THE Renault Clio has been the best-selling French car in the world since 1990 with over 15 million sold.
The latest fifth generation model arrived late last year and it is one of the best superminis on sale right now.
Surprisingly the new Clio is actually slightly smaller than its predecessor but thanks to clever packaging there is more space inside and a larger boot which offers 391 litres of space going up to 1,069 litres when you fold the rear seats flat.
The new Clio looks very modern and boasts more mature handsome lines.From some angles it looks very sporty thanks to a chrome finish above the sill and neat headlights and smart LED tail lights on its rump.
The 12-model range starts from £14,295, while the Iconic TCe 100 version I sampled came in at £16,295 and certainly provided excellent value for money. The most expensive model, the RS Line, powered by a 1.3-litre engine mated to a seven-speed electronic automatic gearbox costs £20,295.
Equipment levels are good throughout the range and Ultra bright LED headlights are fitted to all versions as well as air conditioning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings and a traffic sign recognition system.
Renault'sown Easy Link multimedia set up is included on all but the basic model and this means sat nav and full smartphone connectivity with a seven-inch display screen and the chance to upgrade that to a portrait style 9.3-inch screen for £400 on Iconic trim models.
As you move up the specification ladder you get the bigger screen as standard as well as a TFT information panel.
My 1.0-litre model produced 100bhp and felt surprisingly lively and willing. It reached 60mph in 11.8 seconds and apparently is capable of 116mph.
It might be small but the engine had bags of character and it never felt underpowered, while the five-speed manual gearbox suited it perfectly.
This new Clio drives and handles really well and while it is not quite as sharp as a Fiesta, it is very agile with lots of grip.
The suspension deals with poor surfaces without fuss and the ride is comfortable.
Front seats passengers have stacks of room and although things are tighter in the rear the Clio will take four adults without fuss.
The interior is a big improvement over the old version and is very smart with lots of soft touch surfaces a neat dashboard and well place instruments and controls.
This version is also very economical with a 54.3mpg claimed average under the latest rules while I averaged just over 50mpg during a week of mixed driving.