The Renault Clio has evolved and looks very different to the previous version, we find out if it’s just as radical under the skin
What is it? The supermini sector is one of the most competitive and dominated in this country by the Fiesta and the Yaris. Eager to muscle in Renault have pulled out all the stops with their fourth generation Clio and the result is an impressively lighter and more stylish car than before.
Who is it aimed at? Nicole and Papa may have enjoyed the old Clio but this one is now aimed at the entire family. With 5 doors and lots of space inside there’s room for a whole lot more than before.
Styling? The Clio is only offered with five doors, but with wraparound headlights and cleverly hidden rear door handles it manages a sporty profile and coupe like sloping roofline.
Under the Bonnet: Our test car was powered by 1.5 diesel engine which pumps out a decent 90 bhp. Other petrol engines include a three-cylinder, turbocharged 899cc unit and a four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine .
What about Inside? It is one of the spacious superminis around with a decent amount of space for two in the front and two in the back to travel in comfort. Boot size at 300-litres is particularly generous. A further 1,146 litres is available with the rear seats folded down. Visibility is good and there’s plenty of seat adjustment to help you get the driving position just right. On the downside the cabin is a little plasticy in places, but durable nonetheless and the windy down windows in the back are a disappointing touch. Overall though it still feels modern and airy inside.
On the Road? Our 1.5 diesel has more than enough power for both motorway and city and makes eager and smooth progress on both. The light weight only adds to the Clio’s nimbleness and while it is just out classed by the Fiesta for super sharp handling, it is still very impressive on bends and back roads. The manual gearbox is slick and the Clio is a fun car to drive.
And Safety? When tested by the Euro NCAP the Clio achieved a top score of five stars and best in class in four out of five of the sub categories. Each Clio is equipped with a host of safety aids including ESC, ASR traction control, ABS and emergency brake assist.
Options? Three trim levels are available: Expression, Dynamic and R-Link. The entry level comes with with cruise control/limiter, Bluetooth/USB, hill start assist, ISOFIX (on the outer two rear seats) and ESP with ASR as standard. Step up to Dynamic and colour coding, upgraded stereo, 16-inch alloys, front fogs, variable speed wipers, leather steering wheel and tinted windows are all included. R-Link is a multimedia feature that adds a large touchscreen which allows for internet connectivity, an optional parking camera and an array of other features.
What about fuel economy? Lighter and stronger than the model it replaces these changes will save you plenty of trips to the pumps by returning a staggering 3.2 litres per 100 km or 88.3 mpg. Emissions are a mere 83 g/km so annual motor tax is €180.
Okay so the Verdict? A huge improvement on the previous version the new Clio is now a serious supermini contender. It may not be as fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta, but the new Clio is spacious, comfortable and tres chic.
Why you’ll buy one? Styling; Space; Economy
Why you won’t? Cabin; Dynamics
Ford Fiesta €15,550 – €27,260
Peugeot 208 €14,395 – €27,995
Toyota Yaris €15,555 – €20,030
Renault Clio Dynamique 1.5 dCi 90 Eco S&S
Engine: 1461cc, 1.5 dCi 90 ECO 66kW (90 bhp), 220Nm @1,750rpm
Max speed: 180km/h
0-100 kph: 11.7 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 83 g/km (€180)
Model price range: €14,990 – €20,690 (Test Car – €19,290)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 3.2 l/100km ( 88.3 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 300 litres (1,146)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Spare Wheel: Clio 1.5 dCi 90 Eco versions come with a tyre inflation kit as standard. Spare wheel as standard on Clio petrol range only.
Width: 1731 mm
Wheelbase: 2589 mm
3rd July, 2013