Previously the Renault Clio was only available with one diesel engine – a 90hp unit that we said was ok on the motorway but a bit sluggish elsewhere.
Well, good news, diesel fans – now you can get one with 110hp and pay a negligible penalty in terms of running costs. That should help the French hatchback take the fight to the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and VW Polo.
The only downside is that this 1.5-litre unit is available only on the top trim level and as such represents the most amount of money – £17,755 – that you can currently spend on a standard Renault Clio.
What do I get for my cash?
That bottom line gets you a 1.5-litre dCi 110 engine (previously seen in all sorts of Renault-Nissan Alliance cars including larger SUVs like the Kadjar and Qashqai) and top-tier Dynamique S Nav trim.
Even entry-level Clios get quite a lot of kit, with things like hill start assist and cruise control, while Dynamique S Nav adds:
- Full LED front and rear lights with integrated daytime running lights
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Climate control
- Centre armrest
- Electrically folding door mirrors
- Rear electric windows
- Rear parking sensors
You also get the R-LINK Evolution infotainment system that comes with TomTom navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and voice recognition.
Newly upgraded Clio features cosmetic changes
This engine’s arrival in the Clio line-up is part of a wider upgrade that includes cosmetic upgrades inside and out.
The door mirrors now fold in automatically when the doors are locked from the outside, there’s a more attractive set of daytime running lights at the front and back, and inside there has been an improvement in material quality.
This is particularly noticeable in the door cards and satin-effect chrome trim. It’s not a widespread improvement though and there are still some cheaper looking plastics lower down the dashboard.
You can also now spec hands-free parking and a great-sounding Bose stereo that comes with seven speakers including a subwoofer in the boot.
What’s the new engine like?
Punchy and much more relaxing to drive than the lower-powered option. Granted, that one offers 85g/km of CO2 and 86mpg, dropping to 82g/km and 88mpg if you pay £250 extra for the special Eco version, but this new dCi110 is also pretty impressive.
Select it and you can expect 90g/km of CO2 and 80.7mpg, plus an easy-to-live-with wedge of torque (260Nm) available from 1,750rpm. Peak power comes in at 4,000rpm; at which point it’s best to change up a gear as it’s got nothing left to give.
The six-speed manual gearbox is slick and light in operation, while the Clio’s trademark handling is unaffected by the more powerful lump up front. It’s not quite as good to drive as a Ford Fiesta, but perfectly acceptable.
The updated Clio goes on sale in September and whether you want this new engine or not, we reckon the cosmetic changes are worth the wait.
You can have the lower-powered diesel engine for £700 less in this trim, and it’s available in all but bottom-spec cars, so makes a bit more sense financially.
However, for a small running-cost penalty you can have the 110 dCi, which is much more tractable and easier-going motor. It’s worth it in that sense, particularly if you were looking at Dynamique S Nav trim anyway.