French flair ups

Clio's ante

Renault Clio, front action 2
Renault Clio, front action
Renault Clio, side action
Renault Clio, rear action
Renault Clio, dashboard
Renault Clio, boot
Renault Clio, wheel

SOME models in Renault's excellent Clio diesel range were recently given a power boost that should have been quite noticeable.

But in fact, 110bhp - up by 20 over the standard model - has only made a small difference to performance figures.

Top speed goes up from 112 to 120 miles an hour and the 0 to 62mph time is cut by 0.8 of a second to 11.2.

That's nothing very special in today's supermini world but, once on the move, there is a quicker response to the loud pedal through all six gears.

And it's relaxing to drive because this means less gearchanging and because the 1.5-litre engine is one of the quietest small diesels on the market.

The low and mid-range urge gives it quite a sporty feel, even though the standing start time is only fair.

There's a little thrumming noise but it will pull happily from 1,200 revs in sixthgear.

I managed to get 52mpg on a hard, fast trip across country and that went on to become a real 65mpg with careful driving.

It was great fun and hugely capable, with very good feel from the steering and hip hugging seats that gave plenty of support.

It holds the road superbly, even when pressed unmercifully through a switchback series of bands. It felt hugely safe and sure in every situation.

But the ride - something which is very good in lower order cars from the range - was spoiled in this one.

It felt every ripple on country roads under 50 miles an hour, even though it was rarely really uncomfortable.

I think this was caused by large alloys and very low profile tyres - as happens with so many cars.

So if you want the comfort, choose the smaller wheels and higher profile tyres that are almost always available.

In Dynamique S Nav trim, it comes with sat nav, excellent keyless entry and starting that locks the doors as you walk away with the key in your pocket, and column stereo controls for the DAB unit that are better than anything mounted on the steering wheel.

It also comes with start/stop, traction control, cruise, heated electric mirrors, parking sensors, leather covered steering wheel, alloys and climate.


Price: £18,920

Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 121mph

0-62mph: 11.2 seconds

Combined MPG:80

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions: 90g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles


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