Did you know that the Renault Clio has been the bestselling car in its class in Europe since 2013? Deservedly so, we would think. It has style and panache, both inside and out. It sets new standards in its class, the automotive media world says, and we can only agree. It drives, looks and spoils you with advanced tech. Last but not least it introduces Level Two autonomous driver assistance systems to its sector.
Its interior is another highlight, featuring the option of larger 9.3-inch EASY LINK infotainment screen and a ten-inch TFT instrument cluster. We drove the lively and frugal Tce 100 HP version. Just read further…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Nice to live in…
The cabin and its infotainment is indeed one of the very strong points of this Clio. Its many features give you the distinct feel and impression you are sitting at the wheel of an upmarket car. The large central screen is a breeze and joy to use, and it spoils you if you want with the new EASY LINK multimedia platform featuring Android AutoTM, Apple CarPlayTM and 4G connectivity.
In our test car we were also spoiled with park assist, regulated air conditioning, keyless entry, reversing camera with 360 ° view, just to name a few.
The used materials on panels and seat upholstery have also definitely a premium look and feel to it. But that is not all. The seats are also comfortable, and there is enough room for four.
All the commands are intuitive, also last but not least thanks to the central touch screen with a myriad of functions effortlessly at your fingertips.
…and to drive
Driving is (again) believing, and also here the Clio truly scores. Setting up a comfortable suspension and marrying it with excellent handling and road manners is not something you have to learn a French car builder. Indeed, here the Clio masterfully excels.
It irons out all the nasty bumps and potholes, still gives you excellent feedback through the steering wheel of the road, and handles smoothly and with precision. The steering has been made more responsive thanks to a reduction in ratio from 15.2 to 14.4, while the electrical assistance has been calibrated to provide more natural feedback.
There’s also a more solid and stable mounting of the front suspension that helps boost steering accuracy. Here is a true compact Gran Turismo which is build to whisk you over hundreds of kilometres or miles in comfort…
Mind you, this Clio is the first Renault to be built on CMF-B platform, and so you are literally driving the future, we can say. Did you know that all versions get features such as Active Emergency Braking System with pedestrian detection, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning?
Driving at night is also a breeze, as LED headlamps standard across the range.
Smooth petrol power…
The Clio comes with a choice of five powertrains, comprising three petrols and one diesel, with, as we told you already in these columns, the E-TECH hybrid to come in 2020. We drove the 3-cylinder 1 litre 100 HP version. It is packed with a raft of cutting-edge features, including a turbocharger with an electrically controlled recirculation valve, an exhaust manifold partially integrated into the cylinder head, twin variable intake valve timing and a bore spray coating for reduced friction.
Delivering 100 hp and a muscular 160 Nm of torque at just 2,750rpm, the new-generation engine makes the Clio quite lively, providing an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 11.8 seconds. Top speed is 187 km/h. It’s clean and frugal too. CO2 emissions are just around 100 g/km, and we clocked throughout the test quite often averages of 5,1 l/100 km. Of course, we know that much depends on your driving style, but it is good to know that these averages can be achieved with the standard 5 speed gearbox, which is slick and smooth, by the way.
There is quite some handy stowage room in the cabin, to a total of 26 litres, and the boot architecture has been optimised to make load area as square and unencumbered by intrusions as possible, while capacity has been increased to 391 litres, making it in top of its class. We also liked the double-height floor.
“The street is always right”, investment managers and bankers say when they comment about financial markets, interest rates and asset prices, and the same we can say about cars. When the international motoring press awards it and the public across Europe makes it a bestseller, then you know that this Clio has what it takes to win over your heart too… We from our part can say that we rarely found a car which was more satisfying and pleasurable to drive and use than this Renault…
Hans Knol ten Bensel