The Renault Clio is a smart looking small car that you can enjoy driving. Trouble is, newer cars feel better built inside and are more spacious for passengers and luggage
The Renault Clio is a five-door small family car with hidden rear doors designed to trick you into thinking it’s a sporty three-door. Launched in 2012, the Clio was updated in 2016 with slightly different styling, a better quality interior and a new diesel engine.
Interior space remains the same, though, so a new SEAT Ibiza is a roomier alternative. That said, the Clio has enough space for tall adults in the front and they’ll also be able to squeeze into the back, although it won’t take too long for them to feel uncomfortable.
It’s the same story with the boot – it’s alright, but newer cars’ load bays are bigger and better designed. That said, all Clios have rear seats that split 60:40, so you can carry larger items in the boot and still have room for one or two people on the back seat. Smaller items aren’t so well catered for – the Clio’s glovebox and door bins aren’t the biggest.
At least the driving experience is above average. The Clio’s quick steering makes it feel lively in bends, and although it doesn’t have the same glued-to-the-road sensation you get in a Ford Fiesta, it’s still a lot of fun to drive quickly. It isn’t too noisy on the motorway either, but it really shines in town where its light controls and small dimensions make it easy to manoeuvre.
The Clio looks good and drives pretty well, but newer models have pushed it down the small car pecking order
Town driving’s even more enjoyable with one of the Clio’s zippy petrol engines. The 90hp 0.9-litre model is perfect if you never leave the city – it can thrum along at a reasonable lick and doesn’t have a huge thirst for petrol. Consider the quicker 120hp 1.2-litre model if you often drive on the motorway. Diesels with 90 and 110hp are also available, but are only worth their higher price if you rack up lots and lots of miles.
If that’s the case, it’ll be reassuring to know the Clio was awarded a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2012. It comes with anti-lock brakes – that mean you can brake hard and still steer the car – and loads of airbags. However, it misses out on modern technology such as automatic emergency braking.
Missing kit like that highlights that the Clio isn’t as box-fresh as some alternatives, but if you want a small car that’s stylish, enjoyable to drive and cheap to run then it’s still a tempting proposition.
For more in-depth analysis of the Renault Clio, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, to see what sort of offers are available on the Clio, click through to our deals page.