Since its introduction in 1990, we’ve got used to the Renault Clio going through more looks than an ageing pop star. Whether it’s just a nose job or a complete transformation, you know that the Britney of small cars will be almost unrecognisable every time it comes back into the limelight.
So, imagine our surprise when we first saw pictures of this new Clio. Yes, they’re the ones uploaded above; it’s clear that Renault's designers have opted for evolution rather than revolution this time round. But, then, the previous Clio changed its image from sensible and practical to glamorous and desirable, so why mess with its good looks anyway?
It's only really when you see the new car alongside its predecessor that you notice the larger front grille and new C-shaped daytime running lights that bring it into line with the rest of the Renault range. And if you whip out a tape measure, you’ll find the new car is a little shorter, a touch lower and quite a bit wider to give it a more athletic shape.
Yet, despite it losing a few inches, and indeed kilos, the Clio is actually more spacious than before. And its interior has shifted upmarket, with a much greater focus on fit and finish, plus increased use of soft-touch plastics, especially on higher trim levels.
To round things off, the sole diesel has been heavily updated, while all three petrol engines are new to the Clio. Kicking off the range is a 1.0-litre non-turbocharged three-cylinder petrol that produces 74bhp (badged SCe 75), followed by a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine with 99bhp. At the top is the TCe 130, a 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo with 128bhp that's offered exclusively with an automatic gearbox. There’s also the 1.5-litre diesel with 84bhp (badged Blue dCi 85) and spring 2020 will see the arrival of a hybrid Clio with a CVT automatic gearbox.
However, the Clio has its work cut out for it to stand its ground in a small car class that’s packed full of great cars. Keen drivers have the Ford Fiesta, those after something plusher might consider an Audi A1 and you can’t forget the talented all-rounder that is the Volkswagen Polo.
To find out if the Clio has what it takes, click through the next few pages to find out if the interior impresses with its plushness and space, if the driving experience is up to scratch and how it compares to those rivals. And, whichever model takes your fancy, peruse our New Car Buying section for sizeable discounts on plenty of makes and models, all without any awkward haggling.