Clio still has what it takes to thrive in su­per­mini bat­tle

Solihull News - - MOTORING NEWS - ENDA MULLEN enda. [email protected] reach­plc. com

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.

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