By Maggie Barry on 2019-12-22 - Experienced car journalist.
Renault Clio R.S.
Line TCe 130
THE cool dude has just hit town - that would be the new Renault Clio - the small French star that everyone loves to love.
The Clio is one of those rare cars that the motoring public seem to have taken to their hearts whether because of the Papa and Nicole adverts that marked its beginnings, the ‘Va Va Voom'; of the noughties or just Thierry Henry himself is uncertain but it is a real winner - literally.
It is one of the few cars to have won European Car of the Year twice.
Now we have the latest iteration of this best selling little smoothie, the fifth generation, and delightfully it comes as an automatic with the most powerful engine yet under the bonnet, the 1.3-litre petrol driven TCe GPF.
The R.S. Line is the top of the range and sports Renault's new 9.3ins touchscreen with EasyLink. It's a kind of iPad like feature on the centre console angled towards the driver with sat nav, radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Bose sound system and it is all serviced by Google so that you can imagine how limitless the future is there.
But it looks good too sitting on the centre dash with its carbonfibre finish and splashes of red so that you know this is the sporty Clio in the range.
Underneath are the fast keys someone has sensibly put in so that you are not zooming and pinching the screen for everyday tasks like switching the start/stop on or off and below that again are the air con controls. All very thought out and easy to use.
There are also grab handles on the interior. I know this because when my co-driver got behind the wheel he turned into Lewis Hamilton and decided to take the Monte Carlo chicane at speed - except we were really somewhere in the Cotswolds.
Nevertheless, it does the trick. We realise just how potent is this small 1.3-litre engine is in this setting. Not only is it powerful and willing but the balance of the car is such that even on the tightest bends, the Clio hangs in there.
This is the same engine already seen on the Captur, Megane, Scenic and Kadjar except the Clio is much smaller so the performance is even more exciting. The steering is quick and responsive and while we are hurtling along somewhat, it never feels as though the car is out of control.
This new Clio sits on a new platform and Renault are at pains to point out that while the exterior tweaks to this car are mild, to say the least, the internal changes from the engine to tech are far more revolutionary.
The R.S. perhaps gets more of a makeover than most with a bodykit and badging on the exterior and some nice stitching and leatherwork on the interior.
As an option it comes with Renault's new Traffic and Motorway Assistance level 2 which merges adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist and keeps you in your lane at a safe distance from cars around you at speed of up to 100mph.
This gives you added confidence and security at all times, knowing the car is semi-autonomously watching out for you particularly when Lewis Hamilton gets behind the wheel.
1,330cc, 130bhp, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7spd automatic gearbox
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