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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Clio is one of the best superminis – it's stylish, well built, refined and roomy

Against It's not cheap compared with its competitors, and the steering is lifeless

Verdict A chic but grown-up supermini that oozes quality

Go for… 1.4-litre Dynamique

Avoid… 1.6 VVT Initiale

Renault Clio Hatchback
  • 1. Suspension and brake problems are the most frequent complaints on older models
  • 2. Servicing is quite pricey for the class, with Fiesta owners paying considerably less for routine maintenance
  • 3. Go for the 1.4 petrol engine. It has a good balance of power and fuel economy, and it's cheap
  • 4. Interior quality is fantastic, but the lowest-spec cars miss out on soft-touch dash trim
  • 5. The cabin is roomy and will take four adults in comfort
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Renault Clio Hatchback full review with expert trade views

It seems every other car these days is a small runabout. Despite huge competition, though, the latest version of the Clio has the honour of being one of the very best there is.

It has all the chic design and low running costs that made the previous Clio such a success, but it has added another dimension to the mix. It has grown up.

Interior quality is fantastic on most models, with all but the lowest-spec cars coming with soft-touch dash trim that gives it a classy feel. The cabin is roomy, too, and four adults will fit in comfort.

Refinement is another big factor in the new adult feel. The Clio’s suppression of wind and road noise puts many bigger, more expensive cars to shame, and it can melt away a long journey like no other supermini. It also handles brilliantly and, being a Renault, it’s one of the safest cars in its class.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Looks a bit expensive compared to competition. 1.2 adequate for most and best value

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There are plenty of engines to choose from – four petrol and three diesel. Petrol choices include 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6 units, while Renault’s 1.5 dCi turbodiesel has outputs of 68, 86 or 106bhp. Even the most powerful of these needs to be worked hard occasionally, because the gearing has been set with economy in mind, but all do a decent job.

There’s also the 194bhp 2.0-litre in the Renaultsport hot hatch, which gives blistering performance.

Overall, we’d plump for the 1.4 petrol. It provides a good balance of power and fuel economy, and it's cheap to buy.

There are lots of trims to consider, too, each providing varying combinations of equipment. All get alloy wheels, remote central locking, traction control, curtain airbags and a CD player. Most get powered front windows, but not all get air-con. We’d go for Dynamique, which gives you everything you need at a relatively low price.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not a lot around and values remain firm; 1.2 Expression has appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Clio is quite expensive as a new car when compared with rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, which means prices for used examples won’t have the best of starts in terms of value. However, the Clio’s residuals aren’t as strong as the Fiesta’s, so that evens thing up a bit.

Servicing costs are also quite pricey for the class, with Fiesta owners paying considerably less for routine maintenance.

Running costs on the Clio aren’t bad, though. The Renaultsport will only give 31.7mpg, but all the others will return at least 40mpg. Those after some really frugal motoring should pick the 86bhp diesel (which gives a whopping 64.2mpg) or our favourite 1.4 petrol, with a respectable 42.8mpg.

Insurance groupings start at 2 for the 1.2, and go up to 5 or 6 for the 1.6 petrol and 106bhp diesel, depending on trim. The Renaultsport, however, weighs in at group 15.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Looks a bit expensive compared to competition. 1.2 adequate for most and best value

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The latest Clio is still very new – it only hit the UK in August 2005. This means reliability data is very limited, so we can’t really say with any accuracy how reliable it’s going to be or what is most likely to go wrong.

The previous Clio gave a typical performance in the most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey, finishing mid-table.

If the old car is anything to go by, keep an eye on automatic gearboxes, because they didn’t seem to last very long, and rebuilds were a £1000 a time. Suspension and brake problems were the most frequent complaints, so check thoroughly here, too.

Although Clio reliability is historically very average, you can take comfort in the fact that repair bills are usually quite low.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not a lot around and values remain firm; 1.2 Expression has appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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