REVIEW DATE: 11 May 2009
Renault's latest attempt to drum up more sales for its Clio supermini is the TomTom special edition. Steve Walker reports.
Over the space of just a few years, satellite navigation has risen from an expensive curiosity reserved for high-end luxury vehicles to become the ultimate must-have accessory for buyers of mainstream cars. If you can't afford the manufacturer's integrated system, there are neat aftermarket alternatives and if you can't summon-up the finances for one of those, you can always get one for free with a Renault Clio TomTom special edition. The days of the dog-eared road atlas could be numbered.
How we managed before sat nav became available to the masses is anyone's guess. The nation's ring roads and one-way systems must have been jammed with tormented souls condemned to endless orbits in fruitless search of the right exit. Lay-bys and roadside verges must have resembled battlegrounds as distressed motorists wrestled with the folds of their billowing OS maps. At least, that's the conclusion that one could reasonably draw following the dramatic uptake of satellite navigation in the UK - the technology's rapid spread suggesting that there must have been a big void there for it to fill. In reality, most motorists managed quite adequately without the dulcet tones of a sat nav box chiming in at regular intervals but even the most ardent technophobe would admit that there are many situations where a bit of automated route guidance can be invaluable.
Sat nav is now so accessible that they're giving it away with £12,000 superminis. The Renault Clio TomTom comes complete with a Carminat TomTom system - it's made by industry-leading manufacturer TomTom, just in case you hadn't already twigged. It's a fully integrated sat nav set-up with a 5.8" colour screen and the tried and tested TomTom software.
"The Clio TomTom is one of the cheapest ways to get satellite navigation on a new car"
The Clio TomTom is based on the Dynamique trim level and aside from the sat nav equipment, it also features cruise control and an electronic speed limiter. It gets all of the Dyanimique's features too, including 16" alloy wheels air-conditioning, automatic headlamps and automatic wipers. TomTom badging rounds off the Clio TomTom package which is available in 1.2-litre petrol guise or with the superior 1.5-litre dCi 86 diesel engine.
Both of the available engines are very strong in terms of economy and emissions but might disappoint buyers who like their small hatchbacks to come with a bit of poke. The 1.2-litre petrol can return an average economy figure of 47.9mpg and 139g/km CO2 emissions but its 13.4s 0-60mph acceleration is less than brisk. The more expensive dCi 68 engine is slower still with a laborious 15.2s required to reach 60mph. This doesn't quite tell the whole story, however, because the oil-burner's powerful mid-range torque ensures that it feels faster than the figures suggest under normal driving conditions. Then there's the 64.2mpg average economy and 117g/km emissions that make this Clio one of the most environmentally-friendly cars on the road.
You wouldn't call the Clio's styling adventurous, at least not in comparison to some of Renault's other recent designs, but it's an appealing shape that's rendered more dynamic in three-door form and the Renault DNA is always evident. The front end of the latest 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. This TomTom derivative manages to look particularly swish with its sporty styling accessories.
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.
One of the biggest factors in many supermini buying decisions is safety and the Clio II set quite a benchmark. 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 insclude 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 Carminat TomTom sat nav system that Renault have thrown in with their Clio TomTom is available for around £450 on the options list so it's a handy addition to the value proposition of this car. For the money, buyers receive a fine-handling and spacious supermini with a good quota of equipment given the price point. The two engine choices are amongst the most economical you'll find anywhere and with the TomTom sat nav's input, you should never get lost again, thus saving you even more fuel. The Clio TomTom is one of the cheapest ways to get integrated satellite navigation on a new car and that's enough to make it a worthwhile addition to the range.
The results below show the top CLIO deals on buyacar
|Renault Clio 1.2 16V TomTom Edition 3dr hatchback|
|Renault Clio 0.9 TCE 90 Dynamique S MediaNav 5dr hatchback|
|Price £13,211||Save £1,784|
|Renault Clio 1.2 16V Expression 5dr hatchback|
|Price £9,682||Save £913|
|Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 Dynamique S MediaNav 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £14,188||Save £1,907|
|Renault Clio 0.9 TCE 90 Dynamique MediaNav 5dr hatchback|
|Price £12,322||Save £1,673|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT CLIO DEALS|
|For CLIO TOMTOM|
|OVERALL||7.3 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||7|
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