Renault Clio hatchback

Price  £11,145 - £18,275

Renault Clio hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Striking looks
  • Efficient engines
  • Fun to drive
  • Cheap interior
  • Limited range
  • Cramped rear

At a glance

The greenest
Expression+ dCi 90 ECO 5dr £15,225
The cheapest
Expression 1.2 16V 75 5dr £11,145
The fastest
GT-Line Nav 120 Auto 5dr £17,725
Top of the range
Dynamique S Nav dCi 90 Auto 5dr £18,275

"The fourth-generation Clio is bigger and more stylish than ever, and it’s one of the most affordable superminis to buy and run, if not the best to drive."

Renault has been having a tough time in the UK recently, but the Renault Clio remains one of its core models and has been a consistently popular choice with supermini buyers. It was previously available as a three or five-door hatch and a practical estate, but is now offered with five doors only.

The Clio goes up against traditional supermini rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia, and trades on its stylish looks, efficient range of engines and keen pricing. But despite that, it languishes behind those three more talented rivals.

Renault was one of the first brands to realise the importance of safety to family buyers, so it's no surprise to learn that, like its predecessor, the new Clio received a five-star rating in Euro NCAP tests.

There are five different trims to choose from, stretching from the seriously basic Expression model through to the well-equipped Dynamique MediaNav and sportier GT-Line version. Sitting at the top of the line-up is the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo: a hot hatch designed for the most eager and performance-focused drivers.

As for the standard range, there are currently four different engines to choose from: three petrols and one diesel. Entry-level cars come with a 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol, which is underpowered and not particularly efficient. The three-cylinder 0.9-litre TCe engine is much punchier and cleaner thanks to its turbocharger.

The 1.5-litre diesel boasts low CO2 emissions and excellent motorway refinement that none of the petrols versions can match. But it's the exciting 0.9-litre TCe that's our top pick.

Dynamique is the best trim to go for, as it comes with sat nav, air-conditioning, a seven-inch touchscreen and hands-free keycard as standard. The higher-spec Dynamique S only adds larger wheels and better upholstery, so it doesn’t really feel worth the extra cash.

The EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) automatic gearbox is available on the diesel and the top-spec 118bhp petrol models – it changes fairly swiftly but adds quite a lot of weight, which affects the handling. However, the five-speed manual that's standard on the rest of the range is notchy, so the automatic is worth a look.

Not sure what you're looking for? Find out what we think is the best small car by watching our video below.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.2 / 5

The Renault Clio is a real star when it comes to keeping running costs down, with some of the most efficient petrol and diesel engines in the class.

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

The Renault Clio has a good range of engines with decent performance, but the supermini’s handling isn’t quite up to scratch.

Interior & comfort

3.7 / 5

The Renault Clio feels like a larger and more grown-up car than many of its competitors – it’s quiet and comfortable inside.

Practicality & boot space

3.2 / 5

This latest Renault Clio looks bigger than its predecessors from outside, but it’s still a bit cramped inside – particularly in the back.

Reliability & safety

3.1 / 5

Safety has always been a Renault Clio strong point, while traditionally poor reliability seems to be improving.

What the others say

3.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
3 / 5
"There's a comprehensive set of engines and trim levels to choose from, but the drive still trails the Fiesta and the interior quality can't quite match the best in class."
4 / 5
"The Clio might not offer the supreme handling precision of a Ford Fiesta, but it's still pretty game and can easily be made to flow through a series of bends."
7 / 10
“The handling feels like it could comfortably use more power. It's agile and the back end joins in the fun. The steering's well-weighted and positive, if a little short on feel. The Clio rolls a bit, but it's up for having a laugh.”
What owners say 
4.1 /5 based on 433 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
22 Sep 2014
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