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Renault Clio: Test Drive Review

Date: 06 November 2012   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Supermini
P11D price: £15,295
Key rival: Ford Fiesta

When Renault last launched a Clio the company was among the top five-selling brands in the UK. With the new Clio, the brand is just about inside the top 20, because the French firm hascut back on all fast-turn, low-profit business.

Sales of the new Clio, which hits UK roads in February 2013, will reflect this fall. Renault execs won't give exact predictions, but 25,000 would be a safe bet. Of these, just 20%, or 5000, will go to fleets, around half the figure for 2010.

However, those 5000 drivers and the companies running the cars will be getting a great supermini.

This time round Renault is offering the Clio in just five-door format with a 'hidden' rear door handle. What's also changed is the level of standard spec and the car's grown-up attitude.

It's bigger, too, with more boot space (up 12 litres to 300), better rear leg and head room and more space up front. It is also, on average, 100kg lighter than its predecessor. This, coupled with new engines, sees significant improvements in economy and emissions.

The lowest CO2 model is a 90hp 1.5 dCi, which produces just 83g/km and is capable of 88.3mpg on the official combined cycle thanks also to a longer-ratio gearbox. The same engine can also be had with slightly better performance, but is then 'only' capable of 83.1mpg and 90g/km.

While the diesel still sits in the 13% benefit-in-kind tax band, the new 0.9-litre petrol engine sits in the 10% band with emissions of 99g/km and a fuel figure of 65.7mpg.

Both cars drive very well with great ride comfort even over broken surfaces, yet are fun (with a small 'f') on twisty B-roads. The steering isn't as precise as that of the class-leading Ford Fiesta, but it offers good feedback.

The diesel proved the better of the two models available at the car's launch. Although slightly noisier when revved, the combination of better economy and more shove, mean the car seems quicker on an everyday basis. The diesel also behaves like a larger car on the at higher speed and is better able to cope with motorway inclines.

Overall, the new Clio is a very accomplished supermini and a good rival for the class best. List prices look competitive, particularly given the good level of equipment, but for fleets the whole-life costs will be the deciding factor. If Renault stays out of fast-turn business as it has done for the past year, then the signs are very strong.

Renault Clio 1.5dCi 90 ECO
Dynamique MediaNav 5dr manual
P11D price£15,295
Model price range£10,595-£16,095
Fuel consumption88.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 83g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month£33/£66
Service interval2yrs, 18,000mls
Insurance (1-50)group 14*
Warranty4yrs/100,000mls
Boot space min/max300/1146 litres
Engine size/power1461cc/90hp
Top speed/0-62mph112mph/12.1secs
On sale 1 February 2013
Score8/10
VerdictExactly what Renault
needs. A grown-up car
in the supermini segment.


Verdict


Exactly what Renault needs. A grown-up car in the supermini segment.
8/10

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