The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Renault Clio's driving seat has a decent amount of seat adjustment and most people should be able to get comfortable behind the wheel, but there is no electric adjustment option. S Edition and RS Line trims come with sportier seats with more side bolstering to help keep you in place during cornering.
The steering wheel is reach and rake adjustable, and its airbag design gives you a clear view through it to the instrument cluster, or the 7.0in digital TFT display on S Edition and above. Although you can switch between modes, the digital screen can’t show as much information and isn’t as clear as the Active Info Display in the VW Polo.
On the top RS Line trim, you can upgrade to a more impressive 10.0in version of the screen that extends the full width of the cluster and displays sat-nav directions and other information with greater clarity and detail. Unlike some cars, which have controls hidden away in the infotainment menu, the Clio has physical buttons and dials to set, for example, the climate control.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
While the Clio’s screen and front windows are large, its steeply raked windscreen pillars are rather thick and can interfere with your vision in situation such as pulling out of a T junction.
While the rear screen pillars aren’t as broad as those of some rivals, the lower left and right extremes of the screen itself sweep upwards over the rear lights, reducing your field of vision when looking backwards. Entry-level Play trim does without any parking aids, but Iconic gives you rear parking sensors and S Edition adds front sensors and a rear-view camera.
Sat nav and infotainment
The Clio's entry-level Play trim has a 4.2in multimedia display screen with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and USB and aux inputs. If you opt for the E-Tech in Play trim or move up to Iconic, the system is upgraded to a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Overall, the infotainment is a bit laggy and it can’t quite match the high-resolution graphics found on the VW Polo’s set-up.
RS trim and above get a larger 9.3in portrait-oriented screen that is used a bit like a tablet computer or larges smartphone. It's glass-fronted and looks good but, like 4.2in version, it's still quite basic and laggy. Helpfully, there are five touch-sensitive buttons at its base for infotainment shortcuts, although we wish the two for the volume were replaced by a good old-fashioned knob.
Although the least expensive trim level, Play, has a lot of scratchy plastics on display, the other trim levels demonstrate that Renault has worked hard to raise the perceived quality of the Clio’s interior.
Even compared with the VW Polo or premium small cars such as the Audi A1, the abundant soft-touch surfaces and leatherette finishes not only look great, but also help to make the Clio feel more expensive than it is.
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