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Launched in 1990, the Renault Clio is a fun little French supermini with competition from the Ford FiestaVolkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa.

It has, over the years, also been used as a base for other cars such as the Renault Zoe electric vehicle and a brace of performance-focused cars built by the firm’s motorsport division: Renaultsport.

Renault Clio replaced in 2019

The first generation of Clio was launched at the Paris Motor Show back in 1990 and was in production for eight years. It was a curvy design which was facelifted twice – once in March 1994, and again in May 1996. That means there are actually three versions of the first Clio, and enthusiasts call them Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3.

Mk1 Renault Clio joins Mk4

The Mk2 Clio came out in 1998 and was followed by the Mk3 in 2005. The current car is the Mk4 and was launched in 2012, while news has started to filter through of a Mk5 Clio waiting in the wings for 2019.

The 2018 Renault Clio range includes Play, Iconic and GT Line trims, with manual and automatic gearboxes on offer and petrol and diesel power. There’s no plug-in hybrid or electric version – though effectively that’s what the Zoe mentioned above is.

Are Renault Clios good first cars?

They are indeed, thanks to low running costs and insurance. But they also come with enough technology that you should remain in touch with your digital life too.

Renault Clio GT Line

Make sure you check our owners’ reviews to ensure you know about any reliability issues our readers have reported.

The 2018 Renault Clio range

It may be about to be replaced, but there's still a decent range on offer. Pick between Play, Iconic and GT Line trims (full specs here) and engines powered by petrol or diesel. A twin-clutch automatic gearbox is available on some versions. 

How to reset Renault Clio service light

There's a lot of interest in this subject, which on the face of it could indicate the Clio is unreliable. However, that's not exactly true - it's more a reflection of how many have been sold, and how many are left on our roads with less-than-perfect electronics. 

That also means there will be a dearth of spare parts available, so repairs should be relatively cheap. 

Known issues with the Mk4 Clio include ECU issues causing poor running, ignition coil problems and other electrical gremlins. 

The Renaultsport Clios

Over the years there have been a number of Clio models that have been built by Renaultsport – the firm’s motorsport wing – and have been campaigned worldwide to great success in both circuit racing and rallying.

Renaultspot Clio 220 Trophy

This pedigree has filtered through to road cars, and has made for some of the best hot hatchbacks ever built, including the Renaultsport Clio 172, 182, 197 and 200 versions – not to mention the harder Cup derivatives aimed more towards circuit drivers.


Then who could forget the mid-engine Renaultsport Clio V6, with its 3.0-litre motor and famed ‘on-edge’ handling? Or even the Renault Clio Williams, built with the F1 team’s expertise to create one of the first truly great hot hatches, as below?

Renault Clio Williams

Renault Clio Model History

  • 1992 - Clio is first launched.
  • 1998 - Mk2 Clio launched. Facelifts came in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2012
  • 2005 - Mk3 Clio launched.
  • Appeared on BBC's Watchdog in 2006 after over 1,000 incidents of Mk2 Clios' bonnets flying open without warning whilst driving - usually at high speed.
  • November 2012 – Order books open for the five-door-only, fourth-generation Clio, with deliveries commencing in February 2013. Expression, Expression+, Dynamique MediaNav and Dynamique S MediaNav trims, with a restricted range of 1.2 16V 75 and Energy TCe 90 petrol engines and a sole Energy dCi 90 diesel.
  • April 2013 – Flagship Renaultsport 200 Turbo and 200 Turbo Lux launched, both powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine producing 200hp. Power is directed to the front wheels via a six-speed EDC dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a muscular bodykit and three different driving modes. Lux adds an Arkamys audio system, keyless entry and start and Renaultsport front seats.
  • June 2013 – Sporty GT-Line Energy TCe 120 available to order, with first deliveries in September. Changes compared with the standard Clio include a 40% stiffer suspension dampers, 17-inch alloy wheels and a purposeful bodykit. The automatic EDC twin-clutch gearbox is your only choice.
  • February 2015 – Minor modifications across the range including detail changes to the finishes for the climate control system, airvents and gearknobs. Dynamique MediaNav and Dynamique S MediaNav models are optionally available with a GT-Line look pack including anthracite alloy wheels and exterior detailing, LED day-running lights and a chrome exhaust pipe.
  • June 2015 – Performance flagship Renaultsport 220 Trophy available to order, with power uprated to 220hp, along with revisions to the EDC automatic gearbox’s shift patterns, as well as tweaks to the suspension and steering set-ups.
  • November 2015 – Expression+ trim level discontinued and replaced with Play, while all Clios now come with DAB radio. Dynamique Nav models now feature a new steering wheel and different grey cloth upholstery.
  • December 2015 – Marking a quarter-century of Clio sales is the limited edition Iconic 25 Nav, based on the standard Dynamique S Nav trim, with a choice of Energy TCe 90 and Energy dCi 90 engines. Additional features include 17-inch Desire alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, and white and black door mirror caps that can be replicated on the roof. Inside there are heated, part-leather front seats.
  • September 2016 – Facelifted range introduced, with revised front-end styling including a new grille and LED headlights on high specification models, in addition to new-to-Clio features such as self-parking. Upgraded interior materials as well as enhanced specifications. Range structure of the facelifted range comprises of Expression, Play, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Renaultsport 200 Nav and Renaultsport 220 Trophy Nav. Engine range expanded with the Energy TCe 120 paired with a manual gearbox and a more powerful Energy dCi 110 diesel.
  • January 2017 – Luxurious Signature Nav specification introduced featuring partial leather upholstery, a reversing camera, all-round parking sensors, automatic self-parking function and an upgraded multimedia system. Engine permutations include the Energy TCe 90 and Energy TCe 120 petrols, as well as the diesel-powered Energy dCi 90 and Energy dCi 110.
  • January 2018 - Urban Nav specification joins at the top of the non-Renaultsport Clio line-up.
  • May 2018 - Renault Clio R.S. 18 launched, inspired by the F1 team's racing car and based on the 220 Trophy. 

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