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.
Renault Clio dashboard
The higher trim levels get 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. 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 if you prefer on Iconic models and above.
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.
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.
The new 9.3-inch portrait infotainment screen dominates the centre of the Clio’s dashboard but entry-level models do without it, getting a much smaller screen for the radio instead. Iconic models are fitted with a seven-inch version, which does at least come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
To get the 9.3-inch touchscreen, you’ll have to upgrade to the S Edition and R.S Line trim levels. These trims also feature a seven-inch digital instrument panel, while a fully configurable 10-inch cluster is available as an option. A digital cluster is only an option in the Volkswagen Polo and it isn’t even available in the Ford Fiesta. There’s now also a dedicated Launch Edition trim level for the hybrid, although it can be chosen on all other trim levels.
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 traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assist and autonomous emergency braking.
If you would like rear parking sensors, the larger infotainment screen, a leather steering wheel, tinted windows or bigger alloy wheels, you’ll need to go for the Iconic trim level or above.