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Renault Clio 1.5 dCi Gordini review

  • Range-topping Clio diesel driven
  • From 14,950; on sale now
  • 62.8mpg; 110g/km CO2
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What is it? The Renault Clio Gordini bears the name of the tuning company that the car maker worked with during the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Gordini trim brings a host of cosmetic upgrades, including white stripes that run over the bonnet and roof, plus front foglights and tinted windows.

Initially, Gordini trim came with the 2.0-litre petrol engine from the Clio Renaultsport, but Renault has now added a 1.6 petrol and a 1.5 diesel for those who like the sporty looks but don't need hot-hatch performance. We drove the diesel.

What's it like to drive? The 105bhp engine is similar to the unit found in larger Renaults and Nissans (and has 18bhp more than the 1.5-litre diesel in other versions of the Clio), so has the same good and bad points.

There's decent pace and flexibility, but it lacks the tantalising growl of its petrol counterparts. However, average economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 110g/km make the Gordini cheap to run and tax.

The ride is a little firm around town, but the light steering is useful when negotiating narrow streets and parking.

The steering gets heavier with speed, too, so you'll feel confident enough to push on as the road gets twisty. The Clio grips and handles pretty well, and feels stable at speed.

What's it like inside? Stripes that match those on the bonnet and roof adorn the steering wheel, while the 'Gordini' name is embossed on the seats and gearlever.

The Clio Gordini also get sports seats, climate control and additional airbags as standard, with Bluetooth, sat-nav and leather upholstery as options.

There's plenty of room for four, plus the dashboard is covered in appealing soft-touch plastics. However, the stereo controls are fiddly and some people will struggle to get comfortable because the steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach.

Should I buy one? The Clio's a fine supermini, and the Renaultsport version is one of the best hot hatches around. However, we wouldn't bother with the Gordini unless you really want the stripes and fancy alloys.

The 1.2-litre turbo petrol is significantly cheaper and will suit most buyers, while those that do enough miles to justify a diesel are better off with one of the cheaper 1.5s.

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What Car? says

Rosie.McMahon@whatcar.com