The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Clio gives its driver a decent amount of seat adjustment and most should be able to get comfortable, but electric adjustment isn’t available on any trim level. 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 allows a clear view of the instrument cluster – or the 7.0in digital TFT display on S Edition and above – through it. Although you can switch between modes, the digital screen can’t show as much information and isn’t as clear as the Volkswagen Polo’s Active Info Display. You can upgrade to a 10.0in version on the top RS Line; this extends the full width of the cluster and is much more impressive, displaying information, such as sat-nav directions, with greater clarity and detail.
Unlike some cars, where controls are inconveniently hidden in an infotainment menu, there are physical buttons and dials to set the climate control, for example.
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 when pulling out of a T junction, for example.
And, 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. A 360deg birds-eye-view camera can be added to top-spec RS Line edition trim, which also comes with bright LED headlamps as standard.
Sat nav and infotainment
Entry-level Play trim has a 4.2in multimedia display screen with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and USB and aux inputs. Opt for the E-Tech in Play trim or move up to Iconic and the system is upgraded to a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. This system is a little laggy in use and can’t quite match the high-resolution graphics found on the Volkswagen Polo’s set-up.
S Edition trim and up (excluding RS Line Bose Edition which retains the 7.0in system) get a larger 9.3in portrait-oriented screen that mimics an iPad or even your mobile phone when it comes to how you use it. This glass-fronted system is much better-looking, but is still a little laggy and its graphics are still a little basic. 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.
You can also spec a more powerful Bose premium speaker system on all but Play and Iconic trim.
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 Volkswagen 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.
For that extra bit of personalisation, you can opt for an interior pack that add coloured fascias around the air vents and gearstick.
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