98bhp.
True, it keeps up with the flow of traffic, but doesn't feel particularly lively considering the power. The top petrol is a 1.6-litre with 111bhp that's smooth and quiet. The diesels make most sense if you intend to cover long distances. There's one engine - a 1.5-litre dCi - but it's available in three different power outputs. All offer decent pulling power but it's the mid-range model (originally with 80bhp and later with 86bhp) that makes most sense.
Average economy is an impressive 63mpg.
The Modus handles predictably and safely, with only a hint of body roll when cornering. However, it's let down by the over-assisted steering which feels false while the main controls (clutch, throttle and gear change) lack precision. It's easy to drive rather than exciting while a tight turning circle makes parking simple. It can feel quite cumbersome on twisting roads with a full load on board.