I'VE taken a dim view of French football legend Thierry Henry ever since his infamous ‘handball' cost the Republic of Ireland qualification for the 2010 World Cup.
But I can't hold past misdemeanours by Renault's brand ambassador against the latest Clio which is jostling for top spot in the supermini league table and has already landed one prestigious award for 2020.
The fifth generation model displays all the French flair we've come to expect with evolution rather than revolution being the watchword.
The Iconic version on show here - second up in a list of four core trim levels - sports stylish design details such as neat LED light clusters, auto-folding door mirrors, Clio chrome finishes running down the sides of the car and natty 16-inch diamond cut ‘Philla' alloy wheels plus smooth lines which make this a thoroughly modern supermini.
Step inside and the car defies the fact that it is actually slightly shorter than the previous model by offering more room for the four adults enjoying its creature comforts - while the 391-litre boot is also bigger by at least a suitcase. If you need more room, the rear seats split and fold to reveal a maximum load area of 1,069 litres.
The comfortable seats are upholstered in black cloth while the leather steering wheel, gear lever and outer vents benefit from splashes of chrome to lift proceedings.
A seven-inch colour touchscreen takes centre stage on the dashboard providing a home for Renault's Easy Link multimedia set-up giving access to the sat nav and the digital radio with the driver able to change stations and volume via a stalk behind the multifunction steering wheel. There is also full smartphone connectivity and a seven-inch TFT information panel in the instrument cluster.
Rotary controls for the dual zone air conditioning, ensuring a pleasant atmosphere is maintained in the cabin, are situated beneath the touchscreen.
There is plenty of space for odds and sods with a centre armrest between driver and front seat passenger covering a small storage box, while cup holders and a glovebox are also available.
The Clio has always been decent to drive and the new kid on the block is no exception with sharp handling characteristics helped by informative steering that gives a good feel for what is happening on the road.
There are also confidence-inspiring levels of grip with a comfortable ride ensured by a suspension that copes well with the many humps and hollows littering our roads these days.
Driver aids include cruise control with speed limiter, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings and a traffic sign recognition system, while parking sensors take the stress out of fitting into tight spaces.
The 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine - one of five power units to choose from - is an enthusiastic individual using its 100bhp and to hit 62mph from a standing start in 11.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 116mph.
It sips fuel frugally with economy officially rated at 54.3mpg with low carbon dioxide emissions of 99g/km. I managed an average in the mid-40s during mixed motoring.