Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4

Renault Clio Iconic driving position 2019

  • Seriously usable interior
  • High-quality dashboard
  • Impressive infotainment on higher models

How is the quality and layout?

What’s most impressive about the Renault Clio’s interior is how high the quality is. The dashboard’s overall layout makes for a smart and more sophisticated cabin. There’s great use of materials and textured switchgear, and colours are well judged and look good.

Those sat up front will appreciate a slightly better view out compared to its rivals, thanks to the positioning of the front windscreen pillars. They’re just as thick as most modern cars on sale, but they’re positioned further forward ahead of you and don’t feel like they immediately obstruct your view when you try and navigate your way out of a junction. The large front quarter-light window is actually useful as well, unlike on a previous-generation Ford Fiesta or Peugeot 208, where they were so small you could only see out the ones on the opposite side of the cabin.

The controls are well laid out – bonus points for the cruise control buttons being all on the steering wheel for the first time in Renault’s living memory, rather than having them dotted about the cabin. The temptation to move to touchscreen controls for the heating and ventilation in a Citroen and Peugeot style has also, thankfully, been resisted, and a row of physical climate control knobs sit below the infotainment touchscreen.

Renault Clio 2019 R.S. Line touchscreen

Infotainment and tech

The infotainment screen is a large 9.3 inches and oriented vertically, much like the one in Renault’s own Megane. It’s crisp, clear and very easy to use, though the operating system isn’t quite as simple to get to grips with as a Volkswagen Polo’s. It’s currently only available on higher-spec S Edition and RS Line models, however – opting for a mid-spec Iconic will see you downgraded to a smaller screen, which is perfectly fine for most, if a little less user-friendly.

Entry-level Play cars get an old-fashioned stereo instead, but even this gets a DAB radio. Play and Iconic models also come with conventional dials rather than a digital screen, but despite them looking a little on the cheap side, they’re at least large and clear to read.

The 7.0-inch digital display for the driver has three customisable areas when it comes to the type of information you want it to show, with the choice of a power and torque gauge or instant fuel read-out on the top left corner, media information or sat-nav instructions on the top right and driving assistance information at the bottom.

Renault Clio dials 2019

Comfort

  • Soaks up bumps well even on large wheels
  • Plenty of support in seats
  • A very refined, grown-up feeling car

The Renault Clio is a comfortable car – the suspension essentially splits the difference between sportier alternatives such as the Ford Fiesta and grown-up alternatives like the Volkswagen Polo. It’s quite a happy middle ground – the suspension soaks up bumps without feeling totally disconnected from the road, and it’s only larger bumps and potholes around town that unsettle the car.

There is a fair degree of road noise filtering into the cabin outside of town environments, but it’s not too tiring. The engines settle down to a relaxed cruise quickly, and there’s only a bit of wind whistle around the door mirrors to disrupt the calm, while the cabin is well isolated from bumps being sent into the cabin.

The seats are firm and comfortable with plenty of adjustment for most drivers, and the sculptured bolsters also provide plenty of support in the corners. R.S Line models come with even more figure-hugging seats, but they’re less restrictive than the examples you’d find on something like a MINI Hatch or Ford Fiesta ST-Line.

Renault Clio comfort 2019

There’s another caveat with R.S Line models, though – they come on larger, 17-inch alloy wheels that result in a rather firm ride that’s particularly noticeable at low speeds. There’s a considerable degree of tyre roar too, once above 30mph. Overall, it’s someway short of being uncomfortable, but if you prefer a supple, cushioned ride and quieter cabin, we’d definitely suggest sticking with the more forgiving set-up on Play and Iconic models.

While the TCe 100 is the more refined choice overall, the Fiesta still edges ahead of it for long distance comfort. There’s quite a few vibrations coming through into the cabin when cruising around 50-55mph, especially through the steering wheel. Change down to fourth gear to raise the engine speed and it feels far more harmonious and relaxed overall – the longer gearing here doesn’t quite work in these situations.

The 1.3-litre TCe 130 engine transmits fewer vibrations into the cabin, but the turbo whistle that filters through into the driver’s footwell under acceleration will be annoying after a while if you haven’t already turned up the radio to drown it out.

For city work, the E-Tech model is the nicest of the lot, aided by its generous electric-only range and assistance from the battery pack. Away from the city, if you’re gentle with the throttle, the E-Tech is quiet and refined, but if you want instant power for a quick overtake, it can get quite rowdy as the engine buzzes at high revs.