Renault Clio interior
The Renault Clio’s interior looks and feels just as posh as in some more expensive German alternatives but its infotainment system isn’t the easiest to use
The Renault Clio interior looks more like it belongs in a posh saloon than in a cheap-and-cheerful hatchback. The sweeping dashboard with its two-tone colour scheme, neatly integrated air vents and metal-effect knobs and dials is a far cry from the awkward, cheap-looking design you got in the old car.
It doesn’t just look like a premium product inside, the new Renault Clio feels impressively posh, too. The dashboard, doors and centre console come with swathes of soft plastic trims that feel just as upmarket as those in the more expensive VW Polo. Even the island-like gear-lever surround comes with a padded frame so you won’t bang your knee on it each time you get in the car.
High-spec cars come with customisable mood lighting, and contrasting trims around the gear lever and air vents, but all Renault Clios get a large portrait infotainment system like the one you’ll find in the larger Renault Megane.
RS Line cars are the sportiest in the Renault Clio range, but besides some slightly more supportive seats and a different steering wheel with RS badging, they look pretty much the same inside.
There are three different infotainment systems on the Clio. It’s best to steer clear of the entry-level system which doesn’t even get a touchscreen and go for at least the mid-level 7-inch system. This is a touchscreen with DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s responsive and easy to follow.
Upgrading to Iconic trim brings a bigger 9-inch display that sits up on the dashboard like a free-standing iPad. The screen itself has a matt finish so it doesn’t suffer from a great deal of glare in bright sunlight, but the white-on-black menu icons are a little tricky to read with just a quick glance.
Unlike in some alternatives, you don’t get a set of physical shortcut buttons to help you switch from one feature to another, but there is a ‘home’ button below the screen to help you out if you get a bit lost in some of the Clio’s more in-depth menus.
You can get the Renault Clio with built-in sat-nav that’s pretty easy to program and delivers relatively clear directions on brightly coloured maps. It’s a little trickier to add a waypoint or alter your route than in the likes of the VW Polo however, and it doesn’t respond as quickly to your inputs if you swipe or pinch to preview your route.
If you’d rather not use Renault’s own system, you can mirror your smartphone’s navigation apps on the Clio’s touchscreen instead. Unfortunately, neither Android Auto nor Apple CarPlay makes full use of the Clio’s portrait infotainment screen thanks to their landscape menus.
They do at least let you play music from streaming apps such as Spotify through the stereo – just don’t go expecting concert-quality sound from the Clio’s fairly mediocre speakers. The upgraded Bose system is much better, thanks – in part – to a subwoofer hidden to one side of the boot that helps deliver punchier bass notes.
The Renault Clio comes with a 7-inch screen in place of conventional analogue dials as standard in front of the steering wheel. This sits between the fuel and temperature gauges and can be customised using buttons on the steering wheel to show either a large digital speed readout or a central rev counter.
Unfortunately, this screen can’t display sat-nav maps, like in the VW Polo, unless you pick a high-spec model with the larger 10-inch display. Even then, it doesn’t look quite as flashy as the Polo’s high-resolution display.
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