REVIEW DATE: 11 May 2009
Renault's Latest Clio Has Certainly Grown Up. Andy Enright Checks Out The 5-Door Version
If you're the sort of person who is convinced that Mars Bars are getting smaller and that we're constantly getting less for our money, you might want to run the rule over Renault's five-door version of the Clio III. Substantial doesn't even begin to cover it.
The Clio Mk III was always a big car in the supermini class but this facelifted model is even bigger. At 4,027mm, it's 41mm longer than the pre-facelift model and that extra length is utilised in making the Clio appear lower, leaner and more streamlined. This isn't one of those facelifts that leaves everyone at a loss as to what exactly has changed. The front end of the Clio is markedly more aggressive with the sharp lines of the air-intake and the headlights combined with the thin, smirking grille. It's a look that debuted on the Megane family hatch and it gives the Clio a far more purposeful appearance, even in its non-sporting forms. The interior was also upgraded with some relocating of the minor controls to increase user-friendliness. Higher spec models now get a soft touch dash with the satellite navigation screen integrated into it.
Beneath the skin, Renault's focus has been on increasing refinement on the Clio and today's model features upgraded sound-deadening measures to combat engine, transmission and wind noise. The occupants should have a pretty cushy time of it because the Clio also continues to set the standard for supermini cabin space with its impressive rear head and leg room along with a generously proportioned boot of 288 litres.
"Renault has supersized the Clio but buyers needn't feel guilty about going large"
The five-door version that we take a look at here doesn't look quite so dynamic as the three-door bodystyle but it's still worthy of consideration even if you're one of those who buys purely on aesthetics. Renault recognise that the three-door car will mop up the lion's share of all UK Clio sales but the five-door car adds a useful string to the car's bow, especially for family buyers. Having driven both variants, I'd have to say that for the time being at least, the five-door looks the better buy.
The Clio III five-door is offered with a wide array of petrol and Euro IV-compliant common rail diesel engines. The petrol engine range comprises a 75bhp 1.2-litre, a 100bhp 1.2-litre turbo, a 111bhp 1.6-litre VVT with an automatic gearbox and a 128bhp version of the same engine with in manual guise. The 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine comes in a choice of two power outputs: 86bhp and 106bhp. Five trim levels are available: Expression, Dynamique, Privilege and Initiale.
One of the biggest factors in many supermini buying decisions is safety and the Clio III has excellent neutral weight distribution and some serious brakes to prevent an accident happening in the first instance. It is delivered as standard with Generation 8 Bosch ABS plus electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA). Other options include electronic stability programme (ESP) incorporating ASR traction control, understeer control and MSR engine torque overrun regulation.
Along with the Modus, the Clio III is the first car in its segment to offer additional beam cornering headlamps, while double distance xenon headlamps are also available for enhanced night visibility. The Clio III's structure includes a number of programmed deformation zones and has been designed to function with Renault's third-generation System for Restraint and Protection. This includes up to eight airbags, incorporating two adaptive front airbags complete with load limiter and double pretensioners for the front seats. If you must crash, at least have the foresight to do it in a Clio III.
The five-door Renault Clio III makes an extremely convincing family choice. It's not particularly sporty in feel, but buyers in this market don't tend to seek out tarmac-scorching performance or bone-jarring ride. That's why it feels a better fit for its market than the similarly soft-riding but aggressively styled three-door car. You also get a lot of metal for your money when compared with rivals. It may not be glamorous but the Clio III five-door is going to take a heck of a lot of beating.
The results below show the top CLIO deals on buyacar
|Renault Clio 0.9 TCE 90 Dynamique MediaNav 5dr hatchback|
|Price £12,322||Save £1,673|
|Renault Clio 0.9 TCE 90 Dynamique S MediaNav 5dr hatchback|
|Price £13,211||Save £1,784|
|Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 ECO Dynamique MediaNav 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £13,522||Save £1,823|
|Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 Dynamique S MediaNav 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £14,188||Save £1,907|
|Renault Clio 1.2 16V Expression 5dr hatchback|
|Price £9,682||Save £913|
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|For CLIO 5-DOOR RANGE|
|OVERALL||7.2 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||7|
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