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.
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