Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Plenty of technology
- Fun to drive
- Strong rivals
- Entry-level models are slow
- Larger wheels cause a firm ride
What's the Renault Clio like?
The Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa seem to have much of the supermini class tied up between them, but then there’s the very popular Renault Clio.
This is a car with enduring appeal over many years and with various models, and apart from the Renaultsport hot hatches, which have pretty tough sporting suspension giving an uncomfortable ride, they're all comfortable and capable, with good roadholding, fine handling, and decent economy.
The model made until 2019, which was the first to be available only as a 5-door, has amazingly been on the market since 2012.
Don’t let the fact that it’s been replaced put you off, as it’s a brilliant not so small supermini with plenty of technology and a high level of equipment.
It’s the fourth model to bear the name, and is available with two petrol engines and one diesel.
Small cars with diesel engines are rare these days because efficient petrols have become so economical.
The Clio unit is the well-known 1.5-litre dCi in two levels of power - 88bhp and 108bhp - and both offer similar performance, taking 11.3 and 10.8 seconds to reach 60mph from a standstill.
It's hugely economical and quite capable of a real 65mpg to 70mpg with very careful driving, and it’s surprisingly smooth, quiet, and willing through the gears.
Petrol power starts with a 0.9-litre 3-cylinder, which produces 74bhp, and there's also a turbocharged version with 88bhp. These both take about 11.8 seconds to reach 60mph, but while the lower power model is rated at 47mpg, strangely, the 88bhp model can do 61mpg.
There are also two 1.2-litre models with either 73 or 118bhp. Both are rated in the low 50s for economy, but, whereas the 73bhp model takes 14.0 seconds to get to 60mph, the 118bhp TCe dispatches the sprint in a swift 8.7 seconds.
All the engines are well subdued and, apart from the cheapest 1.2-litre, willing and peppy.
Practicality and Driving Experience
The Clio is great fun and hugely capable, with good feel from the steering, and hip hugging seats that give plenty of support.
It's low and wide, giving a good centre of gravity for stability, and helping towards that excellent comfort.
They hold the road superbly even when pressed unmercifully through a switchback series of bends, and they feel hugely safe and sure in every situation.
Avoid large wheels and very low profile tyres. They might look great, but they make little difference to the roadholding, and they spoil the level of comfort – as they do in so many cars.
If you want comfort, choose the smaller wheels and higher profile tyres that are almost always available.
The long bodyshell is probably one of the most spacious in the class, with good rear legroom and a large boot.
The driving position is excellent, with plenty of column and seat adjustment, and all the controls and dials are well in view and ready to hand.
Most will have been personalised by the person who bought them new, but steer clear of wacky colour combinations or over gaudy body paint, which will make them difficult to sell.
Many will also have Renault’s R-Link multimedia system, which can be used to get online. It has a 7-inch touchscreen, which incorporates sat nav with traffic updates.
All have cruise, plenty of airbags, electric heated mirrors, electric front windows, remote audio control, traction control, excellent seat and column adjustment, air conditioning, and alloys.
Dynamique Medianav adds climate control, sat nav, parking sensors, and rear electric windows.
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Find your Renault Clio your way with CarStore
The Renault Clio stands out from the crowd in the supermini class, offering a chic design and an excellent level of equipment as standard. Long journeys are made enjoyable with the comfortable driving position and spacious interior of the Clio, making it a ideal for a variety of lifestyles.
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