Renault Clio review


What is?

This is the fifth-generation Renault Clio, launched in 2019 almost 30 years after the original hit the streets in 1990. Fast-forward to today and it’s based on the CMF-B (Common Module Family-B) platform. shared with Nissan, the use of which would bring improvements in terms of space, safety, weight savings and technology. Which it does, but more on that in a minute.

Externally it’s shorter than the previous Mk4 (although the 12mm reduction in length isn’t as obvious), a bit wider and lower, but with more room, cargo capacity and overall volume inside. Noticeably more room, in fact, especially up front, though the rising window line makes it a little less airy at the rear.

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It’s not really revolutionary. What else?

There are LED headlights across the range and ‘C’ shaped daytime running lights. There are deeper creases, lines on the hood, the rear door handles hidden in the C-pillar, a large Renault badge on the front grille, nice horizontal lines that visually widen the car. Everything is very clean and crisp, without being creepy or innovative.

If Laurens van den Acker (then Senior Vice President of Corporate Design at Renault, now just Head of Design) intended to clean up a Mk4 Clio, then he has overdone it. The Clio has been Europe’s best-selling B-segment supermini since 2013, so an external review wasn’t really in the cards: it’s still a neat, contemporary Clio family.

But overall a big improvement, right?

Oh yeah. The interior has improved by leaps and bounds (see the interior tab) and the new engines move the game forward. There are currently two powertrains to choose from: the turbocharged 1.0-litre TCe 90 producing 89bhp or the E-Tech 1.6-liter hybrid 140 capable of 138 hp. The former comes with a six-speed manual, the latter a six-speed automatic. The entry level SCe 65 has been dropped from the lineup and the diesel option is long gone as well.

When it comes to trim, Renault has kept things simple with the Iconic Edition, SE Edition and RS Line. Prices start from £18,590 for the base car, which has a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic climate control and much more. Not bad really, but God forbid you go for a color other than white. In that case, be prepared to part with at least £600.

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Oh. What are my other options?

You see, the Clio is nice enough, a decent size for a city car, more efficient and a bit smarter than before. All good. But if you’re considering one, chances are you’re also open to a Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 208, Seat Ibiza, Mini Hatch, Mazda 2, Audi A1, a Skoda Fabia, a Toyota Yaris, or a Honda Jazz. Heck, even the cheap Dacia Sandero chips are in a lower spec version of the same platform. And that’s a lot of competition to defend against.

Our choice of the range.

Renault Clio Review
1.0 TCe 100 RS Line 5 doors

What’s the verdict?

Neither revolutionary in style nor the most exciting to drive, but a very mature car.

The Renault Clio is very successful: the interior is excellent, the drive is very comfortable and the fuel economy is excellent. And since the base model gives you most of what you need, it’s also competitively priced. Until you recall, the Dacia Sandero is around £6,000 cheaper. And given the sheer number of superminis on sale, where exactly does the Clio stand out from the rest? Aside from the interior, there’s little else that really stands out. Given the uninspiring handling, and the lack of an RS model to really explore the chassis’ capabilities, it’s hard to see many mainstream buyers deviating from the usual suspects like the Fiesta and Polo.

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Renault Clio frontRenault Clio rearRenault Clio front

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