The start point for the best source of fleet information
Expression, Play, Dynamique Nav and Dynamique S Nav
Five-speed manual, six-speed manual, six-speed EDC auto
Its modern looks and generous equipment levels have always helped the Renault Clio stand out in the overcrowded supermini sector, and thanks to some economical engine options, the figures have always stood up too.
Over 13 million Clios have been sold worldwide during its 25-year history, so to say that it's an important car for the French firm would be somewhat understating things.
Here in the UK it has some stiff competition on its hands, including, of course, the top-selling Ford Fiesta, plus also more style-led models like the Citroen C3 and Mazda 2. To help keep the Clio in contention, Renault introduced a number of updates in 2016.
Design changes are minimal for this latest update, which is a good thing as the Renault is one of the best-looking superminis currently on the market. The car gets new C-shaped LED daytime running lights, a tweaked grille design and some new alloy wheel designs.
Inside sees an upgrade in materials and finishing to the chrome detailing, while new equipment like front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a high-quality Bose sound system and hands-free parking join the options list.
There are two new engine options available: the dCi 110, an already popular diesel choice in other cars in the Renault line-up, and the TCe 120 petrol tested here, which is now available with a manual transmission.
Petrol accounts for around 70% of the Clio's sales and this 1.2-litre is the range-topping model when it comes to performance in the standard car. Although only predicted to account for around 6% of sales, if your typical journey doesn't involve significant stints on the motorway, this nippy petrol could make a great deal of sense.
It's a capable four-cylinder engine with plenty of torque, the 0-62mph sprint is achieved in just nine seconds, and our test car is mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox, our preferred choice over the somewhat clunky EDC auto.
It's not as fun to drive as the Fiesta or Mazda 2 and the suspension is a little on the firm side, but the Clio is confident in the corners, with precise and direct steering, and the turning circle is usefully small at 10m, making easy work of parking and driving around tight city streets.
Lots of standard kit
You can buy the Clio in four trims. Here we're testing the car in top-of-the-range Dynamique S that comes with a host of standard kit to justify its £17,260 P11D value. The highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, Renault's MediaNav system with sat-nav and a seven-inch touchscreen, automatic climate control, cruise control, keyless start, rear parking sensors and daytime running lights.
Slip behind the wheel and you'll be greeted by a stylish and modern cabin that suitably reflects the Clio's eye-catching exterior. There are also new stylish seats in Dynamique S models which are large and supportive, while the interior tweaks mean fit and finish is overall improved. Rivals like the Mazda 2 and new Citroen C3 arguably offer a higher quality, but there's an absence of cheap plastics this time around, which is good.
The various functions are easy to navigate around and the seven-inch touchscreen offers good resolution too. We're still not fans of the fiddly media controls behind the steering wheel, though.
Space inside is good throughout, with two adults having enough room in the rear seats, and the boot is one of the best in the sector too, at 300 litres.
With a combined fuel economy of 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 118g/km, it's not the most efficient of the range when it comes to running costs - the figures are compromised a little in favour of that brisk performance.
Citroen's 1.2 PureTech in the C3, which is only a fraction slower than the Clio here, is a thorn in Renault's side, though, as it offers far superior figures of 103g/km and 61.4mpg combined. Even the Renault's very good residual value of 33.2% isn't enough to bridge the gap with the comparable C3, costing around 4p less per mile. Mazda's stylish 2 hatchback just beats the French supermini too, in outright pace and in the whole-life costs battle.
Although the Clio may not lead the competition when it comes to costs, it's close enough to be considered, and this 1.2-litre petrol is a good compromise for those drivers looking for added performance at only a little extra cost.