- Striking aesthetics
- Fun to drive
- Incredibly safe
- Interior quality not the best
- Unrefined manual gearbox
- Stiff suspension
Stylish, practical supermini
The Renault Clio is one of the most attractive superminis currently on sale in the UK. First introduced in 1990, the Clio is now in its fourth generation. It has long been one of the most popular superminis, and today that is no different, even with such fierce competition in the class. It is good enough to be a major contender to the classy Volkswagen Polo, and the best-selling Ford Fiesta, and is a great option to consider for your next supermini.
An update in 2014 saw a complete redesign, with a new chassis, exterior, interior, and more efficient engines.
Contemporary design and quality infotainment
The interior of the Clio is one of the most contemporary designs currently on display in a supermini. It might not have the classy materials that you’d find in a Polo, but it’s still mightily impressive.
The dashboard of the Clio feels very twenty-first century. There’s a lot of attractive gloss-black plastics used, especially on the centre console. Away from these though, material quality is quite poor. There’s a lot of hard, scratchy plastics on display, and it’s disappointing to see the contemporary design undermined by outdated materials. Controls also look dated and feel cheap. It’s disappointing to see that Renault have cut corners.
Space wise the Clio is on a par with most rivals. With 300 litres of boot capacity, it’s bigger than the Ford Fiesta (276 litres), the Volkswagen Polo (280 litres), but smaller than the Skoda Fabia (330 litres), and way behind the Honda Jazz (399 litres). There is however lots of practical storage solutions in the cabin, and the boot lip is thankfully quite small.
Even entry-level Clios come with an impressive amount of equipment. The cheapest Expression trim still features cruise control, electric heated door mirrors, and USB connectivity. The best value trim in the range is undoubtedly the Dynamique Media Nav, as it incorporates the excellent touchscreen infotainment system. It’s one of the best systems available in the supermini class, so it’s well worth considering.
Overall, the interior of the Clio is pretty impressive, though not class-leading. The cabin design is undoubtedly attractive, but it’s let down by poor quality materials. There’s plenty of space in the boot however, and the excellent infotainment system is good enough reason alone to seriously consider the Clio.
Fun to drive, and reasonably refined
There are few cars in the supermini class that can match the Renault Clio for driving experience. Only the Ford Fiesta is arguably better, as the Clio is an incredibly rewarding car to drive. Steering is sharp, and offers plenty of feedback, so you can confidently throw it into a country road bend, and it’ll perform admirably. RenaultSport cars are even better to drive, though they do compromise comfort somewhat.
Ride refinement is impressive in the Clio, but it’s not up there with the class-leaders. The Clio copes with most rough surfaces pretty well, but especially loose surfaces can cause problems, with bumps jolting through into the cabin. It’s certainly not the least refined car in its class, but it doesn’t come close to the serenity of the Volkswagen Polo. Road noise is thankfully kept down to a minimum, which makes the Clio a decent motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the Clio come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a five-speed manual transmission, that’s decent, but it’s not as refined as the one you’ll find in the Ford Fiesta. There’s also an EDC semi-automatic option that features throughout the range, that performs well if you don’t change the gear manually, but feels clunky when you do.
Good variety of petrol and diesel engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Clio, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There’s a large variety of options in the range, with options for the eco-conscious and petrolheads.
If it’s speed and power that you want from your Clio, the stand-out option in the range is the petrol-powered 1.6 litre T 16V RenaultSport Trophy 220. This model produces a whopping 220bhp, and will rocket you from 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds. That’s feels mightily fast when you’re out and the open road, and will have the beating of most cars that you’re likely to come across.
Eco-friendly buyers will be pleased to know that the Clio range offers a great engine option for them. The diesel-powered 1.5 litre dCi 90 ECO produces just 84g/km of CO2 emissions. There are few cars currently on sale with such low emissions, so not only will you be helping save the planet, you’ll also get free road tax. This model is also the best option for money savers. With an incredible 88.3 mpg on offer, you can save yourself even more money at the service station each month.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Clio, you’re going to get a smooth, refined, efficient, and green engine, with enough bite to easily cope with day-to-day driving.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, impressive safety equipment
Like nearly every car in its class, the Renault Clio easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 88% in adult safety, 89% in child safety, and 99% in safety assist, the Clio is safer than the Mazda2, the Hyundai i20, the Vauxhall Corsa, the Skoda Fabia, and the Peugeot 208. Only the Honda Jazz is safer than the Clio in the supermini class. These scores are enhanced with the addition of six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, and emergency brake assist, even on the most basic models.
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Renault Clio represents good value for money for drivers. This obviously varies from model to model, but generally speaking CO2 levels are lower than average throughout the range, so road tax costs shouldn’t be too expensive. Fuel efficiency levels are also impressive, so day-to-day fuel costs should be low. True money savers should avoid the hot-hatch RenaultSport model as it’s the thirstiest and the least green option.
Insurance costs in the Clio again depend on which engine and trim choice you go for. It’s a reasonably cheap car to insure generally though, and you won’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent rival. The cheapest model to insure in the Clio range is the 1.2 16V Expression, which is way down in group 4, whilst the most expensive is the top of the range 1.6T RenaultSport Nav hot-hatch, which is in group 29.
Depreciation is a factor with the Clio, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Renault Clio is one of the most complete superminis currently on the market. It’s not quite as refined as a Polo, nor is at as fun to drive as a Fiesta, but it’s still a mightily good package. It also happens to be one of the best looking, so if you want to own a supermini that looks, feels, and drives great, you should seriously consider going for a Renault Clio.
Buying a used Renault Clio online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Renault Clio for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Clio. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Renault Clio online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Renault? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Renault Clio, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Clio, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Renault to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.