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Review: The updated Renault Clio is a stylish and spacious supermini

We test drive the updated Renault Clio and see how it compares to its rivals.

Image: Dave Humphreys

THE FOURTH-GENERATION Renault Clio has had an update. It’s in a competitive segment – and the changes have given the effervescent supermini a smarter look and feel.

Starting on the outside, Renault has tweaked the styling. There is a redesigned front and rear bumper and the headlights now incorporate the signature C-shaped LED daytime running lights and the rear lights also mimic this C-shape design.

I thought my top-spec Dynamique S Nav test car looked pretty good in this Iron Blue metallic colour with those funky 17-inch black alloys. The chrome side window surrounds, body coloured door mirrors and full LED front and rear headlamps also add to the overall smarter look of the car – however, these aren’t standard features and entry-level models get 15-inch wheels.

Overall, the revised bumper and headlights, as well as the repositioned fog lights and larger air intakes, give the Clio a wider more purposeful look than before.

Source: Dave Humphreys

The Clio is a bit longer and wider than most other superminis, this gives it a bit more road presence and interior space compared to its main rivals like the five-door Ford Fiesta (from €17,250), Hyundai i20 (from €15,995), Opel Corsa (from €15,750) and Toyota Yaris (from €16,950). It also has a larger boot capacity (300 to 1,146 litres) than those rivals too.

Space for rear passengers is decent for two adults but the bench-style rear seat will take three smaller occupants.

Source: Dave Humphreys

Storage is also decent for a small car. There are no rear door bins but there are pockets in the back of the front seats. The front door bins will hold a small bottle of water, there are two cup holders, a space for mobile phones/keys/wallets and storage in the centre armrest.

The quality of the materials used has also been improved but there is still a fair bit of scratchy plastic, however, the leather steering wheel does feel nice and is a good size as too is the redesigned gear stick.

The glossy black centre console with the seven-inch touchscreen is a highlight of the cabin. It looks smart and the infotainment system is bright and easy to use.

Source: Dave Humphreys

However, the best thing about the cabin is just how quiet it is. The sound insulation is very good and the 0.9-litre three-cylinder TCe 90 petrol engine of my test car was well dampened, although at motorway speed you could hear its thrum.

This engine is characterful and it is the perfect choice for those that do more city driving. But its lack of grunt is obvious when tackling steep hills and when trying to build up speed for overtaking and the five-speed manual transmission seems to highlight the engine’s narrow powerband.

Source: Dave Humphreys

The other engines in the line up are a 1.2-litre 16V 75hp petrol and a 1.5-litre dCi 90hp diesel, which both come with five-speed manual transmissions and a 1.5-litre dCi 110hp diesel, which is mated to a six-speed transmission. If you do longer journeys and get out of the city a lot the most powerful diesel with the six-speed gearbox might be the model to consider.

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There is a bit of life in the chassis and the car feels fun to drive, especially with the three-pot under the bonnet – but in terms of rivals the Ford Fiesta does handle better and offers a better driving experience.

Source: Dave Humphreys

The suspension on the Clio is supple and does a good job of soaking up the lumps and bumps of rough road surfaces and grip is decent through corners, although this comfort-biased set-up does make for some body lean.

The steering is light enough and the car feels easy to drive, and the decent forward and rear visibility adds to the car’s easy manoeuvrability.

Overall, the Renault Clio is a characterful, cheery car with a stylish exterior and roomy interior that offers a quiet and comfortable ride at a competitive price.

In Ireland, the updated Clio is available in three equipment levels: Expression (€15,990), Dynamique Nav (€17,190) and Dynamique S Nav (€19,590).

READ: We celebrate 25 years of Honda Type R by looking at some of its legendary models >

READ: Review: The Dacia Duster is a no-nonsense SUV with some proper off-road capabilities >

About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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