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, we are using them; it’s just that for once Renault's designers have opted for evolution rather than revolution.
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, bringing 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.
But 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.
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 three-cylinder that comes sans turbo and produces 74bhp, while at the top is the TCe 130, a 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo with 128bhp, that's offered exclusively with an automatic gearbox.
In theory, the turbocharged, 1.0-litre, 99bhp petrol (badged TCe 100) provides a happy medium. Its CO2 emissions are pretty good, too; only the 1.5-litre turbodiesel betters it, and then not by much.
However, the Clio is going to have its work cut out for it. The small car class is packed full of great cars with a range of talents. 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 if price is a concern, peruse our New Car Buying section for sizeable discounts on virtually all makes and models, all without any awkward haggling.