Renault Clio review - Engines, performance and drive

The Renault Clio is good fun to drive and rides well, with the TCe 90 petrol engine a competent performer

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£16,520 to £22,770
Representative Example - Personal Contract Purchase: Cash Price £10,000.00, Deposit £1500.00, borrowing £8,500.00 over 4 years at 7.4% Representative APR (fixed). 47 monthly payments of £132.04 followed by a final payment of £4127.50. Total cost of credit £1833.38. Total amount payable £11,833.38. Based on 8,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charges apply if exceeded. Finance subject to status 18+ only.

The Clio has garnered a reputation for driving thrills over the years that Renault has been keen to uphold; it follows that the current model should offer a good driving experience, hitting the supermini benchmarks for ride quality, handling and performance.

On the road, the Clio feels like a quality product. It seems planted on the move, with positive steering and a pointy front end that turns eagerly into corners. The suspension is well-judged, offering great pliancy over bumps big and small but sacrifices a little comfort in the name of body control. It runs the Ford Fiesta close in this department but ultimately isn’t quite as much fun.

The high-mounted six-speed manual gear lever works well ergonomically but doesn’t have the most engaging gear change action. Changing gear is a more pleasurable experience in a Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo, but there’s nothing especially terrible about the Clio’s manual ‘box.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The entry-level SCe 65 1.0-litre petrol engine has now been discontinued, and we're not sad to see it go. It offered 65bhp and 95Nm of torque, mated to a five-speed gearbox, and was probably best left for low-mileage, urban use; a sluggish 17.1-second time from 0-62mph highlighted its shortcomings and it just wasn't as flexible as its turbocharged counterpart in everyday driving. 

Our pick of the range – the TCe 90 – adds a turbocharger to the above, resulting in 90bhp, 160Nm of torque and a much more acceptable 0-62mph time of 12.2 seconds. It’s not the best small petrol engine in the Clio’s class – the 1.0-litre EcoBoost in the Fiesta feels stronger – but it’s a serviceable choice that blends zippy performance with decent running costs and low emissions. Renault now offers the TCe solely with a six-speed manual, although it was previously available with the option of a CVT auto, too.

The E-Tech Hybrid 145 uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, producing 143bhp. 0-62mph takes 9.9 seconds, with a 112mph maximum.

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 SCe 65 Iconic 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £16,520

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 E-TECH Hybrid 140 Iconic 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £20,970

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6 E-TECH Hybrid 140 Iconic 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £20,970

Most Popular

DS 4 vs Audi A3: 2022 twin test review
DS 4 and Audi A3: Both cars front tracking
Car group tests

DS 4 vs Audi A3: 2022 twin test review

Audi’s A3 may be the benchmark in the premium hatchback class, but DS wants to challenge that status with its new 4
13 Aug 2022
New 2022 MG7 could be a cut-price Audi A5
MG 7 - side
News

New 2022 MG7 could be a cut-price Audi A5

The new MG7 saloon has been teased ahead of its August reveal
8 Aug 2022
New Nissan Ariya 2022 review
Nissan Ariya - front
Road tests

New Nissan Ariya 2022 review

The entry-level version of the award-winning Nissan Ariya has a 250-mile range
15 Aug 2022