The Renault Clio – a sporty-looking hatchback with a name that that sounds chic to me. And it appears that way too.
Right from the base model, through to the top spec, the Clio is an attractive runabout with a perfectly formed, compact profile.
Black and chrome side door protectors at the bottom stand out from a mile away and the hidden rear door handles enhance the sleek look.
Coming standard with a 7” touchscreen, digital radio (DAB+), cruise control and speed limiter, rear view camera auto headlights and a leather wrapped steering wheel, the Clio also has a smart key (in the shape of a card) and keyless entry.
Having this hands-free system is always useful though there is an auto lock feature that is over sensitive and locks the car when you step away from it 2m or even walk to the other side.
Additional specs in the Clio Zen variant are sat-nav, front parking sensors, front fog lights, C-shaped LED headlights, gloss black exterior trims and 16” alloy wheels.
While the dual clutch (or EDC) transmission is the main thing that lets this model down.
The delay in gear selection hinders take off and has the car rolling back slightly from stationary making the driver unsure whether they’re in gear or not giving it enough gas.
Climbing up the gears can make the ride jerky and acceleration isn’t helped either by the underpowered 1.2 litre engine despite being turbocharged, though this is still more substantial than the 0.9 litre engine in the manual version.
The insides are simple with some glossy black trims in the mainly dark carbon dashboard and door panels.
It’s highlighted by the protruding touchscreen with sat-nav, door speakers and the instrument panel, though the manual A/C control bring the refinement back down.
French car configurations are always a little different with the cruise control and speed limiter switch is located in the centre console along with the Eco mode button.
Cruise controls are therefore on the steering wheel but not audio controls. These are on a fat stalk behind the wheel (pun intended), which may not suit some but are actually quite intuitive to operate and are more convenient especially while the wheel is in motion.
Being compact there isn’t room for an armrest or storage bin between the two front seats, and other stowage pockets in the cabin are just adequate.
Boot storage is larger than it seems from the outside for a small hatch is generous in all directions.
Rear legroom is of course cramped but sitting in the back doesn’t seem all that enclosed.
While the price is quite reasonable for a small hatch at $19,990, there are other more attractive options in this competitive segment, with more features, refinement and better value for money.
I’m of the mind that it’s better to go with the Asian brand down the lower end of the scale and European for the more luxury categories.
Though for what it is, the Renault Clio is a decent city offering which looks and feels fun.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Renault Clio Zen
- Engine: 1.2L turbo petrol producing 88kW/190Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed sports automatic dual clutch
- Warranty: 5 Years
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: Turkey
- Price: From $19,990