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Renault Clio Sport Tourer

New supermini estate is latest compact model from French firm.

Few can rival Renault when it comes to small car choice. With the Clio hatch, budget Clio Campus, Modus and Grand Modus supermini-MPVs, plus the Twingo, you might have thought the firm had all bases covered. Well, now it has, because the Clio Sport Tourer adds the finishing touch to the line-up.

As with the Mégane and Laguna estates, the newcomer wears the Sport Tourer badge. It shares further similarities with its bigger brothers, too, as its sharp looks score well in the style stakes. Meanwhile, our Dynamique’s body-coloured bumpers and satin silver roof rails give it an upmarket feel.

The good news continues inside, because build quality is solid and there are plenty of neat touches. Smart controls, decent materials and a modern layout all impress. Curtain airbags, a leather wheel and air-con are standard, but the driver’s seat is mounted too high and a reach-adjustable column – which comes with Renault’s keycard starting system – costs a hefty £275.

Without this, tall drivers’ legs will rub the dash – but at least space in the rear is good. It doesn’t have the sliding bench of its Nissan rival, and the Skoda offers better headroom, but unlike the Czech model, a trio of back headrests are standard.

The Sport Tourer shares the standard Clio’s wheelbase, yet it’s 217mm longer, and the 1,630mm maximum load length is the best here. What’s more, thanks to its forward-tumbling base, the split-folding back seat creates a totally flat boot floor.

Luggage capacity is 50 per cent bigger than the hatch’s, and while the 439-litre capacity with the seats up is 41 litres less than the Skoda’s, this is every inch a real estate. Clever touches include a luggage cover that can be stored under the boot floor, while a low load lip makes lifting items into the Clio easy.

Refinement is also a strong point; the Renault rides well and noise is isolated from the cabin. The steering is artificial, but the chassis remains composed on twisty roads. It has far better body control than its Fabia rival, and the free-revving diesel is impressively quiet, too. While its 84bhp output is smaller than either the Peugeot or Skoda has to offer, it performs very well in-gear – and for an extra £750 you can always step up to the six-speed 104bhp version.

However, that model will cost you £120 a year in road tax, so we’d stick with the £35 per year five-speeder we tested. Affordable, easy to drive and roomy, the Clio Sport Tourer is a worthy addition to Renault’s line-up – but is it good enough to win here?

Details

Price: £13,795
Model tested: Tourer 1.5 dCi
Chart position: 1
WHY: Renault’s new small estate adds more space to Clio’s winning formula.

Economy

Only the Note is cheaper than the Clio, but it’s the Renault’s running costs that make it good value. Despite having the same engine, servicing costs are considerably lower than for the Nissan, and only the Skoda has better residual value predictions. The biggest cost saving offered by the Renault is in tax. Thanks to its low emissions, it’s the only one of the quartet to sit in Band B, so your tax disc will be £35 compared to £120 for the other three.

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