Although they’ve never really released anything which really wows, Renault have had a great record for practical and reliable cars. When it comes to Clios, they obviously like to stick with what they know! This car has been around in different variants for years now, and every owner I’ve talked to has nothing but good things to say about it. Is this all hype out of loyalty to the brand, or is this little runner really that good? Well, it’s time to find out. Here’s our look at the latest version of Renault’s lovable hatchback.
So, what’s the Clio like at first glance? The higher-ups at Renault have obviously recognised one of the Clio’s biggest strengths; the styling. Ever since the original was released, people have lost their minds over how good-looking Clios are compared to other hatchbacks. The latest models of the Clio have had a complete overhaul in aesthetic style.
However, they still manage to look fresh and sleek. The low curve of the roof line almost makes you forget the compact dimensions of the car. The tail is wonderfully sculpted, and gives a gorgeous complement to the shallow rear windows. For my money, this is one of the sleekest looking hatchbacks on the modern market. However, that’s certainly not the only thing the Clio has going for it!
If you look around the market for a modern Clio, a lot of them will have a standard 1.2-litre engine. If you’ve ever driven a hatch with one of these before, then this won’t offer you any new experiences. The less common, 0.9-litre 3-cylinder model is the one that’s really exciting. Fiat have said this model has been designed for economy, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint!
The forced induction means you’ll find this model nice and nimble when you’re in an urban setting. However, it’s equally easy to manoeuvre when you’re pushing it on country roads. If anyone tells you that hatchbacks aren’t versatile enough, then tell them to try one of these! Personally, I would go with the 0.9-litre. However, it’s not without its shortcomings.
Once you get this Clio on the motorway, the performance isn’t exactly ideal. You can feel the engine straining slightly once you get past 60, and changing lanes at speed feels harder than it should. If you’re going to be using it for a lot of long drives, then I’d go with the 1.2 version. Alternatively, you might be able to track down a 1.5 litre diesel. As you can imagine though, this last one costs quite a bit more! For general, everyday driving, any Clio shows great performance.
The accelerator is just as sensitive as you’d want it, and the steering wheel is nice and responsive for urban driving. As always, the dependable Renault car tyres makes a nice bolster to the fuel economy, and will give you years of use.
The interior of the modern Clio looks just as inviting as the exterior. Most of the lining is made of your standard hatchback plastics. Although these are dull and unexciting, the amount of gadgets and electronic features more than make up for it. Newer Clios come with a tablet in the centre panel.
Right now, this is your standard infotainment system. However, Renault intend to have it downloading apps in the near future. The limitations there are unknown as of yet. However, this touch of modernism is still a lovely feature to have. The storage and space is what you’d expect. There are ample cubby holes in each door and between the front seats.
The fabric lining everything isn’t anything special, but certainly isn’t ugly or uncomfortable. One of my big drawbacks about this car is the lowered roof. Although this makes the car look particularly sexy from the outside, the headroom is a little compromised compared to some of its competitors. This can reduce comfort and visibility for taller drivers.
However, I’m sure the majority of owners won’t mind. Overall, the interior is spacious enough for purpose. The boot’s hatch shape is a little awkward to fit things into. However, with 300 litres of storage, it’s pretty hard to complain!
All in all, the Renault is a highly practical and enjoyable car to drive. Its safety features and fuel economy make it particularly attractive, and it’s all rounded off by its techy features. Six airbags will give you peace of mind, and the ESP, Bluetooth and keyless go make the Clio an incredibly fun experience. If you’re looking to buy a new hatchback, you could do so much worse than this!
Image Credit: Wikimedia