- We like...Smooth ride, big boot
- We don't...Woolly feel to steering
Mini-estate packs a big boot and a yawning tailgate, making an even more practical alternative to the regular ClioBaby estate cars are a great idea. They give all the cheapness and handiness of a supermini, but add a good helping of extra load space. Perfect for a dog or – if you pack light – a weekend’s luggage for four.
And when your starting place is a car that’s as good as the Renault Clio, currently one of our favourite superminis, you’ve the makings of a winner. But Renault hasn’t just called its full-fat Clio an estate. Instead, it’s gone all lifestyle-y and named it the Sport Tourer.
That poses a challenge for us, because it isn’t sporty and it’s also a touch small for touring (whatever that might be). But, name aside, we think it’s a cracking little car.
It’s longer than other Clios and those extra cms have all gone into the boot. Quite right: the boot is the reason you’d pick this and it’s half again as big as the regular car’s. There’s also a pull out floor which, when removed, gives a valuable few dozen extra litres of space.
The rear seats don’t auto-fold as they will in Lagunas and other big Renaults but they do drop flat to extend space. And the luggage cover has its own special stowage slot in the boot floor. The tailgate is big and opens wide and the boot floor is low and flush with the back door.
Up front, it’s the same as other Clios, which means one of the roomiest, most comfy interiors you’ll find in a small car. The dash is one of the simplest of any car and the better for it. But, even so, there’s no shortage of equipment: air conditioning, remote locking, alloy wheels, leather-covered steering wheel rim and gear knob are all standard on our Dynamique model, as is the posher, soft-touch dash fitted in costlier Clios.
Outside it looks sleek and complete. Where other estates look awkward and as if they’re a quick ‘n’ dirty makeover of the superminis, there’s no hint of that here. It’s a looker and at £900 or so dearer than the equivalent-model five-door Clio hatchback, it’s fair value.
And to drive, it feels just like other Clios – grown-up for a small car, smooth and easy. Its 1.5 diesel engine rips along quickly, while turning in strong fuel economy and low exhaust emissions, too. It’s an easy drive and soaks up bumps well, although the steering has the same remote feel to it you’ll experience in other mainstream Clios. Oh, and in case you’re still wondering, despite that name, there’s nothing sporty about its road manners.
With a model line-up priced from just over £11,000 to topping £14,000, it isn’t cheap. A Skoda Fabia estate mayn’t have as big a boot but it ds a pretty similar job for thousands of pounds less, while a Peugeot 207 SW outds it on luggage space while undercutting its prices.
You won’t see second-hand ones for a while yet, because the model has just reached market. But when they do, we reckon they’ll be snapped up quickly. It’s a useful little beast, if an expensive one.
- Engines1.5 turbodiesel
- PowerSport Tourer
- 0-60 mph13.0secs
- Insurance groups3E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: