Renault makes Clio

even cuter

Renault Clio, 2016, front
Renault Clio, 2016, side
Renault Clio, 2016, rear
Renault Clio, 2016, interior
Renault Clio, 2016, LED headlamps
Renault Clio, 2016, rear seats
Renault Clio, 2016, boot
Clio Renault Sport, 2016, front
Clio Renault Sport, 2016, pair, track
Clio Renault Sport, 2016, side
Clio Renault Sport, 2016, rear
Clio Renault Sport, 2016, interior

IT'S 25 years since the Renault Clio first arrived in Britain and it's a car that just keeps getting better and better.

The fourth generation model - launched back in 2012 - gave the French favourite a shot in the arm and now it is revamp time.

Come October a new-look Clio will be on the scene, smartened up inside and out and featuring extra technology plus new power options.

And for fans of hot Clios the very potent Renault Sport versions are also getting some enhancements to push up their fun factor.

Prices for the new line up will start from £11,555 - an increase of some £500 - and a new diesel in top grade Dynamic S Nav trim becomes the flagship of the hatchback range priced from £17,755.

It is powered by a 110ps 1.5-litre diesel mated to a six speed manual gearbox which not only gives the new Clio a good amount of pull but is also rated at more than 80 miles per gallon with emissions down to 90g/km.

And that's not the most economical model - a 90ps version has an official fuel return of 88.3mpg.

On the road, the new diesel impresses, drives well and in everyday conditions more than 60 to the gallon is easily achievable.

The new engine is also the quickest of the diesel Clios and on the petrol front there's another newcomer in the form of a 1.2-litre 120ps manual which is even sharper out of the blocks.

This one can manage 0 to 60 in nine seconds making it the briskest of the new Clios and has a better fuel return than the automatic 1.2 model Renault has had in the range for the past four years.

The new 1.2-litre manual has carbon emissions of 118g/km compared to 120g/km for the auto which equates to an official fuel return of 53.3mpg - we saw an average of 37mpg.

In the new Clio the 1.2 manual can be had from £15,455 or £1,200 more for range topping trim which makes it quite a car.

Sat nav, full LED lighting, automatic climate control and parking sensors all round are standard and throughout the range Renault has improved the Clio's interior with more supportive seats and better quality trim.

The entry level Clio is now fitted with Renault's R&GO connectivity system which hooks up a smartphone's functions to the car giving access to more music and the phone's navigation display.

Personalisation options - key attractions in the modern hatch market - remain plentiful and the new Clio can be had with 30 combinations of trim, colours and decal accoutrements.

There are also some new paint jobs including a deep red and a classy grey finish.

At the performance end of the scale the Clio's reputation switches dramatically from everyday runaround to track ready thunder machine with the Renault Sport derivatives which pump out up to 220bhp from their 1.6-litre turbo engines.

As such the Clio Trophy is the hottest of the bunch - quicker than the likes of Ford's Fiesta ST and Vauxhall's Corsa VXR - and it handles too.

Priced from £19,380 the Clio Renault Sport is available with a choice of Sports chassis for more regular road use, a Cup set up with bigger wheels and a stiffer feel and the finely tuned Trophy model with lowered suspension and the power boosted up from the 200bhp of the other two.

All three come with Renault's distinctive new RS Vision LED lights laid out to mimic a chequered flag and delivering up to 40 per cent more illumination than standard lamps.

The Renault Sport cars are also fitted with Akrapovic exhausts which not only help the performance but in the Trophy that we put through its paces on the track produced a deliciously throaty soundtrack.

The hot Clios are auto only and come fitted with large paddle shifters on the steering column for manual changes but such is the smart technology used in the gearbox that it's right on cue when it comes to gear selection.

Let the Trophy loose and 0 to 60 flashes up in a brisk 6.6 seconds. Top speed is pushing 150mph and officially it's rated at 47.9mpm with CO2 emissions of 135g/km.

Fanciful is an understatement and having fun in this hot Clio saw an average of just 22mpg on the trip computer which can also display a host of other track session data which can be downloaded for analysis on your home computer - telematics akin to that used in professional motor sport.

The latest Renault Sport models are serious cars indeed but demonstrate how far the Clio has come.

It is now the top selling French car ever with more than 13 million sold worldwide and 1.2 million of those have been in Britain.

And our 25 year love affair with this French fancy shows no sign of waning with 12,589 Clios sold in the first six months of this year putting it well into the top ten of the hatchback sales charts.

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