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 £14,720 - £21,930
Lease from new From £176 p/m View lease deals
Used price £9,655 - £17,855
Used monthly cost £241 - £446
Fuel Economy 52.3 mpg
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
  • Clever hybrid model

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 Adam Binnie on

The Renault Clio is Europe’s best-selling supermini and Renault’s best-selling car worldwide. It’s difficult to get those sorts of accolades without being fundamentally, a very good car – so it should come as no real surprise that we think the Clio is the best supermini on sale in the UK today. In fact, it’s so good we awarded it the Best First Car gong in the 2020 Parkers Awards.

The Clio’s party trick is that it doesn’t actually have a party trick. It doesn’t stand out miles above the crowd in any one area, but it doesn’t have any notable weak spots either. It’s good to drive, pleasant to sit in, and cheap to run. It’s also absolutely cracking value, undercutting rival superminis on purchase price and offering some bargain finance deals into the offering as well.

With such strong competition, the Clio’s position at the top of our supermini charts is under constant threat. The UK’s biggest-selling car, the Ford Fiesta, is a constant thorn in the Clio’s side, offering the best driving dynamics in the class at the expense of practicality and solidity.

Then, there’s the Clio’s home-grown rival, the Peugeot 208. We rate the 208 very highly for its wonderful interior, great engines and stunning looks, but it’s a lot more expensive than the equivalent Renault.

The supermini segment is still the biggest market in the UK, though, so buyers can also choose cars such as the Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza, MINI Hatch, or Vauxhall Corsa to name a few.

So what exactly does the Clio do that makes it stand out among this talented crowd?

Wide range of petrol and diesel engines

There’s something for everybody in the Renault Clio’s engine range. There’s no pure-electric model – Renault offers the Zoe for anybody after a full EV supermini – but there are petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains to choose from.

It kicks off with a 75hp engine best suited to trips around town or young drivers. It’s succeeded by a 100hp turbocharged unit, which is badged 1.0 TCe 100. We think it’s the best in the range, with a good amount of power for a car of this size – it’s great for nipping around city centres but powerful enough to tackle motorways and A-roads with ease.

For those who want to go a little faster, there’s a 130hp 1.3-litre which provides a good turn of pace, though it’s no hot hatchback.

2020 Renault Clio rear

It shouldn’t be too surprising that the Clio’s petrol engine range exactly mirrors its Peugeot 208 rival in terms of power outputs – the two cars are arch-rivals, especially in their home market of France. We think the Peugeot’s engines are a little more characterful, but the Clio’s really aren’t bad at all; they’re refined, efficient and responsive.

Renault even offers a diesel engine, ideal for those who want to cover lots of miles for the lowest fuel cost – though with just 85hp, it’s unlikely to be a pocket rocket. This is the only version of the Clio that gets a six-speed manual gearbox.

A hybrid version of the Clio landed in 2020, giving the petrol-electric Toyota Yaris some competition at last. It combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery to allow for electric-only running at low speeds.

Plush interior with lots of tech

The Mk5 Clio’s biggest upgrade over its predecessor is definitely to be found inside. The Clio offers a very high-quality interior with an intuitive layout, attractive design and lots of equipment.

Range-topping cars get a great portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system, digital dials and lots of colourful trim, making for what we think is one of the best interiors available for a supermini. It’s not as avant-garde as a Peugeot 208, but the 9.3-inch central display is bright, clear and responsive, and all the materials and switches you touch regularly are soft-touch and squishy.

Renault Clio interior 2019

Lower down the range, things are a little more drab and less exciting, but it’s still very easy to get acquainted with all the functions.

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.

There’s accommodation in the Clio for four six-foot adults – at a slight squeeze. Rivals do offer more legroom for rear passengers, and the high-set centre console in the front can make the driver feel a little hemmed-in, but it’s cosy rather than cramped.

This pays off in the boot department, though, because the Clio’s luggage area is class-leading. At 391 litres in capacity, it’s even larger than the Volkswagen Golf’s – a car from the size class above.

We think the Clio’s the best small car around. Read the full review to find out why…

Renault Clio Hatchback rivals

Other Renault Clio models: