The Clio comes with a choice of five main engines (plus the sporty RS models), but we’d advise against the basic 1.2 petrol. The best options are the 0.9-litre three-cylinder petrol motor and the 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel, which each produce 89bhp. The 0.9 petrol spins up smoothly and has decent shove from around 2500rpm, but you will find yourself downshifting if you encounter a steep hill. The diesel has more torque at low revs but it’s also willing to rev; it’s easily the strongest motor in the line-up.
If you need more power, there’s the option of a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine with 118bhp. It’s available with an automatic or manual gearbox and makes the Clio pretty nippy, but will prove a lot more expensive to run than its 0.9-litre equivalent. In the other direction you can also have a 108bhp version of the 1.5-litre diesel. It’s frugal, has good emissions, but is only available on the top trim levels, which makes it expensive.
At the sporty end of the range are the RS 200 and 220 hot hatches. With 197bhp and 217bhp respectively, and a dual-clutch gearbox, they offer more power than rivals such as the acclaimed Ford Fiesta ST.