Renault Clio hatchback - Interior & comfort
The overhaul of the Clio's interior for this model is impressive
Over most roads the Clio proves comfortable but, like the Fiesta, it does have a slightly firm edge that can be unsettled by small imperfections in the road. Over larger bumps and through potholes it's more compliant than the SEAT Ibiza, however.
The Clio’s 1.0-litre petrol engine is just as quiet as the Ford's at speed, emitting just a muted background hum at speed that's likely to be drowned out by wind rushing around its door mirrors and noise generated by the tyres, which is a bit louder than we'd like on certain road surfaces.
The Clio's interior is undoubtedly the biggest area of change customers will notice, with an upmarket new design, improved materials and significantly updated technology. Despite the car’s slightly reduced length, Renault has chipped away at interior elements, shaving millimetres off them to create more space.
Infotainment and navigation
The top trim level gets the Clio’s new attention-grabbing party piece, a 9.3-inch portrait central touchscreen, but the instrument panel is also new, with a larger central screen between analogue gauges, or an entirely digital display that's sharp and customisable, with different themes based on each driving mode. When the latter is fitted, you can change its mode and display the sat nav, leaving your passenger free to choose their favourite radio station. The Clio's infotainment system isn't quite as slick to use as the best in class but it has plenty of features, and you can opt to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on all models.
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Many will also appreciate Renault's decision to keep physical controls for the climate control, rather than burying them in a touchscreen menu and, along with a row of 'Piano Key' switches beneath the display, they look rather neat. There's even a physical switch to turn off the lane-keep assist, which can be buried in sub menus in some cars.
Perhaps the most surprising transformation has been in design and materials, with more soft-touch materials than you'll find in a Volkswagen Polo or Audi A1. It's in stark contrast to the robust but mostly cheap plastics found in the old Clio. Materials on the new Esprit Alpine range-topper are particularly striking, and this model gets unique steering wheel trim too.
The seven-inch portrait infotainment screen dominates the centre of the Clio’s dashboard. Previously, entry-level Play versions did without an infotainment screen, getting a basic radio display instead. Both Evolution and Techno trims are fitted with this display, which also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Clio range is now topped by an Esprit Alpine model, just as it is with the larger Austral SUV. Renault has aimed to echo some of the characteristics of the exclusive Alpine A110 sports car here, so interior trim is specific to the model, and there’s a set of sporty seats (trimmed in sustainable fabrics), as well as specific trim for the three-spoke steering wheel, and Alpine graphics on the infotainment screen. Esprit Alpine versions also get the larger 9.3-inch touchscreen, as well as a larger 10-inch driver information display in place of the standard seven-inch setup.
The standard equipment list is generally long and the same goes for the safety equipment list. Every Clio comes with LED headlights, cruise control with a speed limiter and automatic folding door mirrors. To keep every Clio driver safe, every car comes with lane-keeping assist and autonomous emergency braking, while Techno versions and above get traffic sign recognition.
If you would like front parking sensors, tinted rear windows or bigger alloy wheels, you’ll also need to avoid the basic Evolution trim level.
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