The Renault Clio is one of the more enjoyable small cars to drive, and its turbocharged TCe petrol engines are nippy and frugal – but it can feel a bit bumpy on rough roads
The Renault Clio equipped with the 0.9-litre TCe petrol models are perfect for town driving – it has instant acceleration at city speeds and doesn’t feel out its depth on the motorway. It’ll return official fuel economy of 60.1mpg.
The turbo petrol is a peach in town while the diesel has the oomph to deal with the motorway
For the best fuel economy, of course, you want a diesel. The dCi 90hp model returns galactic fuel economy of 91.1mpg, but make sure you’re going to drive enough miles to offset the fact that it costs more than an equivalent petrol.
The Renault Clio is a car that will always feel at its best in the city, no matter which engine you choose.
The Renault’s light controls mean it’s easy to drive a low speeds and its tight turning circle gives great manoeuvrability. There is a fairly big blind spot to contend with around the rear windscreen, but that’s a problem on most modern small cars, and mid-range Clios come with rear parking sensors that make it less of an issue. The most annoying thing is the car’s suspension, which can jiggle you around a bit and never truly seems to settle. A Ford Fiesta does a much better job of absorbing bumps.
The Renault Clio can still hold its own on a country road, though – only the Fiesta is more enjoyable to drive. The Renault Clio’s pointy steering gives you the confidence to turn into corners without having to make any last minute adjustments and there’s not much body lean to worry about, although the Renault Clio’s tall body does accentuate what lean there is. The Fiesta edges in front, though, because it has the Renault’s positives and adds suspension that’s much more settled on bumpy country roads.
The 90hp diesel Clios are available with an automatic gearbox but it dents acceleration in town and adds quite a bit to the asking price. Needless to say, you should only choose it if your licence dictates it. Auto or not, on the motorway the Renault Clio starts to feel out of its comfort zone.
Safety also looks pretty strong thanks to a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. However a lack of automatic emergency braking, and the fact the Renault Clio was evaluated back in 2012 means that newer rivals such as the SEAT Ibiza are even safer.