Renault Clio review - E-Tech hybrid takes on EV rivals
"The Renault Clio is great value because of the impressive comfort, technology and interior quality"
- Great interior
- Well equipped
- Affordable hybrid
- Limited engine choice
- High loading lip
- Wind and road noise
Verdict - Is the Renault Clio a good car?
The latest Renault Clio matches the driving finesse of the outgoing Ford Fiesta and outshines it in other areas. The Renault’s interior is one of the best in class, while generous cabin space, excellent safety and low running costs help make it a firm favourite with small-car buyers. Renault will often provide finance incentives, too, such as 0% APR or a deposit contribution, making it one of the most affordable options available.
Renault Clio models, specs and alternatives
The Renault Clio is one of the most popular superminis in Europe. Here in the UK, the Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo are more common but the Renault is a huge seller on the continent and it’s not hard to see why this new model is a success: it’s impressive in all the key areas for supermini buyers.
A recent facelift has brought the Clio more in line with other recent Renault models such as the Austral SUV, with its revised headlights and a wider grille. The Clio’s restyle, which includes Renault’s latest logo, has been surprisingly effective – it now looks much further removed from the model it replaced in 2019. The latest Clio is more comfortable, better-equipped and more efficient than its predecessor, and represents great value for money.
The range is now topped by an Esprit Alpine model, which as the name suggests takes some inspiration from the Alpine sports car brand, part of the larger Renault Group. This model gets some styling touches of its own and special interior details, including front seats unique to this trim level.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of the latest Clio is the interior, which has been upgraded significantly and now looks just as upmarket as an Audi A1. The fact Renault has done this without charging a premium price for the car is impressive, especially thanks to the quality 9.3-inch touchscreen (seven-inch on lower-spec models) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s even a digital instrument panel fitted in some trim levels, so it feels very modern.
Its five-star Euro NCAP safety rating is great to see as well, thanks in part to autonomous emergency braking as standard and even an optional 360-degree camera to make parking as easy as it can be.
The Clio is a fun, accomplished car to drive. It stands as a very effective compromise between comfort and handling; it means the Clio matches rivals such as the SEAT Ibiza and Peugeot 208 in the dynamics department without bettering them. The Clio’s steering has been sharpened up slightly and there's little body lean, while the 1.0-litre petrol with 89bhp offers decent performance. Up until late 2021, you could also choose a languid non-turbo 1.0-litre or a range-topping 1.3-litre TCe petrol only offered in top trims with an automatic gearbox. A diesel engine was also previously available.
The alternative to the TCe 90 petrol engine is the Clio E-Tech hybrid version which could make more sense, thanks to even lower CO2 emissions. With a small battery pack, an electric motor that harvests energy under braking, and another that can power the front wheels at up to 40mph, Renault reckons it will save up to 40% of the fuel normally used in stop-start urban driving. Sure enough, the hybrid manages up to 67.3mpg according to Renault, and during our test drives we've managed to return high-50s in real-world conditions.
Which Is Best?
- Name1.0 SCe 75 Play 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual
- Name1.6 E-TECH Hybrid 140 Play 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeAuto
- Name1.0 TCe 100 Play 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeSemi-auto