What's the used Renault Clio hatchback like?
While it might not sell in the same kind of volume as the its rivals, the Renault Clio is just as well known to most car buyers. For that, you can thank a certain Nicole and her papa who appeared in a hugely successful advertising campaign to promote the original Clio of 1991.
This fourth-generation car arrived more than twenty years later and has been a popular choice with small car buyers ever since. For that you can thank its bold exterior and interior styling (including a dashboard shaped like an aircraft’s wing), competitive pricing and low running costs.
And while the Clio can’t match the likes of the Skoda Fabia or Kia Rio for interior space, it at least has a boot the same size as that of the Ford Fiesta. That in turn means it will swallow a couple of large cases without fuss, but if you’re buying a Clio with the aim of transporting small children, be prepared to familiarise yourself with their buggy’s wheel-release mechanism.
Space in the rear seats is fine for children but taller adults will find that both leg room and head room is tight. Those in the front will enjoy a much more space, but might still rue the shortage of decent cubby holes for phones and the like.
The highlights of the engine line-up are Renault’s smooth 1.5-litre diesel and a turbocharged three-cylinder 0.9-litre petrol engine, both with 88bhp. There are also 1.2-litre petrols either with a turbocharger (118bhp) or without (74bhp), but these are rather expensive or rather slow respectively. If you’d prefer an automatic gearbox rather than the slightly notchy manual you’ll need to opt for either the 1.5 diesel or the turbocharged 1.2 petrol, and for speed demons there’s the hot Renault Sport version, with its 1.6-litre turbo.
The Clio doesn’t quite match the benchmark set by the Ford Fiesta either in terms of ride comfort or handling. That said, it comes closer than most small cars and, aside from a restricted over-the-shoulder view, is a doddle to drive.
In June 2016 the Clio line-up received upgraded materials for the interior and the addition of a more powerful 110bhp version of the 1.5 diesel complete with a six-speed gearbox. For those after a truly sporty drive the Clio Renault Sport (RS) and in particular its Trophy derivative are very capable cars.