This supermini, the best-selling car in France, is available with three or five doors. With a choice of trim levels to select from, customers now have the option of a fuel efficient hybrid model too.
The goodFast, economical, dynamic and full of top spec
The badCompeting against tough opposition
Renault Clio E-TECH Hybrid – first drive (2020)
Renault is showcasing its hybrid technology knowhow in the latest five-door Clio model and it certainly ticks all the right boxes.
The car gains the French manufacturer’s E-TECH title and it stands out from regular Clio models thanks to some new badging, blue trim, along with some hybrid-specific driving information and blue accents on the air vents and gear lever surrounding.
Powering the car is a 1.6-litre petrol engine, along with two electric motors plus a 1.2kWh (230V) battery for hybrid efficiency.
The Clio E-TECH is priced from £19,595 and with 100 per cent electric start-up, it can reach 62mph from a standing start in 9.9 seconds, delivers a combined 64.2mpg (WLTP) and emits just 98g/km of CO2.
Gaining the E-TECH hybrid system has in no way compromised the responsive, dynamic performance of the latest fifth generation Clio. It starts up in complete silence and can be driven in electric-only mode for up to 37 miles. Then when let loose on the country lanes, it smoothly accelerates with beautifully balanced handling, ample feedback from the steering wheel and plenty of grip through tight bends.
The car is fitted with an F1-inspired multi-mode clutchless gearbox that delivers swift and smooth acceleration and there is a regenerative B mode to capture energy during braking and deceleration – this is fed back to the battery for later use.
Move inside and you are greeted by a fresh, modern, all-new cockpit layout with a 9.3-inch vertical multi-media screen, a 10-inch TFT digital instrument display and multi-sense driving modes. These include MySense which is selected for best hybrid driving, Eco is used for maximised efficiency and Sport offers more power from the engine and electric motor.
The interior is bright and spacious and all the on-board technology is easy to operate on the fly. And gaining a battery pack has not impacted on boot or passenger space either with clever packaging near the rear axle.
Creature comforts are generous and, depending on trim level, include a Bose sound system with eight speakers and a bass box, satellite navigation, a wireless smartphone charger, a leather steering wheel, the option of a heated steering wheel and heated front seats and lots more besides.
The car features a full range of safety specifications and driver assist systems and the new Clio, fitted with a standard powertrain, was awarded the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating.
Safety kit includes active emergency braking system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, distance warning, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and blind spot warning.
The Clio E-TECH Hybrid is available across all main trim levels – Play, Iconic, S Edition, RS Line, plus an exclusive Launch Edition.
The Renault Clio is the best-selling French car of all time and this new clean hybrid technology simply adds to the appeal.
Renault Clio Dynamique S Nav dCi 110
Renault’s iconic Clio model seems to have been around since the dawn of the combustion engine, yet it still oozes that charismatic charm that has won over so many admirers throughout the decades.
And last year it was given a face-lift last year, so the five-door supermini that has room for four adults now boasts even more all-round appeal.
From every angle the Clio looks dynamic, sporty and athletic thanks to its sweeping lines, 17-inch Desire alloys with black inserts, electrically-folding black gloss door mirrors, body-coloured bumpers, matt black pillars, extra tinted rear windows and tailgate, chrome trim, smart light clusters with double optic headlights and daytime running lights plus rear door handles that are flush to the car’s body to help convey its coupe-like styling.
Move inside the cabin and you are greeted with a modern, clutter-free interior that is big on space and richly equipped with all the latest techno treats and mod cons. The test car featured a Techno Pack costing an additional £600 which added the Renault R-Link Multimedia system including a 7-inch touchscreen, rear parking camera, TomTom live sat nav and lots more besides.
The Clio was powered by a 1.5-litre 110bhp diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It was priced at £18,365 (£19,415 with options) and could reach 62mph from a standing start in 12.0 seconds before maxing out at 112mph. According to official figures, it can achieve an impressive 80.7mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 90g/km.
In busy town centre traffic, the Clio was lively and energetic making it great fun to drive and the compact dimensions meant parking proved an absolute breeze. Then out on the quicker-paced country roads and motorways, the car could easily keep step with fast-moving traffic. The road-holding was confident and assured, and the steering nice and precise so tackling tight bends posed no problems at all. There was a little engine noise filtering through when the car was pushed particularly hard, but otherwise the cabin was nicely hushed.
An ECO driving mode helps to maximise fuel economy, but even on a lengthy run I still only managed to see 65.3mpg at very best, which although impressive, is quite a long way short of the official figure.
Throughout the car, there are lots of handy storage spaces, including a glovebox and door pockets. But, rather disappointingly the cup holders are not that practical as they are so small – in fact it would be a braver person than I who decided to transport a hot take-away coffee with any confidence. Elsewhere though, the boot is generously sized with a 300-litre capacity which can be increased to 1,145 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
In addition, as one would expect from Renault, the car is kitted out with a comprehensive list of safety specifications making it a fabulous all-rounder.
The Clio may be a quarter of a century old now, but it seems to have aged with sublime grace. It has grown into a super car that is packed to bursting with technology, it is safe and reliable, very easy on the eye and the pocket and perhaps most importantly, it’s still great fun to drive.
Renault Clio GT-Line 120 EDC
Anyone who thinks that all Renault Clio models are just stylish city run-arounds is very mistaken because cushioned somewhere between the everyday hatch and the blisteringly-quick Clio Renaultsport is a new GT-Line model and one thing is certain – it’s definitely not for the faint-heated.
There are a number of distinguishing features to the GT-Line such as 17-inch GT alloy wheels, a F1-inspired rear diffuser twin chrome exhaust, extra tinted rear windows and tailgate, the GT logo under the Renault diamond emblem, daytime running lights and a Renaultsport rear spoiler which was an optional extra on the test car costing £205.
The interior is instantly recognisable as a Clio, but boasts some stand-out design cues that are GT-Line specific. These include GT dark carbon cloth sports seats and GT kick plates.
And there’s a whole host of cutting edge equipment and techno treats to be explored. For starters there’s Renault’s R-Link multimedia system featuring a 7-inch integrated colour touchscreen with TomTom Live sat nav, an application store, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and – as any car looking as dazzling as the GT-Line deserves – a Bass Reflex sound system that is guaranteed to wake the neighbours!
The car’s sporting potential is apparent at every turn with anthracite door panel inserts, an anthracite soft-touch dashboard, gloss anthracite air vent surrounds and aluminium foot pedals. And should you somehow forget it’s a GT-Line model there are GT emblems on the seats and steering wheel.
The sports seats are firm, but fairly comfortable and can also be heated to beat off the winter chill.
So the Clio GT-Line certainly looks the part and is kitted out with plenty of sporting razzmatazz, but does the performance live up to the big build up?
The answer is a resounding yes and you get the best of both worlds. The GT-Line can meander around town mixing nicely with city centre traffic and it can hold its own on the motorways. But it’s out on the faster country lanes that it bursts into life.
Acceleration through the automatic transmission is beautifully smooth and there are steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts if you fancy taking a little more control.
And despite its 120bhp, 1.2-litre petrol-driven engine, the GT-Line packs a mighty punch and can reach 62mph from a standing start in 9.9 seconds with a constant supply of power on tap.
And should you fancy a little bit of an adrenaline rush, there is the R.S Drive sport mode which really tightens up the car’s handling and gives you all the Va Va Voom you could wish for.
It’s far edgier and the steering is weightier, but you can expect to feel a few bumps along the way.
Engine and road surface noise is low thanks to the car’s excellent insulation and comfort levels are generally good, although back seat passengers may feel a little closed in with the dark windows.
The boot is also a generous size for a car of this type and can hold 300 litres which can be increased to 1,146 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
Safety features are comprehensive and include anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution, cruise control with speed limiter, stability and traction control, hill start assist and plenty more besides.
All in all, the Clio GT-Line is an exciting model that helps breach the gap between sensible and off the wall.
Priced at £17,395 plus £2,570 optional extras, it’s not cheap, but certainly adds a lot of entertainment for the additional outlay.
Renault Clio GT 1.6 VVT 3dr
Renault seems to have teamed up with the producers of Doctor Who to create the latest Clio range as the Tardis really has nothing on this vehicle when it comes to space.
First impressions can certainly be a little deceptive as from the outside, the Clio looks relatively compact with its rather eye-catching lines and twin exhaust system, but open the door and a whole new world is unveiled.
The three-door hatch model supplied for my test drive boasted a whole host of classy features and there was ample space for four adults to travel comfortably – although the body-hugging sports seats did rather limit knee space for rear seat passengers.
A generously sized luggage compartment is another plus factor.
Visibility was very good and the 1.6-litre engine meant the GT was very responsive in and around town where tight parking spaces became an absolute breeze to deal with thanks to the Clio‘s size.
Out on the open road, the handling was still impressive although at times it lacked a little power at higher speeds, but to be honest after a week behind the wheel that was my only true gripe.
Whilst not cheap, the Clio does come generously fitted with plenty of top notch features as standard and it is equivalent to the stylish Clio Dynamique range. These features include air conditioning, cruise control/speed limiter, automatic lights and wipers, plus keyless entry and ignition to name just a few.
The car was also fitted with the new Carminat TomTom integrated satnav system, which is offered as a £450 option.
It has a 5.8in screen built into the top of the dashboard, which is operated by remote control. In addition to the more regular sat nav operations, this system includes a link to traffic information to direct you around hold-ups and an audio and visual warning when mobile or fixed speed cameras are on the radar – nice one TomTom
Renault is renowned for its impressive safety record and is constantly awarded top marks in the Euro NCAP tests so it will come as no surprise to hear the GT is kitted with all the latest equipment to ensure a safe journey.
It has anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, top-of-the-range seatbelt systems, numerous airbags and plenty more.
All in all, the Clio just keeps getting better and with so many models and engine types to choose from, there has to be one to suit all tastes.