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
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.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe Renault Clio is a star of the supermini class – well-built, good to drive and packed with tech
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Renault Clio is good fun to drive and rides well, with the TCe 90 petrol engine a competent performer
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Clio’s engines aren’t the strongest, but running costs and emissions are still very competitive
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Renault Clio’s interior is class-leading, especially in higher trims; strong infotainment also impresses
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt’s not quite the most practical car in its class, but the Renault Clio still offers plenty of space
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Clio appears to be pretty reliable, and it’s one of the safest superminis on sale