Clio is com­fort­able and ca­pa­ble

Cynon Valley - - MOTORS WALES - PETER HAY­WARD news­desk@waleson­

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.

Re­nault Clio

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