What Car? says...
We’ve got used to the Renault Clio going through more costume changes than a fashion model. The latest redesign will see a number of subtle tweaks that bring this small car more in line with the looks of the French manufacturer’s other models.
The facelift will also see the petrol-only engine option being dropped so the Clio will only be available as a hybrid car – matching the hybrid-only Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Until the facelifted hybrid-only Renault Clio arrives later in 2023, you can get a TCe 90 pure-petrol engine. It has a similar amount of power to our favourite version of the VW Polo (the 1.0 TSI 95) but its lower torque output means it doesn’t perform as well from low revs, so you have to work the engine hard to make progress.
In fact, it will take more than 12sec to 'sprint' from 0-62mph, compares with the Polo's 10.8sec. That’s not to say it lacks the power for A-road overtakes, but you do have to make sure the engine is spinning past 5000rpm. The Seat Ibiza and the Polo are far more flexible and easier to drive.
The other engine option Renault offers is the more fuel-efficient E-Tech Hybrid 145. It’s punchier than the TCe 90, with a relatively swift 0-62mph time of 9.3sec. There’s a surprising amount of poke off the line even when it’s running in fully electric mode. It can take a second or two for the petrol engine to kick in, whereas the Honda Jazz gets going a little sooner, but you never feel you’re going nowhere thanks to the initial burst of acceleration.
More concerning is the way potholes and ridges thud through the car’s body because the suspension fails to soak them up, even on smaller 16in alloy wheels. Those impacts never cause the car’s body movements to feel uncontrolled, but you feel everything except freshly laid Tarmac through the seat.
If you pitch the Clio into a corner briskly, you’ll find that body lean is kept nicely under control, yet there’s little sense of fun to be had from driving it down a winding country road in a spirited manner. The Ford Fiesta is the car to go for if driver entertainment is what you're looking for.
In the E-Tech hybrid there’s a bit of motor whine when it’s running on electricity, but when the petrol engine chimes in it does so reasonably quietly, as it does in the Jazz, and is smoother than the Toyota Yaris. The E-Tech engine is quiet when accelerating, only getting vocal when you really push it.
The brakes feel sensitive, but you get used to them quickly. There’s quite a lot of wind noise at higher speeds in all models, and that combined with the vibrations coming from the engines can make for a slightly tiresome driving experience.
We think the Honda Jazz is a better small car because of its greater efficiency and practicality over the Clio. That said, the Clio is cheaper and still does enough well to make it a fine all-rounder and worthy of shortlisting.
Sadly the hot hatch version – the Renault Clio RS (2013-2019) – is no longer available new. You might find one on our used cars for sale pages.
There are some good finance deals on the Clio that make it one of the more affordable small cars. Insurance is cheaper than for some rivals too. Find the latest prices on our New Car Deals pages.
All things being relative, the Clio isn’t bad on fuel, and should do high 40s to the gallon in pure petrol form, while the hybrid should be above 50mpg. That said, the Honda Jazz and the Toyota Yaris are more frugal.
|RRP price range||£19,095 - £24,195|
|Number of trims (see all)||4|
|Number of engines (see all)||2|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol, hybrid|
|MPG range across all versions||53.3 - 68.9|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£1,007 / £1,172|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£2,013 / £2,344|