Review: The new Renault Clio

The hatchback market has been a hard one to crack for those looking to knock the highly competent Ford Fiesta off of its perch; many have tried and failed, or got close but not quite close enough. In recent years, the Renault Clio has been one of the latter, but the brand new version looks to have the qualities required to stand a chance of going head-to-head with its American rival and putting up an effective fight.

It’s obvious just from its visuals that Renault’s fifth generation small hatch is hoping to stand out from the rest, thanks to a completely new styling angle that has the Clio looking little like any of its predecessors. Carrying on from the Twingo’s visual revolution, the new Clio bares the same enlarged facial details that include an oversized Renault emblem and LED daytime running lights in the grill.

From its launch, the new Clio comes only in a five-door guise, along with four choices of trim levels that range from Expression through to Dynamic S and these are joined by three engines. The base car gets a 1.2-litre petrol offering 75bhp, whilst the 1.5 diesel has 13bhp more and an impressive 88.3mpg coupled with lower emissions than a Toyota Prius. A brand new addition comes in the form of Renault’s 0.9-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, the TCe, which has kicked up quite a fuss.

Exciting styling (inside and out) mixed with the five-door layout, the new Clio has found a great balance between supple design and effective function. The last generation Clio was never really deemed too small, but the space this new incarnation harbours is very satisfying indeed and the chic styling only makes the car more desirable.

Driving wise, the new Clio has improved massively; apart from the acclaimed Renault Sport models, the Clio was rarely praised for its handling dynamics, but thanks mostly to the new car’s reduced weight of over 100kg over the last Clio, there is a new sense of feeling and enjoyment through the steering wheel. The words agile and precise are words that have very much been thrown about when describing this certain element of the vehicle.

Similar praise can be said for the three-cylinder petrol unit, with many enjoying its free-spinning nature and punchy tone through the revs.

The Expression+ model starts off the pricing for the new Clio at £10,855, with the dCi GT Line estate tops the range at £16,420 and all are on sale now.