Renault Clio (2012-2019) review - Interior, design and technology

The Clio's exterior design is modern and fresh even after a few years, but the cabin lacks the quality sheen of class leaders

The latest Renault Clio is a much more attractive and unique-looking supermini when compared with its conservative predecessor. Taking cues from the 2010 Renault DeZir concept car, it has a sleek profile with disguised rear door handles hidden in the C-pillars. 

The bold face was updated slightly in 2016 with the Clio's mid-life facelift. It received a revised headlamp design with the old LED daytime running lights that were tacked on to the grille incorporated into the main lamp, which is neater. Tweaked bumpers front and rear, new colours and fresh alloy wheel designs complete the exterior look. It would only really be noticeable if you parked the old and new car back-to-back, however.

Renault has jumped on the personalisation bandwagon, too, with options such as bodywork decals for the roof and matching colour schemes for the paint, wheels and interior all available. 

The brand carries the Clio's stylish looks over to the interior, where the car receives a seven-inch tablet-style screen integrated into the dash, which, on higher-spec cars, is finished in an attractive gloss black trim. As of 2016, entry-level cars gain a smartphone mount on the dash.

Despite a comprehensive standard equipment list, many of the interior plastics on the dash and doors feel scratchy and cheap – the manual air-conditioning dials and air vents are particularly flimsy. Renault claims it made big improvements to this in 2016, but to our eyes (and touch) it was only marginally better.

Following a simplification of the range in 2018, there are now just three trim levels to choose from: Play, Iconic and GT Line.

Play is the entry point and comes as standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, keyless entry, front fog lights, cruise control with a speed limiter, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, plus an infotainment system with Renault’s R&Go smartphone connectivity app and DAB radio.

The step up to Iconic trim adds 17-inch alloys, a fully-fledged 7.0-inch infotainment system with sat nav and an uprated sound system, rear parking sensors, plus rear privacy glass. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity is also added. GT Line sits at the top of the range and adds LED headlights, climate control, automatic headlights and wipers and electrically folding mirrors.

While each Clio trim comes well equipped as standard, there are some options packs that can be added to Iconic and GT Line models only. The £300 convenience pack can be specified on Iconic models and above and adds automatic climate control, electric rear windows and automatic headlights and wipers.

The Techno Pack Bose Premium package, which adds a premium Bose stereo along with a hands-free parking and side protection system, is available on top-spec GT Line models only priced at £1,200. GT Line cars can also be specified with a £100 visibility pack that brings LED interior lighting and an ‘electrochrome’ rear-view mirror.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The basic Clio radio unit features a built-in display with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can stream your own music and talk hands-free on the phone. For the facelift, a smartphone mount on top of the dashboard has been drafted in from the Twingo, which connects to the speakers to allow audio and navigation instructions to be pumped through them. This also makes sat-nav available on all models – kind of. On the Clio Play, the nav comes in the form of Renault’s free R&GO smartphone app.

Renault's seven-inch touchscreen MediaNav system is standard on Iconic and GT Line models, although you can upgrade this with the firm’s R-Link unit for about £600 as part of the Techno Pack. This system adds TomTom Live services with a 12-month subscription, an Eco Driving Menu that gives tips on how to maximise your car’s efficiency, and Renault’s App Store, where you can download a range of services.

Yet for all its high spec, the navigation and menu interfaces are not as slick as the best rival systems. Whichever you pick, it can also be upgraded with a sub-woofer, although this has an unfortunate tendency to make the door trim rattle.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TCe 90 RS Line 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 E-TECH Hybrid 140 Play 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £19,170

Fastest

  • Name
    1.0 TCe 90 RS Line 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £0

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