Renault Clio (2019) Review
Renault Clio (2019) At A Glance
A typically thorough reworking of the Clio theme by Renault has resulted in a car that looks very similar to its predecessor on first acquaintance. Under the skin, however, there’s a lot to mark out the fifth-generation Clio from the one that went before. For starters, there’s now the option of a hybrid model to sit alongside the petrol- and diesel-powered models. The cabin, too, has been comprehensively upgraded and now uses better materials throughout for a more premium feel to keep the Clio on the pace with the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo that are key among its many rivals.
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The Renault Clio has always been a fashionable alternative to small hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and SEAT Ibiza. The fifth-generation remains true to form, with a much-improved interior, new engines and, from 2020, a hybrid model.
Renault has resisted the urge to tamper with the previous generation’s looks too much. Instead, it has stuck to the style that so many previous buyers liked.
It's the best-selling car of its size in Europe, so why risk upsetting a loyal fanbase by messing with its design too much? It's an entirely new car, though, based on a new platform with no panels carried over from the old model and slightly more compact dimensions. So, the same but different.
While you could be forgiven for struggling to spot the differences on the outside, the interior has taken a noticeable shift upmarket. There are lots of soft-touch materials, particularly on more expensive models, and the amount of technology on offer has taken a large step forward. There's a new 9.3-inch touchscreen media system available, as well as a 10-inch digital instrument cluster.
Although the Clio's exterior dimensions are smaller than before, Renault's engineers have been working hard to make it a more practical choice. It certainly feels roomy enough, with plenty of space for taller drivers while the boot is now a generous 391-litres. The boot access is wider, too, although there is a hefty lip for lifting heavy items over.
Engine choices include a naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre petrol with 75PS, a turbocharged version of the same engine with 100PS, or a 1.3-litre turbo with 130PS. There's also a 1.5-litre dCi diesel producing 85PS.
Unlike the Peugeot 208, there isn't an all-electric option, although a 1.6-litre hybrid is a 2020 arrival. This promises fuel economy improvements of around 40 per cent, while Renault claims it can operate under electric power at low speeds for as much as 80 per cent of the time.
The majority of buyers will opt for the mid-level TCe 100 petrol, which offers plentiful performance and can be paired with a five-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. There's also a sporty R.S. Line model - a replacement for the former GT-Line. This takes a similar approach to the Ford Fiesta ST-Line, combining Renault Sport looks with affordable running costs.
The most popular engine will be the 1.0-litre 100PS TCe engine, which offers adequate performance. This comes as standard with a five-speed manual gearbox and requires working hard out of town. No matter which engine you choose, the Clio isn't as fun to drive as a Fiesta, and the ride is quite firm.
Its interior is hugely improved and it's fairly practical, while it scores well on the value for money front. We just wish it was a little more refined and its suspension was more forgiving.