Alex Bradley is a skilled writer and digital content specialist focusing on automotive and sports. He has a degree in Multimedia Journalism and previously worked for The Northern Quota as Head Sports Editor.
The Renault Clio is a compact hatchback that's been an ever-present on UK roads since its inception. Appealing to drivers with its affordability and high-quality interior, the Clio is available with either a petrol or hybrid powertrain.
Our Renault Clio review covers:
The Clio is now in its fifth generation and recently received a facelift, but not much has changed regarding its exterior. It still has its recognisable front grille and refined rear end; the only noticeable change is some hook-shaped headlights.
For a small hatchback, the Clio is relatively generous in terms of space. There's plenty of leg and headroom for a pair of adults up front, while space in the rear is decent. Six-footers will have their head touching the roof, but this is expected in a small hatchback. Practicality will fit the bill, but it does slightly fall short of the Volkswagen Polo or Honda Jazz.
Boot space comes in at 391 litres, which is pretty standard for its class, and you can fold down the rear seats in a two-way 60:40 split. If you go for the hybrid version, space decreases to 299 litres, which is smaller than the Peugeot 208 and Skoda Fabia.
The interior of the Clio is one of the best around. You get plenty of high-quality materials as standard, such as soft-touch plastics and fabric finishes that are on par with the Audi A1. Upgrade to the Esprit Alpine trim, and the interior really is smart, and it gives a sense of quality.
As standard, the Clio has a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but upgrade to the Esprit Alpine, and it increases to 9.3 inches. It comes standard with a DAB radio, smartphone mirroring, Bluetooth, and sat-nav and is relatively good to use but doesn't have a set of physical buttons like some of its rivals.
You also get a seven-inch digital driver display as standard, which is upgraded to ten inches on the range-topping trim. It displays sharp and crisp graphics but can't display sat-nav maps like in the Volkswagen Polo.
Three trim levels are available: Evolution, Techno, and Esprit Alpine.
Evolution kicks off with 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, LED headlights, automatic air conditioning, a grey fabric upholstery, a seven-inch digital driver display, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, rear parking sensors, and lane-keeping assist.
Techno has 17-inch alloy wheels, a 60% biobased upholstery, a fabric steering wheel, a rear-view camera, multi-sense interior ambient lighting, and traffic sign recognition.
Esprit Alpine has 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic headlights, a 10-inch digital instrument panel, a 9.3-inch infotainment display, heated front seats, sporty seat upholstery, three selectable driving modes, and radar cruise control.
The Clio's engine range is simple; there's a standard petrol engine and a petrol-electric hybrid. The petrol has a manual gearbox while the hybrid has an automatic, and both come with front-wheel drive.
The entry-level 1.0-litre TCE petrol engine has 90bhp and achieves 0-62mph in 12.2 seconds. It returns a decent fuel economy of around 53mpg and is okay on the road but lacks power when operating at low revs.
The hybrid engine, labelled the E-Tech 145, is our pick of the bunch. A 1.6-litre petrol engine assisted by a 1.2kWh electric motor, it produces a total power output of 145bhp and does 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds while coming with an official fuel economy of 64mpg, which falls slightly short of the Toyota Yaris hybrid.
Renault claims that you can cruise up to 37mph in all-electric mode, but in the real world, it's more likely 20mph.
There's a reason why the Clio is so popular in the UK. On the road, it's versatile in all situations and is easy to drive, although it can be a bit boring.
Around town, the Clio is fine when navigating tight city streets or being stuck in stop-start traffic. We'd suggest going for the hybrid engine if this is something you'll be doing a lot, as its automatic gearbox makes it easy to drive, and you can drive in pure-electric mode up to 37mph.
Get on the motorway, and the Clio is suited to the inside lane rather than the outside. It can't match the high speeds of some of its rivals, like the Volkswagen Polo, and the suspension is firm at high speeds, which makes for a bit of road and wind noise. Once again, we'd suggest going for the hybrid engine here, as it's much quieter.
On a country road, the Clio feels very safe. It doesn't lean much through corners, and there's plenty of road grip, which gives you confidence at higher speeds. You can also personalise how the Clio drives through the infotainment system, which allows you to change how heavy the steering is. However, if you're looking for fun, we'd suggest the Volkswagen Polo or Vauxhall Corsa.
Prices for the new Renault Clio start from £16,830.00 OTR* or to lease from £155.06 per month.
Leasing may be cheaper than an outright purchase, thanks to a low initial deposit and fixed monthly rentals.
*' On the road' price correct at time of publication and includes one year's road fund license, DVLA first registration fee and number plate fee. Prices are subject to change; always check with your nearest retailer.