Renault Clio Review logo

Renault Clio Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2019
      Body type
      Small hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Style aplenty, dull to drive”

Best bits

  • Lots of useful tech in most models
  • Cabin space is among the best in class
  • Option of hybrid power

Not so great

  • Manual transmission has only five gears
  • Bigger wheels make ride too firm
  • Cost of opting for higher trims

Read by

Renault Clio Front Side View

Overall verdict

Renault Clio Front Interior

On the inside

Renault Clio Front View

Driving

Renault Clio Left Side View

How much does it cost to run

Renault Clio Car Functions

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Renault Clio has always been a fashionable alternative to small hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and SEAT Ibiza."

Renault Clio Front Side View

The fifth-generation remains true to form, with a much-improved interior, new engines and, from 2020, a hybrid model. Renault has resisted the urge to tamper with the previous generation’s looks too much. 


Instead, it has stuck to the style that so many previous buyers liked. It's the best-selling car of its size in Europe, so why risk upsetting a loyal fanbase by messing with its design too much? It's an entirely new car, though, based on a new platform with no panels carried over from the old model and slightly more compact dimensions. So, the same but different.


While you could be forgiven for struggling to spot the differences on the outside, the interior has taken a noticeable shift upmarket. There are lots of soft-touch materials, particularly on more expensive models, and the amount of technology on offer has taken a large step forward. There's a new 9.3-inch touchscreen media system available, as well as a 10-inch digital instrument cluster.


Although the Clio's exterior dimensions are smaller than before, Renault's engineers have been working hard to make it a more practical choice. It certainly feels roomy enough, with plenty of space for taller drivers while the boot is now a generous 391-litres. The boot access is wider, too, although there is a hefty lip for lifting heavy items over.


Engine choices include a naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre petrol with 75PS, a turbocharged version of the same engine with 100PS, or a 1.3-litre turbo with 130PS. There's also a 1.5-litre dCi diesel producing 85PS.


Unlike the Peugeot 208, there isn't an all-electric option, although a 1.6-litre hybrid is a 2020 arrival. This promises fuel economy improvements of around 40 per cent, while Renault claims it can operate under electric power at low speeds for as much as 80 per cent of the time.


The majority of buyers will opt for the mid-level TCe 100 petrol, which offers plentiful performance and can be paired with a five-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. There's also a sporty R.S. Line model - a replacement for the former GT-Line. This takes a similar approach to the Ford Fiesta ST-Line, combining Renault Sport looks with affordable running costs.


The most popular engine will be the 1.0-litre 100PS TCe engine, which offers adequate performance. This comes as standard with a five-speed manual gearbox and requires working hard out of town. No matter which engine you choose, the Clio isn't as fun to drive as a Fiesta, and the ride is quite firm.


While we don't think the new Clio is as impressive as class leaders like the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta, it's more deserving than ever of its status as a fashionable small car. Its interior is hugely improved and it's fairly practical, while it scores well on the value for money front. We just wish it was a little more refined and its suspension was more forgiving.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Renault Clio (2013-2019) review.

Is the Renault Clio right for you?

The small hatch market is crammed to bursting with talented cars, so the Renault Clio has its work cut out to make a mark. It does this by offering snappy looks and a cabin that offers plenty of space and tech compared to most rivals.


While the looks and style are unlikely to sway many away from a MINI or Audi A1, the French Clio certainly has lots to commend it. This latest Clio is slightly smaller on the outside than its predecessor, so it’s easy to park in town. However, there’s more room inside for people and luggage that makes it one of the most practical cars in its sector.


A choice of petrol, electric and hybrid engines gives buyers plenty of variety, though the 100PS 1.0-litre turbo petrol will be the best option for most drivers. It’s just nippy enough, but those looking for a bit of entertainment in their daily drive will find the Clio is not on a par with the Ford Fiesta or Mazda 2.


 What’s the best Renault Clio model/engine to choose?

City dwellers would do well to check out the Renault Clio with the E-Tech hybrid power option. With electric motor and 1.6-litre petrol engine, Renault says 80 per cent of town driving can be achieved in EV mode with no tailpipe emissions.


Most buyers, though, will tend towards the 1.0-litre TCe 100PS turbo petrol. It’s a well-rounded choice thanks to lively performance in town and just enough performance to deal with motorway work. It would be good to see an extra gear for added refinement and economy when cruising rather than the five-speed ’box that Renault fits. Alternatively, you could opt for the seven-speed automatic gearbox.


With four trims to pick from, we’d head for the mid-level Iconic as you get plenty of luxury kit, the 7-inch infotainment screen and other touches such as 16-inch alloy wheels and rear privacy glass.


What other cars are similar to the Renault Clio?

The Renault Clio comes up against the biggest hitters in the small hatch market in the shapes of the Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta. All three of these cars offer excellent comfort, roomy interiors and a good selection of engines.


Other strong contenders in this class for your attention are the SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, Toyota Yaris and Peugeot 208. The Peugeot offers an electric version and there's the Vauxhall Corsa-e. Honda’s Jazz comes with hybrid power as standard or you could take the Honda e if you want to go fully battery-powered.


Learn more

Renault Clio Front Interior

On the inside

Renault Clio Front View

Driving

Renault Clio Left Side View

How much does it cost to run

Renault Clio Car Functions

Prices, versions and specification