With Korean firms such as Kia and Hyundai undercutting Euro brands like Renault and Ford, it’s time the competition fought back. This Pzaz model does just that: its aggressive pricing draws buyers in, and it delivers everything the Clio has built its reputation on, with an energetic engine, engaging handling and the badge’s universal appeal. If Renault can offer this much for so little, the next-generation Clio should be worth waiting for.
With less than a year to go before the all-new Clio arrives, Renault is tempting buyers towards the current car with a rock-bottom price tag. The Pzaz special edition is a new entry-point to the range, and is priced at £7,995 for the three-door and £8,595 for the five-door we’ve driven here.
Renault is quick to point out that the price includes a £1,000 saving only at participating dealers. Even so, this is superb value for such an accomplished supermini. So what exactly do you get for your money?
In years gone by, the equipment list would have seemed generous: it includes electric front windows, remote central locking and CD stereo with a socket for your MP3 player. The only glaring omission in today’s market is air-conditioning.
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However, although interior quality is on a par with most cars in this class, the expanse of dull black and grey plastics is uninspiring. To lift the mood, there are PlayStation-inspired graphics on the front seats and chunks of gloss white trim around the air vents. The latter is a more cost-effective solution than chrome or brushed aluminium accents, but it doesn’t really work – it looks cheap and out of place.
There’s better news under the bonnet. The only engine on offer is a 75bhp 1.2-litre petrol motor, but don’t be put off by its lowly status.
It’s a great little unit, and this small French hatch does everything you’d expect – it’s not quick, but it is smooth and loves to rev, which makes it ideal for darting around town. Yet in terms of emissions, the Clio lags behind rivals such as the Hyundai i20
, which produces less than 120g/km in petrol form.
Soft suspension means the Pzaz rides well but rolls around in bends, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It gives the Renault a playful character which suits this type of car so well, and there’s a surprising amount of grip and decent agility. Other highlights include the steering, which weights up nicely as you wind on the lock, even if it has an unusually strong self-centring effect.
The Pzaz badge hasn’t only been applied to the Clio: it marks out base versions of the Twingo and Megane, too. Starting at £6,795 and £9,995 respectively, they represent the same proposition as the Clio – a lot of practicality and fun for very little cash indeed.