SINCE its launch in the early 1990s, the Renault Clio sales total has topped 12 million, making it one of the most popular hatchbacks in motoring history. And the latest version seems set to continue that success.
With a recently revised line-up, Clio is available is three trim levels – Play, Iconic and GT Line – and with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, with prices starting at €15,132 (£13,600).
The entry level Play model is well equipped with black alloy wheels, digital radio, Bluetooth and USB and AUX ports, smartphone application allowing access to sat-nav, cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry and daytime running lights.
The mid-range Iconic adds other features including rear parking sensors, sat-nav and multimedia touchscreen, while the top-of-the-range GT Line gets a sportier look including chrome rear diffuser and exhaust, side skirts, LED headlights, automatic headlights and wipers, automatic climate control.
My featured model is the Clio Play with a three-cylinder 0.9 litre 90 hp turbo-petrol engine and costs €15,683 (£14,095). This perky unit offers a top speed of 177 kph (110 mph), a 0-100 kph time of 12 seconds, and good average fuel economy of 20 kpl (56.5 mpg). Emissions are 113 g/km.
Renault have always been strong on visual styling, producing cars with plenty of character and appeal, and the latest Clio is no exception. Its strong flowing lines, bold front end and large dominant grille badge make an immediate impression. Inside, the cabin has a sporty appearance with a eye-catching curvy dashboard. Rear seat occupants get a little more leg and headroom than most rivals in the class, and the boot is quite substantial at 300 litres, expandable to 1,146 litres by folding the rear seats.
Underway, the Clio is quite responsive and seems quicker than its 12-second 0-100 kph time suggests. Handling is very good, with well-weighted steering and a neat combination of cornering composure and ride comfort thanks in part to slightly softer dampers. It has a neat and nimble feel which provides driver reassurance and enjoyment.
The hatchback sector is a crowded place and while the Clio isn’t the quickest or the most economical in the class, it offers a more stylish image and an element of sporty cachet that most rivals cannot match,
Model tested was UK specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Renault Clio Play
Engine. 0.9 litre turbo-petrol
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Performance: 0-100 kph 12 seconds, top speed 177 kph (110 mph)
Economy: 20 kpl (56.5 mpg)
Emissions: 113 g/km