By Mike Torpey on 2020-06-20 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Renault Clio 100 TCe
VALUE for money, premium quality and low running costs are key elements in the battle for supermini sales.
And the combination of these features has seen the Renault Clio become the best selling French car of all time, topping the 15 million mark.
It's hard to comprehend that the model has been around for bang on 30 years - since that original TV advert with Papa and Nicole gave it a real sense of chic - and 18 years since football legend Thierry Henry became the dynamic face of Clio.
Now into its fifth generation, the Clio is riding the crest of a new wave having been crowned Best Supermini at the UK Car of the Year Awards 2020.
Costing from Â£14,695, it's a car that offers some serious bang for the buck - and none more so than the TCe Iconic version we have been putting through its paces.
It features Renault's new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which may not be the most fiery unit available in the Clio line-up but is certainly efficient with its 54.3 miles per gallon fuel return.
You won't match that official figure in everyday urban driving but can still expect consumption of around 44mpg.
That was the figure we recorded during 250 miles of mixed motorway, rural and suburban driving.
It was a largely rewarding experience too, the Clio's Valencia Orange metallic paint job drawing admiring looks pretty much everywhere.
But the powerplant is quiet, the suspension well damped and noise insulation first rate - overall it's an extremely refined package.
That virtue is extended to the Clio's cabin too. Here you experience a real premium feel, all soft touch plastics, satin finish metal trim and enveloping seats along with the sort of technology that really pushes the little Renault upmarket.
And opting for the Iconic spec - next to bottom of the four trim grades - ensures standard kit like sat nav, LED lights, cruise control, parking sensors and the French company's seven-inch Easylink touchscreen plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
There's also a full set of safety and security features, resulting in a best-in-class five-star Euro Ncap safety rating.
Visually, the design team at Renault have done a really slick job with the Clio, its cleverly disguised rear doors making it look like a three-door car - even though it is exclusively made with five.
With a sleek, eye-catching design, the supermini not only looks longer than before but it also provides better interior space.
As for carrying capacity the rear seats split and fold 60-40 and you can stash a fair amount in the 390-litre boot, which is bigger than some larger family hatchbacks.
The new Clio is certainly a supermini supermodel that stands out from its rivals - of which there are many. It's practical, cheap to run, has plenty of equipment and is very refined.
Renault Clio 100 TCe Iconic
Mechanical: 100bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 116mph
0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 54.3
Insurance Group: 8
C02 emissions: 99g/km
Bik rating: 24%
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles
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