It wasn’t the 0.9-litre turbocharged engine which attracted us to this particular Clio, nor its comprehensive specification. No, we chose this model at a recent Renault driving day because we liked the colour – French Blue.
There’s much more to the new Clio than its colour choices, but vivid yellows, luscious metallic reds, classy blacks and this particular shade of blue all seem to exude Renault’s confidence in its new car.
Even in more subdued hues, the Clio’s distinctive styling immediately puts it ahead of most others in the class for appeal – in the metal, the new Clio has real presence. That it does is hardly surprising – its styling is directly influenced by 2010′s DeZir sports concept car, one of the most striking vehicles to emerge from a French studio in decades.
Our Dynamique MediaNav-specification car rolls on a choice of 16-inch alloy wheels, while gloss black exterior trim and chrome strips differentiate it from lesser models.
Francophiles will love the colour-coded interior, with blue gloss inserts on the wheel, gear gaiter, door trims and air vent rings, while the touchscreen-touting centre console has a neat gloss black finish. Opt for Dynamique S trim, and the whole dashboard can be turned blue if you wish, though naturally, the colour depends on your exterior choices. It’s far more imaginative than previous Clios, and feels more expensive.
It drives well, too. Our car thrummed to the tune of Renault’s 0.9-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged TCe engine.
The TCe is quiet at startup, and out on the road the 90 PS unit is eager. Despite having only five gears it’s happy enough to settle down to a hum at a cruise, and there’s adequate overtaking poke when you need it. For those who need more, a 120 PS model will arrive in due course.
You’ll notice wind noise from the A-pillars at higher speeds, and those structural elements also cause fairly large blind spots – a little disappointing, but sadly not unusual for the class these days.
The Clio rides and handles well though. We’d even call it fun, with quick steering and plenty of grip, leading us to believe that Paris will soon be full of new Clios traveling at even greater speeds than their forebears.
The airy cabin proved comfortable too over our short drive. As one of the larger cars in the class there’s plenty of space front and rear and a decent-sized 300-litre boot, while the driver’s seat and wheel offer plenty of adjustment.
Price as tested: 15,775
Combined MPG: 62.8
CO2: 104 g/km
Renault is hoping to regain a market it once had a large slice of, and subsequently lost with the tepid last generation Clio. For Renault’s sake, we hope it succeeds, and the bold new look alone should win many fans.
Those that venture deeper will find a real feelgood supermini and one which should prove inexpensive to run. All in all, there’s very little to dislike about the new Clio.
For more information check out our full summary of the new Renault Clio alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!