Renault Clio hatchback (2013-2019)
"The Renault Clio is good to drive and looks great, but on the inside it’s some way off rivals, which offer more space and are better made"
- Efficient engines
- Striking looks
- Fun to drive
- Limited line-up
- Cramped rear seats
- Cheap-feeling interior
The Renault Clio has been around in one form or another for years, but the current model is undeniably the most stylish. That means it really stands out from its rivals, which include the Ford Fiesta, SEAT Ibiza and Vauxhall Corsa.
Unlike some of its rivals, the Clio is only available as a five-door hatchback, although the hidden rear door handle gives the appearance of a sleeker three-door. Nevertheless, if it’s a three-door you want, you need to look elsewhere.
If it’s not a problem, you’ll be pleased to hear the Clio competes well in pretty much every department, even if it doesn’t really lead the supermini class in one single area.
For example, higher-spec models have some interior design flair, but choose a cheaper version and the interior falls short. While that’s a criticism that can be levelled at most cars, it’s unusual that only the mid-range and top-spec models have a soft-touch dashboard finish.
There’s a decent amount of space for passengers in the back but the sloping roofline means the Volkswagen Polo is a more spacious rival. The Clio is nearer the top of the class when it comes to boot space, offering 300 litres, which is almost on a par with cars such as the Ford Focus from the class above.
The Clio is nice to drive, but keen motorists are more likely to choose a Fiesta or Ibiza.
The suspension is fairly soft, meaning what the Clio lacks in driving thrills, it makes up for in isolating the passengers from bumpy and scarred tarmac. There’s a fair bit of body lean when driving around corners at speed, the steering feels light and overly assisted and the gearbox could be a little more precise, but it’s generally a relaxing and easy car to drive.
Clio buyers can choose between two petrols and one diesel engine. There are two 0.9-litre turbocharged petrols – the TCe 75 and the TCe 90 – with outputs of 75 and 89bhp respectively, plus an 89bhp 1.5-litre diesel. The petrols are only offered with a manual gearbox, while the diesel can be had with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
Renault offered a larger 1.2-litre petrol engine until May 2018, but the smaller engine is actually better, offering improved performance and lower running costs. The 0.9-litre TCe is good fun to drive and offers a 0-62mph acceleration time of 12.3 or 12.1 seconds, while still being capable of around 47mpg.
The 1.5-litre dCi diesel’s performance, economy and emissions figures depend on the whether you choose a manual or automatic gearbox. The former is the quickest, with 0-62mph taking 11.8 seconds and a 112mph top speed; go for the automatic and these figures drop to 13.1 seconds and 110mph respectively. The manual is marginally cleaner, with 104-106g/km of CO2 versus 105-107g/km for the automatic, but both have identical economy figures of 56.5 to 57.6mpg depending on wheel size and trim level.
Following Renault’s simplification of the Clio range, you have a choice of three trim levels: Play, Iconic and GT Line.
Although it didn't feature in our 2018 survey, the Clio finished 70th out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2017 Driver Power owner survey of cars currently on sale in the UK. Safety shouldn’t be any concern, with the car being awarded five stars in Euro NCAP crash-tests. Renault itself finished 24th out of 26 manufacturers surveyed in our most recent survey, just ahead of its sister brand Dacia and French rival Citroen.