What Car? says...
We’ve got used to the Renault Clio going through more costume changes than Madonna. From not-so-subtle nose jobs to complete transformations, each new version has had a style of its own.
Imagine our surprise, then, when we first saw pictures of this latest Clio, for which the French manufacturer clearly opted for evolution rather than revolution. That said, the previous generation of the small car was more glamorous and desirable than its sensible predecessor, so why mess with it?
To find out whether the Renault Clio has what it takes to compete with them, read on through the next few page of this review, where we'll tell you whether the interior impressed use with its plushness and space, if the driving experience is up to scratch and how it compares to those rivals.
Remember, if you do decide to buy a new car, whatever make and model takes your fancy, we can help you make big savings on the list price. Simply peruse the free What Car? New Car Buying service, where you can find sizeable discounts without any awkward haggling, including some impressive Renault Clio Deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
With the TCe 90 engine fitted, the Renault Clio has a similar amount of power to our recommended VW Polo 1.0 TSI 95, which you'd expect to make it feel just as punchy on the road. Sadly, though, it doesn’t, and the lower torque output means it doesn’t perform as well from low revs so you have to work the engine hard to make progress.
Suspension and ride comfort
Although by class standards we wouldn’t describe the Clio as uncomfortable, there’s no doubt that the VW Polo is a far more absorbent companion on bumpy roads. The Clio can’t quite round off imperfect road surfaces as well as the Polo, fidgeting more than its German rival, resulting in a choppy ride.
More of concern, though, is the way potholes and ridges thud through the car’s body as the suspension fails to soak them up, even on the 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.
One thing’s for sure, if you start to push the Clio hard, you’ll feel it gently and safely running wide at the front before the stability control kicks in to rein it back in. It’s safe, but the Fiesta and VW Polo both grip more evenly from front to rear.
Noise and vibration
If you try to pull away from a standstill at low revs with the 1.0-litre TCe 90 petrol engine, you’ll notice some vibration through the Clio's steering wheel, pedals and gearlever. The gearshift itself is hampered by an overly large gearknob, which isn’t particularly comfortable to hold, and fifth gear requires a deliberate hand before it engages, but the knob is high in the centre console for easy reach.
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 with barely a murmur and is smoother than the hybrid Toyota Yaris. The E-Tech’s engine is quiet when accelerating, only getting vocal when you really push it.
|RRP price range||£18,795 - £23,595|
|Number of trims (see all)||3|
|Number of engines (see all)||2|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||hybrid, petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||54.4 - 68.9|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||5 years / 100000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£975 / £1,162|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£1,950 / £2,324|