Renault Clio long-term test: report 3

In January, we named the latest Clio our Small Car of the Year. But now we're seeing if it continues to impress when you live with it every day...

Clio on the Channel Tunnel

The Car Renault Clio 1.0 TCe 90 Evolution Run by Jonty Renk, senior videographer

Why it’s here To prove that you don’t need to break the bank to have a fantastic small car

Needs to Offer a versatile and practical interior for camera gear storage while being small and nimble enough to drive in a busy city

Mileage 4581 List price £17,795 Target Price £16,462 Price as tested £18,695 Official economy 54.3mpg Test economy 55.5mpg

28 May 2024 – City break

With some time off looming, I decided to follow in the footsteps of many British holidaymakers and pack up my car for a road trip to France. Sadly, my time and budget limited me to doing this in a single day – but still, what better way to get to know my new company car than by taking my Renault Clio back to its birthplace?

I was originally worried that I'd bitten off more than I could chew, because driving from London to Paris and back in a single day would involve almost 500 miles of driving. And even though the Renault Clio is our favourite small car, I was worried I'd be in for an uncomfortable time over such a big distance. Still, with my mind clouded by images of wondering around Paris taking in the smells of fresh pastries, we set off.

Clio on LeShuttle

In preparation for the trip, I'd brimmed the Clio's tank, and set my alarm for a rather ungodly 2.30am. Indeed, as we started out on our journey from Clapham to Folkestone, we passed some Londoners who were still enjoying their evening, emerging from various bars and clubs in search of the nearest kebab.

We reached Eurotunnel LeShuttle in great time after travelling on the near-empty M20 motorway, and steamed through the width and height restrictors at the terminal, boarding our train at a still early 5.18am.

The Clio ready for France!

I took the time on the crossing to add my UK badge and Crit’Air sticker – which marks my car out as being compliant with France's clean air laws – before psyching myself up for driving on the other side of the road. One thing I forgot to do, though, was convert the car’s units of measurements from imperial to metric. Luckily, once out of the tunnel, the Clio’s digital driver display was smart enough to read the road signs ahead, recognise they were in kilometres-per-hour and convert the speed limit back to miles-per-hour for me.

As a testament to the smooth French roads and the Clios even smoother ride, my passenger decided to have a snooze on the run from Calais to Paris, but she didn't have any complaints with the space or comfort on offer from the roomy interior. Neither did I, with the Clio's driver's seat offering all the support I needed for a long trip.

Clio in Paris

Once in the thick of the French capital, the Clio felt as at home as a baguette in a boulangerie; it was an absolute doddle to steer around the many tight streets.

I still love the Valencia Orange colour scheme of my car, and it turned a few Parisian heads as well – although maybe they were just taking a second look at my British number plate being a long way from home. I then tucked the Clio away in an underground car park for some exploring before the long journey home.

We eventually got back to London at 11.30pm, feeling very grateful to our little orange fun bus, which managed a whopping 485.4 miles with the trip computer suggesting 55.5 mpg – which actually beats the car's official figure.

The Clio's trip computer after the long day

The Clio proved to be comfortable, easy to drive on motorways and town roads alike, and even impressively economical. I couldn't help but wonder, however, how this journey would have played out in the hybrid version of my Clio – so I’ve lined up a test to find out.

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