Clio delivers

comfort, fun and

85mpg

Renault Clio, front action
Renault Clio, rear static
Renault Clio, side action
Renault Clio, dashboard
Renault Clio, dash display
Renault Clio, boot

IT'S amazing that in many cars fitted with stop/start the system doesn't work when you put the gearbox into neutral and the handbrake on.

But the Highway Code suggests we should always do this when sitting in traffic. Hmmmm.

Also, with the very bright LED brake lights on so many cars now, keeping your foot on the footbrake blinds driver's behind, especially at night.

The diesel Renault Clio I drove a couple of weeks ago suffered from no such problem.

The stop/start was brilliant and never let me down, wheras in a couple of other cars recently, the system has stopped the engine just as I slowed down coming onto a roundabout and started to pull out.

The Clio I drove was the Dynamique S Nav, which sounds expensive at first, when the price tag reads £16,975.

But it comes with an excellent level of kit and drives beautifully. The combined economy figure is a heady 85mpg and that equates into a real road 55-plus mpg with fairly careful driving, which has to be excellent.

And when emissions are down at just 85 grammes per kilometre as well, running costs are just about as low as they can be.

I've liked this latest Clio ever since it came out and was delighted that the company went down the sensible route of not bothering with a three door model.

Trying to get the kids in and out of one is a recipe for serious back trouble but many car makers still put them at the cheapest end of their ranges.

As well as the huge economy, this 1.5 turbo diesel offers decent performance that feels much better than the figures might suggest.

The engine will pull from almost tickover, but grumbles a little until it gets to 1,500 revs, which is 45 miles an hour in the fifthgear of five.

The ride is excellent over poor surfaces both at slow speeds and above 50 miles an hour. It just soaked up everything I threw at it with huge ease and is one of the most comfortable superminis on the market.

The road holding is also remarkably good for a normal family car with no sporting pretentions, safe and sure and allowing plenty of fun.

Inside, the seats are supportive and everything is good looking and well thought out apart from one thing.

The exterior colour repeats in the door cappings and across the top of the dash. At first it seems a lovely touch but the more you drive you realize that it reflects on the inside of the windscreen even on a dark day and could be a big distraction in bright sunshine.

As I said, the equipment is excellent in this model, with keyless entry and starting, column stereo controls, stability and traction control, cruise, Bluetooth, hill start assist and loads of airbags.

FAST FACTS

Price:£16,975

Mechanical: 90bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph:12 seconds

Combined MPG:85

Insurance Group:11

C02 emissions: 85g/km

Bik rating:16%

Warranty:4yrs/100,000 miles

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