Clio is comfortable and capable
APART from the Ford Fiesta, there are few superminis with the same enduring appeal as the Renault Clio, and it’s not hard to see why.
Apart from the hot Renaultsport models, they are all comfortable and capable, with good roadholding and handling and decent economy.
The latest model, which is sensibly only available as a five door – has amazingly, been on the market since 2012.
But don’t let that put you off because it’s a cracking and stylish not so small supermini with plenty of the latest technology and a high level of equipment straight out of the box.
This fourth generation Clio offers three petrol engines – a 1.2 with 75bhp, a threecylinder 900cc turbo with 90bhp and a turbo version of the 1.2 with 120bhp.
The non-turbo 1.2 is pretty slow, but comes with the cheapest insurance and still manages good economy of 51mpg.
If performance is more important to you, then go for the 900 or the 1.2 TCe turbo models, which both offer even better economy.
The 1.2 offers very good acceleration, bringing up 62mph in about nine seconds, which makes it quite a warm hatch.
Many other supermini ranges don’t include diesel engine options because the petrol engines offer such good economy.
But Renault still fits its excellent 90bhp or 110bhp 1.5 dCi engine to the Clio, and it is capable of a real 65-70mpg with very careful driving.
All the engines are well subdued and apart from the cheapest 1.2, willing and peppy.
This Clio is lower and wider than previous models, giving a better centre of gravity for stability, and helping towards that excellent comfort.
Another benefit is on the handling, which always feels safe and sure, and instils confidence when pushing on through the corners.
The longer bodyshell is probably one of the most spacious in the class, with good rear legroom and a large boot.
The driving position is excellent, with plenty of column and seat adjustment, and all the controls and dials are readily to hand.
Most will have been personalised by the person who bought them new, but steer clear of wacky colour combinations or over-gaudy body paint, which will make them difficult to sell as anything like market value.
Many will also have Renault’s R-Link multimedia system, which can be used as an online portal. It has a seven-inch touchscreen, which incoprorates sat nav and traffic updates.
R-Link can be used to check messages, locate the nearest petrol station or find local car parks.
The high performance Renaultsport models have a 1.6 turbo with 200bhp or 220bhp giving stonking performance.
But their very firm ride will not be to all tastes, and neither will the only gearbox option – the company’s EDC dual clutch unit – which is not as smooth as it could be.
All models get cruise control, remote locking, traction control, air con, alloys and audio remote control – one of Renault’s best inventions.
Dynamique Media Nav adds climate control, sat nav, parking sensors and rear electric windows.
Pay about £5,250 for a 13 13-reg 1.2 Expression+, or £8,100 for a ’15 15-reg 1.5 diesel Dynamique Nav.