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4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Bestselling small hatchback now has other talents to back-up good looks

Renault Clio Hatchback Review Video
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At a glance

New price £14,155 - £21,305
Used price £10,335 - £17,910
Used monthly cost £258 - £447
Fuel Economy 49.6 - 67.2 mpg
Road tax cost £145
Insurance group 3 - 16 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Familiar styling looks as good as ever
  • Well-designed interior
  • Impressively-low running costs

CONS

  • Tight rear passenger room
  • Five-speed gearboxes on most models
  • Handling still lags behind Fiesta
  • Refinement could be better

Renault Clio Hatchback rivals

Written by Lawrence Cheung on

Don't underestimate what an important car the new Renault Clio is. While it rarely hits the Top 10 sales charts in the UK, it's one of the French company's top models, and its most popular worldwide. It's also the best-selling supermini in Europe as a whole (the UK's love affair with the Ford Fiesta is a tough nut to crack), and one of the most frequently-bought cars in Europe overall, second only to the Volkswagen Golf.

That's why this fifth-generation model has taken an evolutionary approach to its styling, with customers citing it as one of their favourite features on the old car.  The roofline might be 43mm lower to reduce drag, but it’s still recognisably a Clio. Instead, massive leaps have been made in terms of comfort, interior quality and equipment levels.

The Clio has a lot of competition, particularly against the UK's number one, the Ford Fiesta. Additionally, the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza are also strong competition, while those attracted to the Clio’s chic exterior design might also be considering a fashionable rival such as the MINI Hatch.

There's good news for Renault as the Clio mk5 compares favourably with all of those; it strikes a good balance in terms of ride comfort and handling, while the interior is one of the best in this class, plus it's packed to the rafters with standard kit.

Petrol and diesel engine range

Renault’s engine line-up is fairly broad, kicking-off with a 75hp three-cylinder that’s likely to be ideal for zipping around town, but not the best on faster roads.

The sweet spot in the range is the TCe 100. It’s easy to remember – 1.0-litre, 100hp, 100g/km of CO2 – and it’s more than peppy enough for most, while also being very refined.

Topping the engine range, at least until a new Clio R.S arrives, is the TCe 130. It’s a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 130hp, making for decent performance for a car of this size. We’d compare it most closely it with the likes of the Ford Fiesta's 125hp EcoBoost motor.

Renault continues to fly the diesel flag and offering a sole dCi unit with the Clio for the UK market. This is increasingly rare in small hatchbacks and could prove attractive for those who want to cover lots of miles for the lowest fuel cost.

All three petrol models are fitted with five-speed manual gearboxes, while the diesel gets a six-speed ‘box. There are even two automatic options, a CVT for the 100hp engine or a seven-speed dual-clutch for the TCe 130.

UK deliveries commenced in November 2019, and Renault will introduce a new hybrid version during 2020, giving the petrol-electric Toyota Yaris some competition at last. It’s not a plug-in unit, but combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery to allow for electric-only running at slow speeds.

There's no fully electric version of the Clio planned - instead, Renault offers the similarly sized Zoe as its zero-emission alternative.

Plushly finished interior

Renault boldly claims that the new Clio has the greatest surface area of soft-touch plastics of any small hatch. Now there’s something to brag about down the pub. While it might not sound like the biggest of deals, it’s actually very noticeable. It feels very high quality for a supermini, and it looks good, too.

Breaking the dashboard up a coloured strip across the centre, while most of the surfaces that you'll touch frequently, such as the door cards, steering wheel and gearstick feel cushioned and expensive.

Renault Clio interior 2019

Interior dimensions have increased slightly over the previous model, thanks to more effective space utilisation – overall, the car is slightly smaller than its predecessor. By carving out room wherever possible, Renault’s made the Clio feel lighter and airier in Mk5 guise.

Slimmer front seats improve rear legroom and, while you won’t be carrying any basketball players in the rear, it’s perfectly acceptable for a supermini – four six-foot adults should be able to travel for reasonably long distances without too many complaints.

The boot is also class-leading, with 391 litres of space on offer – that’s more than the larger Volkswagen Golf. Open the boot and you'll spot that the sill has been raised – a decision taken to spare the tailgate in the event of a minor rear shunt – but there’s a new adjustable boot floor to make it easier to get things in and out.

Improved technology levels

The standout feature on the dashboard is the 9.3-inch multimedia touchscreen. It’s all new, and one of the more impressive systems available in any supermini. The screen is big, bright and clear, without being obtrusive in your sightline. Its portrait orientation has great benefits when using sat-nav as it allows you to see more of the road ahead at any one time. Entry-level cars get a smaller screen but Renault expects the lion’s share of sales to go to higher-specification models.

Smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, and there’s the usual suite of Bluetooth, DAB radio and sat-nav. There’s also an optional upgraded Bose stereo system, which sounds great and should make audiophiles very happy. Best of all, the enhanced speakers are integrated seamlessly with no loss of boot space.

There’s lots of enhanced safety tech, too. Lane-departure warning is standard, but it’s also possible to opt for a lane-keeping aid. This works in conjunction with radar-guided cruise control and, on automatic models, can drive the Clio semi-autonomously in traffic jams and on motorways.

So, does the Clio make a big enough step over the outgoing model? Read our full review to find out.

Renault Clio Hatchback rivals

Other Renault Clio models: