- Efficient engine line-up
- Great new design
- Plenty of kit comes as standard
- Rear space is cramped due to the sloping roof
- Plastics could be better
- Not as good to drive as some rivals
The Renault Clio has been one of the most popular cars in the past thirty years. It was introduced in 1990 as a direct rival to Ford’s Fiesta. Since its launch, Renault has sold more than 11.5 million models.
Now in its fourth-generation, this model not only offers more frugal and a cleaner range of engines, it is also loaded with technology but one of the standout features is the design – it is possibly the best looking car in the segment.
The Clio is only offered in a five-door bodystyle but has Renault done enough to take the sector crown off the Ford Fiesta - read on to find out how good this iteration of the Clio is…
On The Road
Choices, choices everywhere, there are numerous petrol and diesel engines available so the wide range should entice many buyers into the range.
On the petrol front, the line-up starts with the three-cylinder unit featuring stop/start technology. Available with two power outputs the Energy TCe 90 produces 89bhp from the 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine and has a pulling power of 135Nm of torque. It will reach 62mph in 12.2 seconds from a standing start and has a top speed of 104mph. The higher powered version of the Energy TCe 90 S&S with ECO mode has also got a power output of 89bhp but it is quicker over the benchmark sprint, zero to 62mph in 11.8 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 115mph.
From launch, Renault offers 1.5 dCi producing 89bhp with stop/start technology. You can opt this unit with an ECO mode or without. Opt the engine without the ECO mode and the car is 0.1 second quicker than the model with the ECO mode, which means the cars will cover the sprint in 11.9 and 12 seconds respectively.
This iteration of the Clio has been on a diet. The engineers have shaved 100kg off when comparing to the previous generation – a sizeable weight loss that has enhanced the driving dynamics, the frugality of the engine line-up and of course it has also helped to lower emissions.
This Clio has minimal body roll and is a lot of fun on twisty B roads roads. It has tons of grip on turn-in and is on a par Ford’s Fiesta in terms of handling.
The steering is direct but the variable weighting feels a little artificial. If only the steering felt better, then it really would be making the Ford Fiesta nervous.
Comfort levels are very good in the little Clio. Wind, road and tyre noise are minimal. The ride is a tad firm but this is an advantage when driving enthusiastically on B roads.
When tackling long journeys you’ll be pleased to know that the front seats are fairly well bolstered making it a comfy driving position.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Renault Clio equipment levels are high. It has four trim levels starting from Expression, moving up to Expression+, then Dynamique MediaNav and top of the range Dynamique S MediaNav.
Entry-level Expression comes with electric front and rear windows and door mirrors, Bluetooth, USB port, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), ETC (Electronic Traction Control), folding front passenger seat, hill start assist, keyless entry and ignition.
Expression+ adds alloy wheels, aircon and front fog lights.
Highlights on the mid-level Dynamique MediaNav adds 16-inch alloys, automatic lights and wipers, 7-inch touchscreen with MediaNav incorporating satnav, radio with Bluetooth, USB connection, steering wheel mounted controls and a leather steering wheel.
The flagship Dynamique S MediaNav comes with 17-inch alloys, chrome side window surrounds, centre armrest, climate control, electric folding door mirrors, rear electric windows and rear parking sensors.
The Clio is tech heavy and one of the biggest highlights is Renault’s R-Link system– it is an integrated tablet connected to the car and internet and comes as an option on the Dynamique trim upwards. R-Link is a seven-inch touchscreen and a satnav with traffic updates. The nifty thing is that in-car tech links to the Renault R-Link Store, where you can view or download a range of apps from their car or computer.
Space & Practicality
The fourth generation is actually one of the most spacious cars in the sector. With the rear bench in place, it offers 300 litres, that’s up by 12 litres when comparing to the previous iteration. Fold the rear seats and the load space expands to 1,146 litres.
If you are looking for interior storage space then the Clio offers a great deal of choice. The door pockets are of good size and they are quite deep which means storing drinks bottles shouldn’t be a problem. There are also a range of cubby holes around the central console – handy for the change needed for the car park machine or storing your smartphone.
The cabin is much more upmarket than before but the materials and plastics could still be a bit better.
Renault has always been competitive when it comes to servicing whole running costs on this car looks no different. The frugal engine offered on the Clio range is the four-cylinder 1.5-litre dCi engine averaging a claimed 88.3mpg while it emits 83g/km.
Quality & Reliability
Renault has taken great strides in recent years to improve its reliability record across its range of cars and the Clio will benefit from this action from the French maker. Expect this Clio to be a big success in future reliability surveys.
Safety & Security
Vying with Volvo as the safest maker on the planet, Renault’s Clio achieved the maximum five stars when Euro NCAP tested it. Standard safety kit on the Clio includes hill start assist, ESC, ASR traction control, ABS and emergency brake assist, driver and front seat passenger, lateral head and thorax airbags, a pressure sensor to detect impending impacts, seat belts with pre-tensioners and anti-whiplash head rests.
See the latest used Renault Clio offers.