Renault Clio long-term test: report 4

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...

Jonty with a petrol and hybrid Clio

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 5391 List price £17,795 Target Price £16,462 Price as tested £18,695 Official economy 54.3mpg Test economy 56.1mpg

21 June 2024 – What’s your favourite colour?

Speak to officials from Renault and they'll tell you that only 10% of buyers have gone for the same, very vibrant, Valencia Orange paintwork on their Renault Clio that I have. Personally, I quite like how much it stands out on the road, especially when you sit it next to the hybrid E-Tech model in Shadow Grey that I recently decided to put head-to-head with my car. 

The 2 Clios

Now, I’ll leave you to decide which colour is best, but was I right to go for the 1.0 TCe 90 petrol engine instead of the E-Tech hybrid?

On the face of it, probably not. After all, the E-Tech’s hybrid system means that not only is it more powerful and faster, officially sprinting from 0-62mph in 9.3sec instead of the 12.2sec taken by my car, but it’s also much more efficient according to official figures – managing up to 67.3mpg. 

It’s when you get behind the wheel that you start to see why I went for the engine that I did, though. You see, the full hybrid Clio’s battery also means that it’s heavier, and you can feel that difference when it comes to ride and handling, with my Clio soaking up large imperfections with greater ease and feeling a tad more spritely through the corners. True, the difference isn’t as stark as it would be if I were comparing a vastly heavier plug-in hybrid with a petrol car, but it's still there.

Clio Hybrid foreground, TCe 90 in the background

Then there’s the gearbox. Every E-Tech comes with a four-speed automatic gearbox which, while smooth in how it changes gear, isn’t as involving to my mind as the slick six-speed manual gearbox that comes with my chosen engine. That takes away from the overall experience, especially when you head out onto a twisty B-road.

Plus, of course, there's the cost – going for the hybrid model would have added a handsome £3500 to the cost of my Clio, and that's more than I'm prepared to pay for efficiency right now. If you often spend your time driving around town, I can see the appeal of the very efficient E-Tech model, but with the mixture of roads I take in, including a lot of time spent on the motorway, I don't think I'd feel the benefit for the increased cost.

For my money, then, whether you’re in the 10% of Valencia Orange fans, the 19% Diamond Black fans or the 71% split between the various other colours, I’d suggest making sure the TCe 90 engine is sitting in the front of your Clio.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more about our long-term Renault Clio >>

Read about more long-term test cars >>

Buy a new car with What Car?

Like the sound of the Renault Clio?

If so, check out the latest Renault Clio deals available through our free New Car Deals service.

Our network of What Car? approved dealers use our Target Price discounts (the most our mystery shoppers think you should pay) as the basis for their savings.

Also consider