Clio still has what it takes to thrive in supermini battle
THE battle of the superminis has always been an intense one and perhaps one of the upshots of that is manufacturers have strived to excel every step of the way.
In a segment where the Clio is up against the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia it needs to be good just to survive, never mind thrive.
In truth, over its lengthy lifespan, the Clio has managed to do both.
Superminis might be less fashionable than SUVs but it’s hard to imagine an automotive world without them.
Here are cars which offer value- for- money motoring in a package that can even get away with being a family car if push comes to shove.
The latest Clio upholds a worthy tradition and has plenty to recommend it.
For starters it looks sleek and snazzy, boasting design lines that ooze hot hatch and even elements of coupe styling.
That in part is achieved through the disguised rear door handles, which give it the look of a three- door.
Renault has even dispensed with a three- door version this time round.
The 17- inch GT alloy wheels also enhanced the sporty looks of this particular GT- Line model, as did a rear diffuser and chrome exhaust.
Step inside and the Clio has a warm cosseting kind of feel but also has a surprisingly spacious cabin.
You feel pretty low down and Renault Clio GT- Line TCe 90 Price: £ 16,225 Mechanical: 90bhp, 898cc, 3- cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5- speed manual gearbox Max speed: 110mph 0- 62mph: 12.1 seconds Combined mpg: 56.5 CO2 emissions: 114g/ km BiK rating: 22% Insurance Group: 9 Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles interestingly the current version sits a whole 45mm closer to the ground than its predecessor.
Rear- seat passengers are particularly well catered for and there is a generously- sized 300- litre boot.
The instrumentation and switchgear generally are modern and decent in quality.
The dominating feature is a seven- inch tablet- style touchscreen which helps keep the button and switch count to a minimum.
Trim- wise buyers can choose from Play, Iconic and GT- Line.
Equipment levels are good across the range but this GTLine felt noticeably plush for a supermini.
The interior had quite a dark look and feel – with black cloth upholstery and a black soft touch dashboard – but the combination actually worked rather well.
Standard features include cruise control and speed limiter, hill start assist, full LED front and rear headlamps, automatic locking, automatic headlights and front wipers and a MediaNav multimedia system with sat- nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and handsfree technology.
On the engine front there’s a choice between 75bhp and 90bhp three- cylinder TCe petrols and a 1.5- litre dCi die- sel. This car had the higherpowered 898cc petrol unit.
Like most of the modern crop of small but relatively potent petrol engines it punches well above its weight, even if it does have to be worked hard to get the most out of it.
I found overall that it made for an enjoyable enough driving experience.
And when you throw in the Clio’s agile handling its makes for a combination that delivers just enough of the fun factor too.