Clio buyer’s guide
FROM £5,000 Latest supermini is stylish, reliable and solid, and looks a fine used buy
Mk4 supermini is the best yet, and it’s yours from £5k used
RENAULT has some great small cars in its back catalogue, including the 4 and the 5. In 1990 the brand came up with another landmark model: the Clio.
Famous for its adverts that featured Nicole and Papa, the first edition of the Clio looked stylish and was great fun to drive. Yet, as with the second and third generations that followed, it wasn’t the last word in build quality or reliability.
So when Renault introduced the Clio Mk4, one of the key requirements was that it was built to a far higher standard. And that’s what we got, without losing the enjoyable driving experience, the value for money or the cheeky design.
THE Clio Mk4 reached UK showrooms in February 2013 in five-door hatch form only, with 0.9 TCE or 1.2 petrol engines or a 1.5 dci diesel. Initially there were Expression, Expression+, Dynamique Medianav and Dynamique S Medianav
trims. But GT Line spec was added in June 2013, alongside the 197bhp Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo.
In October 2013 a dual-clutch auto gearbox (dubbed EDC) was introduced on the diesel, then in January 2015 the optional GT Line Look Pack brought sporty details for Dynamique models.
Revisions in November 2015 saw the Expression+ trim renamed Play, while a DAB radio became standard on all cars with R-link multimedia. A facelift in September 2016 added a higher-quality interior, optional LED headlights, a Bose audio system and improved infotainment.
THE 0.9-litre petrol is significantly perkier than the 1.2-litre engine, and while you’ll pay a small premium for the smaller, more modern unit, it’s worth the extra. The diesel is a great choice, too, because it’s muscular, smooth and economical.
All Clios have Bluetooth, electric front windows and central locking. Expression+
adds air-con and alloy wheels, while the Dynamique Medianav also has a seveninch touchscreen multimedia display and electrically adjustable door mirrors.
Range-topping Dynamique S Medianav versions add climate control, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors and power-folding door mirrors to the kit list.
Few options are available on the Expression, but extras worth seeking out on the Dynamique include a glass roof, heated seats and a rear parking camera.
AS an all-rounder nothing can beat the Ford Fiesta. It is plentiful, great value, brilliant to drive and practical, too. The UK’S best-seller is also well equipped if you avoid entry-level models.
Most of these attributes are shared by the Vauxhall Corsa, although it’s not as much fun to drive, or as polished.
The Volkswagen Polo costs more than the Renault, but it’s a class act even if it’s lacking in flair. It’s offered with some
excellent engines, though. The Skoda Fabia is a cut-price Polo; it shares the VW’S running gear and much of its technology, but at lower prices.
The Mazda 2 looks sharp and is good value. It’s fun to drive and well equipped if you buy at least a mid-range model.
THE fourth-generation Clio is easily the best of the lot in pretty much every way. It might not look as cute as its predecessors and it didn’t scoop a Car of the Year award (unlike the Mk1 and Mk3), but it’s stronger, safer, offers a higher spec and is better built than ever.
With some excellent engines, a big boot and a reasonably spacious cabin, the Clio has lots to offer, even if it isn’t a class leader in any particular area.
Entry-level cars are spartan, but midrange ones have lots of kit. Even better, it should all work; our Driver Power surveys show the Clio can match key rivals when it comes to build quality and reliability.
NEED TO KNOW An optional Eco pack improves economy and emissions for the 0.9 TCE and 1.5 dci engines. This brings taller gearing, a remapped ECU, as well as low-drag tyres. Thanks to SJ Rayner of Kidderminster, Worcs ( www.sjraynercars.co.uk), for the loan of the Renault Clio pictured
Navigation STANDARD sat-nav doesn’t allow full postcode searches. An upgrade is less than a fiver, but it’s a fiddly process.
Tyres TYRE pressure monitoring sensors aren’t always very robust; the only option is to replace them.
Electrics IGNITION coils can fail, leading to poor running. Replacing the coil for around £40, plus fitting, solves the issue.