Renault Clio Review

Find out more about the Renault Clio in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£8,049
Average Price
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  • Pros
  • Attractive styling
  • Efficient engine range
  • Plenty of scope for personalisation
  • Cons
  • Bargain basement interior trim
  • Firm ride
  • Not as practical as some rivals
  • MPG
    50 - 88
  • CO2
    82 - 127 g/km

Review

 

The Renault Clio has been with us in some guise or another since 1990, when the original model was first launched. Since then, the popular supermini has gone on to span four generations, with the current model being released in 2012. With more than 13 million sales since its launch in 1990, the Renault Clio is the best-selling French car of all time.

 

In addition to the regular, everyday models that make up the majority of Clio sales, Renault has also produced a number of high-performance Clios during its lifespan. The original Clio Williams hot-hatchback was released in 1993, and is now a modern day classic. Another iconic fast Clio was the Renault Sport Clio V6, which was based on the second-generation model.

 

While the Clio may be one of the more trendy hatchbacks available on the market, it has always struggled to keep pace with the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo in terms of outright popularity.

Latest model

 

The fourth-generation Clio was first released in 2012, after making its debut at that year’s Paris Motor Show. It was refreshed in 2016 to help it keep pace with its rivals in the incredibly competitive B-segment of the market.

 

With this mid-life refresh, Renault introduced two new powertrains – a 1.5-litre, 109bhp diesel engine and a 2.0-litre 118bhp petrol engine, both of which are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.

 

Other updates include a revised multimedia infotainment system, refreshed exterior styling, an optional Bose stereo and a hands-free parking system to name but a few.

 

The regular Clio is available in five different trim levels, while there are also two performance-orientated Renault Sport Clio models as well.

 

 

Value for money

 

The Renault Clio is by no means an expensive car. Prices for the entry-level model start at £11,915, meaning it is on par with other rivals in the segment.

 

Thanks to the mild update in 2016, Renault has increased the level of equipment offered with the Clio, improving its value for money in the process. Even basic models gain USB connectivity, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and electric front wheels.

 

Customers who want to get their hands on features such as satellite navigation will have to part with a bit more cash and opt for the £14,415 Dynamique Nav trim level. While it is more expensive, you’ll also gain features such as DAB radio, keyless entry and automatic headlights and front wipers.

 

On the used market, an early fourth-generation Clio will cost around £5,500. For this money, you could get a 63-reg Clio with 56,000 miles on the clock that comes equipped with features such as satellite navigation, air-conditioning, keyless entry, alloy wheels and Bluetooth connectivity. With the wide range of used fourth-generation Clios available on the used market, it would pay to look around before deciding to buy new.

 

Looks and image

One of the Clio’s most appealing features is the fact that it’s one of the better looking cars in the supermini segment. While the current fourth-generation has been with us since 2012, the 2016 update has helped to keep it looking fresh and up to date.

 

The front end has been redesigned, with changes to the grille that houses the large Renault badge as well as new front foglights and a revised lower bumper. While the changes may be subtle, they work to give the Clio a more grown up appearance when compared with its earlier sibling from 2012.

 

Unfortunately, the same can’t quite be said of the Clio’s interior. The quality of the materials used here aren’t on par with those found in other rivals, and the Clio falls short of best-in-class in this category.

Space and practicality

 

While the Clio may be one of the largest cars available in the supermini market, it certainly isn’t class-leading when it comes to the space on offer for rear passengers.

 

Its sloping roofline, and small side windows does mean it feels rather cramped in the back of the Clio. While there are three seatbelts available for use, getting three adult passengers in the rear seats would make long journeys an uncomfortable experience.

 

That said, though, as the Clio is only available as a five-door, getting in and out is never going to be too difficult. Boot space is also up on important rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, with 300 litres on offer. With the rear seats folded flat, this is increased to 1,146 litres.

 

Engines

 

The Renault Clio is available with a wide range of engine configurations, both petrol and diesel.

 

The 1.5-litre diesel engine is available with either 89bhp or 109bhp, although the 89bhp version is offered with both a manual and automatic transmission, while the 109bhp is offered with a manual only.

 

In 89bhp guise, the diesel engine can manage a combined economy figure of up to 88.3mpg. while CO2 emissions drop to as low as 82g/km. The 109bhp diesel, on the other hand features a combined fuel economy figure of 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 90g/km.

 

The petrol engine line-up is much more comprehensive. A 1.2-litre, 75bhp unit represents the entry-level petrol engine. This power plant develops 74bhp, and features a combined fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg. CO2 emissions stand at 127g/km.

 

Next in the petrol range is a smaller, but more powerful 0.9-litre engine. This produces 89bhp, and can manage a fuel economy figure as high as 67.3mpg in ‘Eco’ specification, as well as CO2 emissions of 94g/km.

 

Another, turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine is also available. This engine develops 118bhp and features a combined fuel economy figure of 53.3mpg when paired with a manual transmission, and 52.3mpg with an automatic. CO2 emissions stand at 118g/km for the manual and 120g/km for the automatic.

 

The performance-orientated Renault Sport Clios are offered with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Depending on the model specified, this engine produces either 197bhp or 217bhp in the flagship Clio Renault Sport 220 Trophy. This model is capable of a 0-60mph time of 6.4 seconds as well as a top speed of 146mph.

 

Running costs

With such a wide range of engines available with the Clio, running costs will obviously vary by a fair amount. Those who are after the best fuel economy possible should look at the 1.5-litre diesel engine in Eco specification, which boasts fuel economy figures of 88.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 82g/km.

 

At the other end of the scale, however, is the Clio Renault Sport 220 Trophy. This high-performance model is nowhere near as thirsty as the diesel Clios, but with a fuel economy figure of 47.9mpg, it isn’t exactly going to break the bank.

 

The changes to VED bands that are set to be introduced on April 1 will have an effect on running costs, however. Under the current system, many Clios are exempt from road tax as they emit less than 100g/km of CO2. However, from April 1 all will qualify for annual road tax payments.

 

As an example, a Clio with the 0.9-litre 89bhp petrol engine in Eco specification currently pays no road tax, but will be liable for a first year figure of £120 and £140 for each subsequent year if registered after April 1.

Things to look out for

 

In 2014, a recall was issued covering fourth-generation Clios built between November 2012 and July 2014.

 

There were concerns over the cars’ braking efficiency, which was at risk of being reduced due to protectors for the front brake hoses being fitted incorrectly.

 

The potential fault could have led to a leakage of brake fluid, which would have required a good deal more effort on the driver’s part to bring the car to a stop.
If you’re considering buying a Clio manufactured during this time period, be sure to check that the repairs addressing this issue have been carried out.

 

Rivals

 

The B-segment is an incredibly competitive part of the market, and the Renault Clio will find itself going up against the likes of the Ford Fiesta, the Citroen C3 and the Volkswagen Polo.

 

The Ford Fiesta is arguably the car to go for in this segment, and it pays to remember that it has been the best-selling car in the UK for multiple years now. The new model that is set to be released later this year will no doubt carry this trend on.

 

Another option is the funky Citroen C3. This funky supermini is heavily inspired by the larger C4 Cactus, and a base-spec model is also close to £2,000 cheaper than the Clio. The Volkswagen Polo, meanwhile, offers a more premium badge as well as a more upmarket interior.

 

Depreciation warning

 

Unfortunately, the Clio doesn’t seem to hold its value as well as its key rivals do in this segment. The Volkswagen Polo and Peugeot 208 have both been reported to perform better when the time to sell comes around.

Which Clio to Pick

Trims Explained

Not including the go-faster Clio Renault Sport models, the Clio is available in five different trim levels.

Expression

The entry-level Expression trim level includes standard features such as cruise control, DAB radio with Bluetooth streaming and USB connectivity as well as LED daytime running lights to name but a few.

This trim costs from £11,915.

Play

Moving up the range, Play models gain 16-inch alloys, front fog lights, manual air conditioning and variable speed front windscreen wipers.

Prices for this model start at £13,415.

Dynamique Nav

Next is the Dynamique Nav specification. This model benefits from standard features such as a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates satellite navigation, an Eco mode function, electric door mirrors, automatic headlights and front wipers as well as front electric windows.

Prices for this model start at £14,415.

Dynamique S Nav

Dynamique S Nav gains 17-inch black alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, LED head and taillights, automatic climate control and electric rear windows.

It costs from £16,265.

Signature Nav

The top-of-the-line Signature Nav models start at £17,715 and gain an upgraded multimedia system that incorporates a 12-month subscription to TomTom Live Services.

It also gains hands free parking and a height adjustable passenger seat.

Sport

The Clio Renault Sport hot-hatchbacks also come with plenty of standard equipment, which includes satellite navigation, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch Renault Sport alloys, sportier styling, and launch control to name but a few.

Summary

  1. The Renault Clio costs from £11,915 for the entry-level model
  2. Next to rivals, the rear seats don’t quite offer the same levels of space
  3. High-performance Clio Renault Sport 220 Trophy offers hot-hatch thrills
  4. Clios don’t hold their values as well as some rivals
  5. Much cheaper to tax used cars as old rules apply
  6. Will become more expensive to tax from April 1 2017
  7. 300-litre boot is comparable with rivals
  8. Better suited to young families due to limited rear space
  9. Rivals such as the Ford Fiesta offer a more engaging drive
  10. Materials used in cabin can leave a lot to be desired