Renault Clio Review
The Renault Clio is a small hatchback with a plush-feeling cabin and a very practical boot, but it doesn’t look as eye-catching or feel as comfortable to drive as some alternatives.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Plush interior
- Roomy boot
- Decent standard equipment
What's not so good
- Looks like the old model
- Alternatives are more comfortable…
- …And more fun to drive
Renault Clio: what would you like to read next?
The original Renault Clio was one of the first cars to show the world that compact, city-slicking superminis could be practical as well as cool. A great deal has changed since that car went on sale, however, so does this latest French hatchback have what it takes to rule the urban roost?
Well, things get off to a slightly tricky start because this new Clio looks almost identical to the old model – despite using numerous all-new components. Sure, the hook-shaped headlights look pretty swanky and RS Line models get a few extra sporty touches, but these alone won’t be enough to steal admiring glances away from the likes of the more stylish Mini hatchback or Citroen C3.
Thankfully, things quickly improve when you step inside. The new Renault Clio’s smart, minimalist dashboard feels much posher than the old car’s confusing collection of buttons and blobby plastic trims and – besides a few scratchy plastics low down on the doors – all the materials you’ll touch regularly feel soft and well screwed together.
Another feather in the Renault Clio’s cap is its portrait infotainment system. It’s more logically laid out than in other Renault models, comes with many must-have smartphone mirroring features as standard and the graphics look much fancier than those in the likes of the Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa.
It’s not just glitzy tech that the Renault Clio does well; there’s also plenty of space for you to stretch out in the front and a decent amount of seat adjustment to help you get comfy.
Compared with some look-at-me small cars, the Renault Clio doesn’t exactly stand out. Step inside, however, and you’ll find it has a surprisingly posh interior for such a small car.
You can’t really say the same about the back seats, though. Anyone over six-foot tall will struggle for headroom and – unless you’re just carrying kids – you can forget about using all three back seats at once. Thankfully, there’ll be plenty of space for everyone’s luggage in the Renault Clio’s roomy boot because it’s even more spacious than a VW Polo’s.
Once you’re packed up and on your way, you’ll notice that the Renault Clio tends to fidget and bounce a little around town and on rough roads. That’s not to say every little imperfection will send an unpleasant jolt up your spine, but it’s certainly not as smooth as a Ford Fiesta.
The Renault Clio isn’t particularly easy to see out of either, thanks to its small side windows and super-slim rear windscreen. At least its small size, light steering and optional 360-degree surround-view camera helps take the stress out of parallel parking.
You can also get a driver assistance system to help take the edge off lengthy traffic jams that’ll accelerate, brake and steer for you – providing you keep your hands on the wheel. It even works at motorway speeds, but you can only get it on cars with Renault’s rather lethargic automatic gearbox.
That being said, even the standard manual ‘box is pretty easy to use, and the Renault Clio’s range of economical petrol engines feel reasonably perky without being too noisy or costly to run.
This all makes the Renault Clio a good all-round city car, but one that doesn’t really have the wow factor to stand out in a dense crowd of more desirable, more fun and more upmarket alternatives. That being said, if you’re after a small car that’s easy to drive, has a big boot and feels impressively posh inside, then the Clio’s well worth considering.