Given a swept back nose, larger front lights and grille, it is clear that many styling cues have been taken from the Renault Megan. As before there’s a choice of three and five-door hatchbacks together with a versatile Sport Tourer estate. There are six trim levels to choose from – Extreme, Expression, Dynamique, GT, Privilege and Initiale, and lest we forget the great fun Renaultsport 200, defined in aesthetics by its flared arches, black grille surround and bad boy bodykit.
Inside the spacious Renault Clio cabin the finish is of a decent standard however lacks the quality feeling which some of its competiors seems to have managed. Non the less the cabin feels robust and well put together and boot space is very good for a car this size with approximately 288 liter’s of space, much more if you opt for the Sport Tourer.
As a driving experience the Renault Clio, much like its predecessor feels balanced and nippy, however the steering still feels very unresponsive, more like driving a boat sometimes than a supermini. For true thrills the Renaultsport 200 will put a grin on any driver given the chance, with much stiffened chassis and suspension along with the increase in price which comes with that kind of machinery.
The genteel and quiet 1.5-litre dCi diesels are great engines, with both the 85bhp and 106bhp versions delivering enough punch effortlessly keep up with more powerful machines and 60mpg fuel returns. The latter unit comes with a six-speed manual gearbox for relaxed motorway cruising. The Renault Clio has a range of five petrol engines the1.6-litre VVT comes tuned to (108 and 126bhp) both feel slightly stressed, while the 73bhp 1.2-litre doesn’t really go at all. Conversely the 98bhp 1.2-litre is excellent and isn’t that far behind the diesels in terms of performance to cost. The Renaultsport's fantastic 197bhp 2.0-litre is a great peace of engineering and fly’s like something sticky off a shovel.
The Renault Clio then is a good car and the 1.5l diesel is probably the pick of the bunch, with good pulling power for relatively low running costs. Flimsy feeling steering may put some off, while the spacious cabin will draw in others. Prices start at £10,720.
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