Clio Dynamique TCe 100 3-door
fun marketing themes
of Nicole and Papa and the famous
shaking bottom Megane have
long gone as the French brand
pushes its range of economical and
ecological cars. A good time, then,
to say Hello to the refreshed Clio,
the latest incarnation of this popular
TEN MILLION SOLD in the past 20 years in more than 100 countries worldwide,
and over one million of them in the UK, the latest Clio range will be of interest
to a lot of buyers.
The new line-up, priced from £10,485, includes a wide choice of petrol and diesel
power units from 75 to 200bhp along with, depending on the body style chosen,
seven trim and equipment levels. In addition, there are various extra-cost option
packs including a TomTom edition. Unfortunately, the all-important Electronic
Control Stability programme is a £300 extra cost option for most models
something that in this day and age should be fitted as standard.
Core features for all models include ABS, front and front-side airbags, deadlocks,
Isofix child seat mounting points, remote central locking, variable-assistance
power steering, multi-function trip computer, electric front windows, stereo
sound system and front fog lights. The best selling mid-range Dynamique versions
gain 16-inch alloys wheels, manual air conditioning, automatic headlights and
wipers, curtain airbags, leather trim for the steering wheel and gear knob,
60:40 split-folding rear seats, electrically-operated and heated door mirrors,
soft touch dashboard trim and black centre console with satin chrome inserts
and air vent controls.
I've just spent some time with the three-door Clio with this specification and
priced at £12,735. The car had the new 1.2-litre TCe turbocharged petrol engine
which provides 100bhp and 107lb ft of torque from 3,000rpm. This version is
based on the 75bhp 1.2-litre range-starter model but with the added turbocharger
it is more fuel efficient, returning an average 48.7mpg. CO2 emissions of just
137g/km mean an annual road tax bill of £120.
This new engine matches the power of the previous 1.4-litre petrol engine but
in its turbocharged form it matches the torque of the 1.6-litre VVT 111 unit.
In real life motoring conditions my test car returned an impressive 43.5mpg.
Mention turbocharging for a petrol engine and the assumption is that it's a
'go-faster' unit. It is not: the turbocharger brings improved response, making
the unit very flexible at low to medium speeds as well as providing a slight
boost at higher speeds for overtaking slower traffic. Top speed is a very respectable
114mph but the 0-62mph acceleration time of 11 seconds is the main bonus together
with the fuel economy. At no point did the engine feel stressed even though
it has a relatively small capacity. In fact, the powerplant is probably the
new Clio's best feature.
said that, all Clio models in the past have been praised for their agility,
surefooted roadholding and comfortable ride. Despite the latest Clio growing
in size as have all 'superminis' over the past few years the latest
model, which is 41mm longer, has an overall length of 4,027mm. The roomier interior
will definitely be appreciated, especially by adult rear seat passengers. The
boot space is good as well: 288 litres with the rear seats in place and an impressive
1,038 litres with the rear seats folded.
great fuel-efficient and
responsive small petrol
engine, nimble handling,
safe and cheap to run...
the Clio three-door is a relatively small car it offers the ride comfort and
surefooted roadholding of a car a size larger. The suspension is compliant;
the ride stable; and the front-wheel drive understeer control within the £300
extra-cost Electronic Control Stability programme works very well. I was also
surprised at how quiet the new Clio was, with very little noise intrusion from
the engine or tyres.
Not so impressive for me is the styling of the latest Clio. Before it was chic
and cheerful. Now it could be any other three- or five-door hatchback, except
the new Polo and Fiesta, which have set the standard in this sector. The new
Clio's styling mirrors the latest Megane in order to meet the front-end impact
and pedestrian safety legislation. Rather than pretty, the new look has rendered
the latest Clio pretty bland.
All Clio models also compete against stiff competition such as the top selling
Ford Fiesta, the British-built Honda Jazz, the long warranty Hyundai i20, Mazda
2, Seat Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, Toyota Yaris, Vauxhall Corsa and, probably the best
of them all, the new Volkswagen Polo.
Good points include a great fuel-efficient and responsive small petrol engine,
nimble handling, comfortable, practical, safe and cheap to run but buy
now before the Scrappage Scheme discount ends and increased VAT charges apply.
Not quite so good: expensive unless discounts apply, bland styling and residual
values which, hopefully, should improve. A chic and fun image is what the Clio
really needs, just like it used to have, and whilst it is selling well, it lacks
styling flair and that is a skill that Renault needs to rediscover. David
Renault Clio Dynamique TCe 100 3-door | £12,735
Maximum speed: 114mph | 0-62mph: 11 seconds | Overall MPG: 43.5mpg
Power: 100bhp | Torque: 107lb ft | CO2 137g/km | Insurance group 4