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Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Buying new

Should I buy petrol or diesel?

If fuel economy is a concern then the pick of the range is the lowest-powered Eco diesel model, but in reality, the little three-cylinder petrol alternative is such fun and not much less thirsty at the pumps, we’d plump for this model as the sweet spot in the range.

The dCi 110 offers a little more of everything all round, but we’re not sure that the more powerful 1.5-litre diesel is worth the extra outlay over the 90hp version.

The best Renault Clio Hatchback for me?

Renault Clio Dynamique S dCi 110
(Tested: February 2017)

Although it’s fresh from a facelift, you’d never know it just from the way it looks. The styling tweaks aren’t extensive, but they didn’t need to be – the Clio is one of the best-looking superminis out there.

Should you go for this diesel over the petrol model? You’ll get a punchy and refined engine pushing out 110hp and 260Nm. This engine is also found in much bigger cars like the Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai. Installed in the Clio, it feels really eager and genuinely quick, despite its 11.9-second 0-62mph time.

The only thing that counts against this version of the compared with lesser models in terms of driving is the slightly firmer ride, but that's a small price to pay for a more planted feel in the corners.

It’ll be cheap to fuel and tax. You can thank CO2 emissions of just 90g/km and claimed 80.7mpg for that. However, it’s very unlikely you’ll such reach figures in reality – you’re more likely to see around 50-60mpg in everyday conditions, which is still a respectable figure.

It shouldn’t cost much to insure – it sits in low group 12 (out of 50) for insurance, and company car drivers will like the sound of 18% BIK costs for this particular model.

In Dynamique S trim the Clio is packed with equipment, while the diesel engine feels a great fit for those covering high miles – it blends being fun and frugal very well indeed. You won't be disappointed by the dCi 110.

Renault Clio Dynamique Nav dCi 90 Eco
(Tested: May 2016)

In standard form this engine produces 85g/km of CO2 and promises 86mpg, but if you pay an extra £250 you can have the frugal Eco version, like our test car. This features a special Eco switch in the car that dulls throttle response in order to reduce fuel consumption.

As a result, it promises a slightly improved 82g/km and 88mpg. It’s ok on the motorway but makes the Clio feel a bit leaden everywhere else. Those are not the most significant savings so we think it’ll take a while to recoup your £250. Company car driver? It’ll cost you £49 a month in BIK tax*, rather than £48.

There’s a woolly feel about this Clio’s pedals and gearshift where we’d like a more positive feel, and while this version is lighter than its predecessor, it still feels like a big car. That said, it’s still extremely good fun, particularly with this punchy diesel engine, which develops 90hp and 220Nm.

That last figure makes the Clio feel lively in the middle part of the rev range. You only get five gears but the engine is quiet on the motorway, in part because there’s quite a bit of wind noise from the door mirrors drowning it out.

We’re not convinced by the £250 Eco upgrade though. We spent our time in the Clio with the button firmly in the off mode, and even with it on, it’ll take a long time to recoup the up-front cost.

Renault Clio Dynamique S Nav TCe 90
(Tested: September 2015)

Under the bonnet lies 0.9-litre three-cylinder petrol engine which offers 90hp and 130Nm. If you’re thinking that the car's sporty profile will relate to a speedy and fun drive on the road, you’ll be disappointed.

It’s not a quick car, it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 115mph. Ideally suited to urban environments, the Clio is easy to manoeuvre and control and thanks to its small 10m turning circle, parking and getting around tight city streets is easy.

Mated to the engine is a well-judged five-speed manual gearbox and the steering, albeit a little numb, is well-weighted. The seats are comfortable and supportive over long distances and although a little on the firm side, the suspension does a good job of soaking up pot holes and bumps in the road.

It’s not as fun or accomplished to drive as a Ford Fiesta, though. That said, around town the small petrol tested here does the job well enough and proves frugal too. We’d opt for a lower trim in the range as our test car is pretty pricey, the R-Link Multimedia system is definitely worth adding as an option though.

Renault Clio GT Line TCe 120
(Tested: July 2013)

Dubbed the GT Line, think of this as a toned-down version of the rapid Renaultsport Clio 200. It’s been worked on by Renault’s motorsport wing and makes use of an all-new 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine coupled to a clever gearbox.

Known as EDC, this six-speed twin-clutch unit swaps between gears extremely quickly. It makes the car incredibly easy to drive, especially when pottering around the countryside or through town centres.

If you turn the wick up a little the ‘box follows suit, but for the best performance you’ll want to press the RS Drive button behind the gear selection lever. This alters the throttle response, gearbox configuration, stability control settings and steering feel for a more sporty drive. It’s a similar system as fitted to the halo Renaultsport 200 model, but without the Race function.

Enthusiastic drivers will want to make use of the paddles behind the steering wheel to change gear. Although the gearbox can be slightly hesitant to give you the required gear on downshifts, overall it performs admirably with little fuss and almost no pause in torque as the car surges forwards.

The engine is brilliant, smoothly propelling the GT Line from a standstill in an urgent but never savage fashion. Peak pulling power is 190Nm, while 120hp is on tap when you need it. That means 62mph is possible in 9.9 seconds while top speed is 121mph.

Although it’s not as fast as the 200 Turbo, the TCe 120 does boast far better running costs. The claimed average fuel economy is 54.3mpg, so on real roads you can expect 40mpg if you drive carefully.

The GT Line looks like a performance car, too. Many of the body panels are borrowed from the 200 Turbo Clio, while a 40mm ride height drop and 17-inch alloys mean it squats meaningfully on the tarmac.

In fact, the suspension has been heavily re-worked over a normal Clio and the result is an accomplished and rewarding chassis that just loves to be driven fast. Corners are a joy – this is a fun car which doesn’t take itself as seriously as its quicker 200 relative.

On the inside you get some excellent Renaultsport seats which offer loads of lateral support. There’s a GT leather steering wheel, aluminium pedals and Renault’s latest R-Link multimedia system which features sat-nav and an eco-driving guide.

Renault Clio Renaultsport Lux
(Tested: November 2013)

While the previous Renaultsport Clio boasted a naturally aspirated engine endowed with a turbo-like thrust, the new car uses forced induction to create a linear power delivery not unlike the larger endowed RenaultSport Megane. In a straight line it doesn’t feel as fast as the figures (0-62mph takes only 6.7 seconds) suggest, but that’s mainly down to the automatic gearbox.

The six ratios are too widely spaced and the long gearing feels at odds with this car’s frenetic purpose. Selecting Sport or Race mode does little to help – it simply holds the ratios for far too long – but knocking the lever into manual does help.

Swapping cogs via the steering column-mounted paddles helps, but we wish they were either longer or pivoted with the wheel as reaching for the next ratio while cornering often results in fumbling fingers and a nudged rev-limiter.

Minor disappointments about the drivetrain aside, the RenaultSport Clio’s chassis is fantastic, and any apparent lack of pace or power disappears at the first corner. The steering could do with a little more feel, but grip is strong and reactions are razor sharp.

Enthusiastic drivers, with the safety aids switched off, can back off the throttle mid bend to entice the rear end into play as it swings around to tighten the corner. Easily controllable, this throttle adjustability is a real highlight, and the harder you drive this car the more it rewards.

There’s absolutely no doubt that this new RenaultSport Clio is softer and more grown up than before, and it’s because rather than in spite of this that the overall package is better. The automatic gearbox won’t suit all, but the engine is willing and the chassis a belter.

However we can’t recommend it in expensive Lux form; the cheaper and just as talented base model with Cup chassis option is the best bet. Provided you ignore the more involving, and cheaper, Ford Fiesta ST that is.

Renault Clio RS Trophy
(Tested: December 2015)

The car we’re driving here, the Renaultsport Clio 220 Trophy EDC, is easily the most focused of the whole bunch. And so it should be, because the firm makes a lot of noise about borrowing technical nous from its ventures in Formula 1.

The result? Thanks to heavy revisions to the paddleshift gearbox, and ditto the engine, plus some choice chassis modification, we think this new flagship Clio is the quickest and most exciting car of its size.

Enthusiasts might wonder how that could be, since it’s the only car in the sector which uses an automatic gearbox, so naturally it’s easy to assume it’ll be less involving. Certainly the firm’s first attempt lacked the engagement required for great fun on UK roads. Critics simply enjoyed rivals’ manual ‘boxes more.

The steering has been modified for faster and more precise response, and we firmly believe it’s the most communicative system we’ve tried on cars of this type; if not on any hot hatch. A ride height 20mm lower over the nose and 10mm at the rear means the front end has even more bite, so the R.S. differential can perform its lateral torque-shuffling more effectively and thus corner exit speeds are improved. The rear end feels fractionally more playful too, which allows more adjustability when cornering quickly.

Its springs and dampers are stiffer than before, which is at the expense of a little ride quality, but actually it’s better than you might imagine. Only the tallest, sharpest speed bumps cause an uncomfortable jolt through the car, but this thing will go around a bend like you wouldn’t believe. The quicker you go, the better the chassis seems to become.

The rev limit has been raised to 6,800rpm, offering another 300rpm over the standard Renaultsport Clio, which means downshifts are available earlier, further amplifying this car’s performance pedigree because it allows you to concentrate more on braking and steering when entering a bend.

To make the most of all this extra performance, you’ll want to flick the RS Drive control into Race mode. This switches the engine configuration, throttle mapping, audible gearshift indicator and steering into their hardest settings, and also carries out two other interesting functions.

A launch control function is installed too, which means the Clio takes off as quickly as it can by the car selecting and holding the perfect revs for optimum acceleration.

It pins you back into the beautiful optional heated leather sports seats installed in our test car. These cost another £1,600, which is a lot of cash relative to the £21,780 list price of the standard 220 Trophy, but we’d probably pick them given the choice.

This is a car that needs to be driven very hard to be fully appreciated, so the cheaper Fiesta ST or 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport are still hard to ignore as daily drivers. We’d have to say a non-Trophy 200 would be our pick of the Clio range in those circumstances too.

However, if outright performance, modern technology or even visits to the race track are high on your list of priorities, the Renaultsport Clio 220 Trophy is all the supermini you’ll ever need.

Buying used

Renault Clio hatchback model history

  • 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.


Buying a new Renault Clio Hatchback

  • Our Clio pick is the Dynamique Nav trim
  • Be wary of too much personalisation
  • TCe 90 petrol engine is a sweet all-rounder

Selling a popular small hatchback like the Renault Clio shouldn’t prove too difficult – they look stylish, are economical and generally well-equipped.

This doesn’t mean you should be blasé about it – selling any car privately requires some effort, so make sure it’s thoroughly valeted both before you take photos for your advert and when people come to view it.

Make sure your service history and maintenance folder is ready for inspection and attend to any more paint repairs, kerbed wheels or dents which need rectifying.

Finally, price your Clio competitively by using Parkers’ valuation tool.

If you’re shopping for a mainstream Renault Clio, then the middle-ranking Dynamique Nav hits the sweet spot in terms of desirable kit.

We’d ward off going wild on the personalisation packs unless you plan to keep the car for a long time, as it may prove trickier to sell on than a standard car.

Engine-wise, unless you are likely to cover higher levels of annual mileage that warrant choosing a diesel-fuelled Clio, we’d opt for the petrol-powered TCe 90. It’s still economical, but is less noisy and more efficient on shorter, urban-based journeys.

If performance is more your thing then of the two Renaultsport versions, the feistier 220 Trophy is the one to go for. It’s more visceral like hot Clios of old, although it’s still hampered by a recalcitrant gearbox

Buying a used Renault Clio Hatchback

  • There’s plenty of choice out there
  • It’s known as a depreciator, so buy carefully
  • Try and avoid buying an expensive luxury model

With a large dealer network and hundreds of used examples to choose from, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a used Clio that suits your needs.

Similar advice here – avoid the entry-level Clios and instead invest in one that’s at least mid-range Dynamique or higher for a greater array of equipment and conveniences.

If your journeys are shorter and usually urban, then go for one of the TCe petrols, only choosing a pricier diesel if you regularly undertake longer motorway schleps.

For those buying a used Renaultsport Clio, it pays to shop around and spend longer researching the options. More than a few will have aftermarket modifications with varying degree of success, so look for as standard a car as you can find.

Whichever you consider, examine the maintenance paperwork carefully and ensure everything tallies.

Ease your concerns further with a Parkers Car History Check to discover any secrets such as outstanding finance.

Selling your Renault Clio Hatchback

  • Do your research and get it realistically valued
  • Clean it thoroughly and photograph it well
  • Be prepared to drop your price in response to competition

Selling a popular small hatchback like the Renault Clio shouldn’t prove too difficult – they look stylish, are economical and generally well-equipped.

This doesn’t mean you should be blasé about it – selling any car privately requires some effort, so make sure it’s thoroughly valeted both before you take photos for your advert and when people come to view it.

Make sure your service history and maintenance folder is ready for inspection and attend to any more paint repairs, kerbed wheels or dents which need rectifying.

Finally, price your Clio competitively by using Parkers’ valuation tool.

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