Published 22/04/2020

Published 22/04/2020

Testing out the new Renault Clio

It may be surprising, but of all of the cars that I’ve been most looking forward to testing; it’s the new Renault Clio that has topped the list. 

Like many others, my first ever car (and second, and third) was a Clio, and I couldn’t wait to see what the French manufacturer had brought to the table since the days of my trusty ‘S’ reg. Let’s take a look.

Competing with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Peugeot 208, the Clio has been one of the most reliable small cars on the market that is capable of providing a true driving experience.

renault clio front close up

What did we drive?

Model: All-new Renault Clio
Model Line: RS Line TCe 130 Auto EDC
Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic dual-clutch 
Engine: 1.3 Petrol
Colour: Iron Blue Metallic 
Interior: Black leather with red contrast stitching 
Wheels: 17-inch R.S. diamond cut alloys with black inserts
Power: 130bhp
0-60: 9 seconds
Emissions: from 109 g/km Model Driven: 131 g/km
BIK: 27% 
OTR Price: From £14,695.

Learn more about the Renault Clio

renault clio wheel and interior back

The Experience

We drove an RS Line TCe 130, which is a 1.3-litre turbo petrol with, you guessed it, 130bhp. This one had a 7-speed automatic gearbox. Whilst the manual petrol cars will get a 5-speed gearbox, the diesel engines will get a 6-speed.

The car went really well. Its handling was light and sporty; it took to corners superbly, and in the words of our rally co-driving Sales Manager Andy, “It just has a really good chassis!” 

It was comfortable and it in all honesty put a smile on my face. It also had paddle shifters, so if you wanted to go into race mode, you could.

We were super impressed with the automatic gearbox in the car, it was remarkably smooth and I preferred it to that in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class we drove recently. The turbo added that extra bit of 'oomph' needed to make the car enjoyably nippy. My only question would be Renault's choice to forgo a 6-speed gearbox in the petrol cars in favour of a 5-speed. When the likes of Ford and Audi A1 are offering 6-speed gearboxes; it seems a shame that Renault aren’t.

Ask anyone in the office and they’ll say that they were also pleasantly surprised by this Clio. During the same week-long period that we had this car, we also tested the BMW 3 Series and the Volvo XC90, and people were actively choosing this one to take out rather than the others. If that's not praise then I don't know what is.

renault clio interior front


Outside, the R.S Line gets a ‘bee hive’ front grille, 17” Diamond cut alloy wheels, gun mental grey accents, a gun mental grey rear spoiler and of course the ‘R.S’ badging. Inside, it’s all high-quality finishes; a perforated leather steering wheel, aluminium sports pedals and a carbon effect dash. All of this is finished off with red contrast stitching and red seatbelts.

The standard colour available on all models is Glacier White but ours had the optional Iron Blue Metallic paint which looked great. Although striking, the blue clashed a bit against the red stitching on the interior upholstery, but that was an optional extra. So if you feel the same way, you have the option to avoid putting those options together.

Whilst our model was top of the line, even the entry-level Renault Clio is a really good looking cars and get nice gloss black trims, black cloth upholstery and LED headlights and daytime running lights.

renault clio front interior and steering wheel

Technology and Connectivity

Top of the range models like ours get a 9.3'' portrait touchscreen, which looks great and easily matches the usability of that in the Ford Fiesta; a great thing for Renault as in the past their display systems had been a bit lacklustre. There was also a 7'' driver’s screen with digital features and a clear, bright display.

All models get cruise control and a speed limiter as well as pedestrian and cyclist recognition for active emergency braking and traffic sign recognition. Our R.S. Line also had automatic high beam activation, climate control, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Whilst the camera is a great addition, it’s a little bit ‘fish eye’ in its perspective, and realistically I don’t think you’ll rely on it too heavily as visibility is really good.

renault clio boot space

Let’s take a moment to talk about the steering wheel itself because I LOVED it.

It was light, and for lack of a better word, thick. The leather was soft and it also featured some quality-feeling paddle-shifters and easy to use function buttons. It took me a moment of disbelief, thinking that there were no volume controls before I remembered that in standard Renault fashion, they were on a separate lever behind the steering wheel. Panic averted.

Space and Comfort

Boot space is fantastic as the floor is so deep, although this does mean there’s a pretty sizable lip if you’re hoisting heavy suitcases. The seat configuration is a 60:40 split, but unfortunately, they don’t lie completely flat with the boot floor. This isn’t a massive issue though, and the Clio still beats the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo in terms of total boot capacity.

Interestingly, the rear doors on the new Clio open very similarly to the Nissan Juke; no door handles as such, the opening is disguised into the top corner of the door sill. I can confirm that the Nissan similarities stop there.

In terms of comfort, the Clio is pretty comparable to its competitors. The seats in the R.S are on the firmer side, but would still be more than fine on longer journeys. The back seats are really easy to slide in and out of, as there’s no overly obtrusive wheel arch, and the seats offer plenty of support on the legs, with no drastic angles to cause achy legs on long journeys.

There are easy access Isofix points on the two rear outer seats, and just enough head and legroom to accommodate someone around 6ft.

renault clio front profile

Model Lines

The new Clio comes with a good amount of features as standard. Impressively, all models get automatic headlights and mirrors, Active emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assist and traffic sign recognition. Here's a overview of the model line-up and what you get:


  • 16” wheels
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Comfort seats in black cloth
  • Manual air con
  • Cruise control and speed limiter
  • Electrically adjustable, folding and heated door mirrors
  • 4.2” drivers display
  • Electric front windows

Iconic (in addition/replacement to Play)

  • 16” alloy wheels
  • Tinted rear windows
  • Leather steering wheel with chrome trim
  • Rear parking sensors
  • 7” touchscreen
  • Sat Nav
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

S Edition (in addition/replacement to Iconic)

  • 17” alloys
  • 3D Fabric and velvet upholstery
  • Grey interior details
  • Climate control
  • Electric rear windows
  • 7” driver display
  • Front parking sensors and rear view camera

R.S. Line (in addition/replacement S Edition)

  • 17” diamond cut alloys
  • Bee-hive grille
  • ‘RS' Badges and gun metal grey detailing
  • Perforated leather steering wheel with red contrast stitching
  • Leather gear leaver
  • Black/red striped upholstery with red contrast stitching
  • Carbon effect dash

R.S. Line Bose Edition (in addition/replacement to R.S. Line)

  • Shark fin antenna
  • Central armrest with storage
  • Electronic parking brake with auto hold
  • Floating console
  • BOSE speaker system
  • 7” touchscreen
  • 2 USB ports + 1 aux jack
renault clio back profile

The Verdict

The Clio exceeded all expectations here in the Carparison office. We were treated to some super high quality, soft-touch materials; a smooth, highly enjoyable drive, good performance and good economy.

To top it all off? The car is a serious looker too. We would highly recommend the Renault Clio!