Which Renault Clio should you buy?

  • We look at Renault’s stylish supermini
  • Efficient petrol and diesel engines available
  • Which engine and trim level should you pick?

The Renault Clio has always been one of the more stylish superminis on sale, and the latest version is one of the best yet.

Renault has just revealed an updated version that’s available to order from October 2016, but the current version is still a popular choice for buyers looking for a fashionable alternative to the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Peugeot 208.

The Clio is boldly designed, but space doesn’t come at the expense of practicality. It's actually one of the more pragmatic superminis on sale, available in five-door bodystyle only, while the interior is modern with a central touchscreen.

At first glance, the combination of engine, gearbox and trim levels look confusing, so this guide should help you make sense of it all. At the end we pick our favourite Clio, explaining exactly how we came to that conclusion. 

Renault Clio specification

There are nine trim levels to choose from, starting with entry-level Expression and then moving up to Play, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, GT-Line Nav and Iconic 25 Nav, as well as three Renaultsport versions – Renaultsport Nav, LUX and Trophy.

Picking the trim level

Starting at £11,145, the Clio Expression comes with:

  • Electric front windows and door mirrors
  • Cruise control with speed limiter
  • Radio with Bluetooth phone connectivity and USB
  • Tyre-pressure monitoring system
  • LED daytime-running lights
  • Push-button start

Stepping up to Clio Play trim adds the following over Expression:

  • Air-con
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Rear spoiler

Clio Dynamique Nav models have a more generous equipment list, including:

  • Leather steering wheel
  • Seven-inch MediaNav touchscreen including sat-nav and DAB radio
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Emergency brake assist
  • Handsfree keycard with keyless entry
If you want more luxuries, the Dynamique S Nav includes:
  • Climate control
  • Rear parking sensors
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Electric front and rear windows
  • Front armrest
  • 60:40 split-folding rear seats
  • Chrome window surrounds
  • Electric folding door mirrors

If you want something more unique, the Clio Iconic 25 Nav features:

  • Part-leather upholstery with heated front seats
  • Decals on the door mirrors and roof
  • Darker tinted rear windows

For sportier looks, the Clio GT-Line Nav comes with:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Manual air-conditioning
  • Rear parking camera
  • Sports chassis
  • Sportier-looking bumpers and grey exterior trim on the door mirrors and sills

Engines

There’s a comprehensive choice of engines to match the wide model range, although some engines are restricted to certain trim levels.

The 1.2-litre petrol is available in Expression, Play and Dynamique Nav models. It produces 75hp, is capable of returning 51.4mpg and emits 127g/km of CO2, meaning it’ll cost you £110 in road tax after the first year.

The 0.9-litre TCe 90 is smaller in capacity, but it’s actually more powerful and more efficient than the 1.2 thanks to the use of turbocharging. It’s got 90hp, while fuel-saving stop-start technology helps it achieve a claimed 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of just 104g/km, so tax will cost you £20 a year. You can spec this engine in Play, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Iconic 25 Nav trim levels, and there’s also a TCe ECO version, which sees CO2 emissions drop to 97g/km and fuel economy climb to 64.2mpg.

GT-Line is available with one engine and gearbox combination – a 1.2-litre turbo petrol with 120hp and Renault’s EDC dual-clutch gearbox. This engine should return 52.3mpg and emits 120g/km of CO2.

If you prefer diesel power, there’s just one to choose from, a 1.5-litre dCi 90 - again with 90hp - that are all exempt from road tax.

In standard form, it’ll return up to 85.6mpg and 85g/km of CO2, but there’s also an ECO version of the same engine. Claimed fuel economy for this version stands at 88.3mpg and CO2 emissions are just 82g/km.

If you want an automatic gearbox with this engine, economy falls slightly to 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 90g/km.

Renault Clio Renaultsport

If you want something faster than the normal Clio, and you’re not convinced by the Ford Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTi, there’s a Clio Renaultsport available in three versions: Nav, Nav LUX and Nav Trophy.

The Clio Renaultsport Nav comes with all of the GT-Line’s equipment, plus:

  • Unique Renaultsport styling
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Paddle-shift control for automatic gearbox
  • Aluminium foot pedals
  • Renaultsport seats

As the name suggests, Renaultsport Nav LUX adds some creature comforts:

  • Automatic headlights and wipers
  • Climate control
  • Rear parking camera
  • Electric folding door mirrors

Clio Renaultsport Nav Trophy sits at the top of the hot hatch range, coming with:

  • Aluminium door sills
  • 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels
  • Sports tyres
  • Red brake calipers

The Renaultsport Nav and Nav LUX versions are powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, producing 200hp, while the Trophy boosts this to 220hp.

All Renaultsport models use an automatic gearbox, returning a combined 47.9mpg. CO2 emissions range from 133-135g/km, so all of the hotter versions cost £130 a year in road tax.

Verdict - which Clio should I buy? 

The supermini class is a very competitive one, and the Renault Clio stands out with stylish looks and a spacious cabin. A simple, well-equipped interior adds to its list of talents, but its low running costs mean it’ll appeal to many.

The Clio Dynamique Nav 0.9 TCe 90 is the most popular model with UK buyers, and it's the one we'd recommend. It's a refined and economical petrol engine, so it's well-suited to driving around town like most cars of this size are used for.

If you cover higher mileage, the impressive economy figures and extra torque of the 1.5 dCi 90 in the same trim level mean it’ll cost even less to run and is more relaxing over long distances, although it does cost £1,300 more to buy.

Dynamique Nav trim comes with all the equipment we think you’d need from a supermini. Alloy wheels make it look even better, while features such as automatic lights and wipers and the slick MediaNav touchscreen system make it easy to live with.

Popular option choices among UK buyers are 16-inch black alloy wheels (£200), the GT-Line styling pack (£400) and an emergency spare wheel (£95) that replaces a tyre inflation kit. 

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