It's a mark of Renault's forward thinking because only recently have rivals started to appear on the scene. Citroen now has the Xsara-based Picasso, Fiat the wierd but wonderful Multipla and now Nissan with another branch of the Almera family tree, the Tino.
On sale now, the Tino ranges in price from ú14,200 to ú17,800 on-the-road and has a choice of three power plants - 1.8-litre 115bhp and 2.0-litre 137bhp petrol engines and a 2.2-litre direct injection diesel unit tested here, pushing out 114bhp and 173lb-ft of torque.
Renault has had it all its own way in this sector for a couple of years now, but the competition is hotting up. This market targets young families who want a practical vehicle for their family needs but who don't want to forsake a trendy car. Nissan has certainly majored on the trendy aspect with a funky interior (more of that later) and fresh styling.