By on 2021-02-12 -
Renault Clio - Used
THE Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa seem to have much of the supermini class tied up between them but then there's the very popular Renault Clio.
This is a car with enduring appeal over many years and with various models, and apart from the Renaultsport hot hatches, which have pretty tough sporting suspension giving and uncomfortable ride, they are all comfortable and capable, with good roadholding, fine handling and decent economy.
The model made until 2019, which was the first to be available only as a five door, has amazingly, been on the market since 2012.
Don't let the fact that it's been replaced put you off because it's a brilliant not so small supermini with plenty of technology and a high level of equipment.
It's the fourth model to bear the name, and is available with two petrol engines and one diesel.
Small cars with diesel engines are rare these days because efficient petrols have become so economical.
The Clio unit is the well-known 1.5 dCi in two levels of power - 88 and 108bhp - and both offer similar performance taking 11.3 and 10.8 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour from a standstill.
It is hugely economical - quite capable of a real 65-70mpg with very careful driving and it's surprisingly smooth, quiet and willing through the gears.
Petrol power starts with a 900cc three cylinder, which produces 74bhp, and there is also a turbocharged version with 88. These both take about 11.8 seconds to reach 60 but while the lower power model is rated at 47mpg, strangely, the 88bhp one can do 61.
There are also two 1.2-litre models with either 73 or 118bhp. Both are rated in the low 50s for economy, but wheras the 73bhp model takes a yawn inducing 14 seconds to get to 60, the 118bhp TCe dispatches the sprint in a swift 8.7.
All the engines are well subdued and apart from the cheapest 1.2, willing and peppy.
The Clio is low and wide, giving a good centre of gravity for stability, and helping towards that excellent comfort.
I have found them great fun and hugely capable, with good feel from the steering, and hip hugging seats that gave plenty of support.
They hold the road superbly even when pressed unmercifully through a switchback series of bends and they feel hugely safe and sure in every situation.
Avoid large wheels and very low profile tyres. They might look great but they make little difference to the roadholding and they spoil the level of comfort - as they do in so many cars.
If you want comfort, choose the smaller wheels and higher profile tyres that are almost always available.
The long bodyshell is probably one of the most spacious in the class, with good rear legroom and a large boot.
The driving position is excellent, with plenty of column and seat adjustment, and all the controls and dials are well in view and ready to hand.
Most will have been personalised by the person who bought them new, but steer clear of wacky colour combinations or over gaudy body paint, which will make them difficult to sell.
Many will also have Renault's R-Link multimedia system which can be used to get online. It has a seven inch touchscreen, which incorporates sat nav with traffic updates.
All have cruise, plenty of airbags, electric heated mirrors, electric front windows, remote audio control, traction control, excellent seat and column adjustment, air conditioning and alloys.
Dynamique Medianav adds climate, sat nav, parking sensors and rear electric windows.
Pay about Â£4,650 for a '16 16-reg 0.9TCe (90bhp) Expression+, or Â£7,900 for an '18 18-reg 1.5dCi diesel Dynamique Nav.
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