Renault Clio (2012-2019) review - Engines, performance and drive
The Clio is easy to drive and reasonable fun, but a rivals are better to drive
The Clio sits on the same platform as the previous-generation car, but its kerb weight has been reduced by 100kg, which has had a positive effect on performance.
However, the main problem with the Clio is its firm ride. The unforgiving set-up means the ride feels brittle, while the chassis never quite settles down on anything other than a smooth motorway or on an A-road. The steering is relatively fast and quite light, too, which means with a decent level of grip on offer the Clio turns in quickly. However, it doesn’t feel as if the chassis can keep up with the steering, loading the suspension quickly and causing some noticeable body roll.
The manual gearbox isn’t particularly pleasant to use, either, as the occasionally notchy shift gate lacks precision. So while it's a quiet and generally comfortable cruiser, the Clio doesn't provide an engaging drive like the Fiesta.
Added to the range along with revisions to the Clio’s trim levels in 2018, the entry-level engine is the Energy TCe 75, a 0.9-litre three-cylinder with 74bhp which comes exclusively with a five-speed manual gearbox.
The next step up in the petrol range is the 0.8-litre Energy TCe 90 three-cylinder turbo petrol engine has 89bhp, but with only 135Nm of torque it's not as responsive as some similarly powerful engines and has some flat spots in its power delivery. When we tested the TCe Clio against a VW Polo with the same power output, the Renault was a sizeable 1.9 seconds slower from 0-60mph.
The Skoda Fabia’s 1.0-litre TSI in 93bhp form is smoother all-round, offers better performance and is connected to a far superior manual gearbox.
The 1.5-litre dCi 90 diesel – available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes – feels much more at home on the motorway than the 0.9-litre TCe petrol, as it’s smooth and pulls strongly.
In this review
- 1Renault Clio (2012-2019) reviewThe Renault Clio is a stylish and relatively cheap to run supermini, but it's not a class leader
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Clio is easy to drive and reasonable fun, but a rivals are better to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsClio has great economy, low emissions and cheap insurance; high depreciation is the only real fly in the ointment
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Clio's exterior design is modern and fresh even after a few years, but the cabin lacks the quality sheen of class leaders
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceSleeker looks mask a wheelbase stretch and a class-leading boot – but the Clio is still cramped in the back.
- 6Reliability and SafetyIts reputation has taken a knock, but the latest Clio is making up ground in our Driver Power satisfaction survey