The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Clio gives its driver a decent amount of seat adjustment, so most drivers should be able to get comfortable, although 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 has a design of airbag that allows the centre of the wheel to be made small enough that you can see the instrument cluster – or the 7.0in digital TFT display on S Edition and above – clearly through it. Although you can switch the digital screen between different displays, it lacks the configurability and clarity of the 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 hidden in an infotainment menu, there are physical buttons and dials to set the climate control or change the Multi-Sense driving modes, for example.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
We’ve few complaints regarding the view out the front of the Clio. The screen and front windows are large, although the steeply raked windscreen pillars are rather thick, something that means pulling out of a T junction requires a little caution.
However, although those rear screen pillars aren’t as broad as in some rivals, the lower left and right extremes of the screen itself sweep upwards over the rear lights, obstructing your view. Entry-level Play trim does without any parking aids, but Iconic gets 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.
Sat nav and infotainment
Entry-level Play trim gets a 4.2in multimedia display screen with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and USB and aux inputs. Iconic trim brings an upgrade to a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system and also adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. The system is a little laggy and can’t quite match the high-resolution graphics found on the Volkswagen Polo’s set-up.
The two top trims get a larger 9.3in portrait-set 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 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 coloured interior packs that add coloured fascias around the air vents and gearstick.