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First drive: 2017MY Renault Clio. Image by Renault.

First drive: 2017MY Renault Clio
Modest updates for the stylish Renault Clio hatchback.

   



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Renault Clio 2017MY

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Modest updates inside and out for the '2017MY' Renault Clio are best experienced further up the range, while the new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine gives urban dwellers useful performance, but we can't help but wonder why Renault didn't go further to maintain the Clio's competitiveness in the tightly fought supermini sector.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Renault Clio TCe 120 Dynamique S Nav
Price: starts at 11,555, 16,655 as tested
Engine: 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat hatchback
CO2 emissions: 118g/km (Band C, 30 per year)
Combined economy: 53.3mpg
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 9.0 seconds
Power: 120hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 205Nm at 2,000pm

What's this?

Believe it or not, it's Renault's facelifted Clio. Yes, you will have to look quite closely to spot the changes, most of which focus on the front and rear bumpers. A sportier and more aggressively styled front bumper is the most noticeable feature while new C-shaped LED daytime running lights bring the look more in line with the new Megane and Talisman (not sold in right-hand drive markets). Choose the range-topping Dynamique S Nav model and the Clio gets full LED front and rear lights. Buyers can also choose between black, chrome or grey 16-inch alloy wheels.

The interior remains largely unchanged aside from some new coloured accents on the air vents and the seats. Apart from the Expression and Play models, there is a tablet-style seven-inch colour touchscreen that can be used to control the DAB radio and Bluetooth phone connection, as well as to view TMC traffic information. Renault claims to have improved the quality of the materials throughout the cabin and while some surfaces do look better, there are still a lot of scratchy hard plastic on the dashboard and doors. It's bang on class average on that score.

How does it drive?

This new 1.2-litre TCe 120 petrol engine is now the most powerful that you can get in a Clio before upgrading to the Renault Sport Clio hot hatch. As the name would suggest, this turbocharged four-cylinder engine maxes out at 120hp. That's produced at 5,500rpm and there's 205Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. The power delivery is quite smooth, although the engine doesn't encourage you to chase the redline before every gear change.

According to Renault's official figures, the TCe 120 is capable of returning 53.3mpg on the combined cycle, which for a petrol engine isn't all that bad, but still falls somewhat short of the official 80.7mpg capability offered by the similarly powered dCi 110 diesel.

On a blend of town and country roads, the Clio handles big bumps quite well and keeps you on course, but the damping results in what can only be described as a busy ride at average speeds. Through corners there is a bit too much body roll thus discouraging you from trying to push on too hard. A shame, as there is the impression that the Clio could be a fun little car to drive.

Renault employs an electrically assisted power steering system in the Clio that it has sharpened up to enhance low-speed manoeuvrability, but gives drivers greater levels of feedback at higher speeds. The results are good with steering that feels positive. Less positive is the wind noise as you approach motorway speeds...

Verdict

With some modest styling revisions, the Renault Clio retains its fashionable look. However, inside it does lack some the finish that some of its European and Korean rivals now possess. Likewise, it's merely average to drive. It remains a good small hatchback.

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Exterior Design

3 3 3 3 3 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3 3 3 3 3 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain


Dave Humphreys - 14 Jul 2016



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2016 Renault Clio. Image by Renault.2016 Renault Clio. Image by Renault.2016 Renault Clio. Image by Renault.2016 Renault Clio. Image by Renault.2016 Renault Clio. Image by Renault.








 

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