Renault Clio (2013-present)

The Renault Clio is striking and strong value used, but rivals drive better, offer slicker in-car tech and a broader range of engines

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Strong value second-hand
Reasonably comfortable and refined
Efficient petrol and diesel engines

Weaknesses 

Interior quality not the best
Back seats could be roomier
Loses value quickly
Best New Discount

Renault Clio Diesel Hatchback 1.5 dci 85 rs line 5dr [leather/bose]

Total RRP £20,945

Your quote £18,031

You Save £2,914

The Renault Clio has been a simple and strong value small car since the first version arrived in 1991. This version continues that trend, adding bolder styling and a more modern interior to the recipe.

It faces stiff competition in the form of established names like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Leon, Skoda Fabia, Peugeot 208 and Kia Rio, but manages to stand out from the crowd with distinctive styling, inside and out. It's not pretty, but it's not boring either.

A facelift in 2016 brought a redesigned nose and headlights, a slightly better quality interior, updated technology and a new diesel engine. However, the arrival of new and improved Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Citroen C3 models means that the Clio is far from a default small car choice.

For example, its interior might look striking but the layout is flawed with iritating details such as a starter button that's way out of reach on the bottom left of the centre console and interior quality is not as good as the Fiesta, let alone the VW Polo. There are also some lingering concerns about the Clio’s long-term reliability reflected in its low ranking in the Auto Express Driver Power ownership satisfaction survey.

Despite improvements in 2016, nothing was done to improve the Clio's ride over bumps where it can be a little bouncy and short of the best of its rivals such as the Mazda 2 and Ford Fiesta. Its steering isn't particularly sharp or responsive either, which can make the Clio feel lazy and makes it difficult to take corners precisely - so you'll be constantly twitching the wheel left and right to keep the car in the right place on the road.

Meanwhile, the gearbox and the clutch take some getting used to, so the Clio isn't as easy to drive as an equivalent Skoda Fabia or Ford Fiesta.

The Clio is only available as a five-door hatchback, but some clever design work and door handles that blend into the body mean you could easily mistake it for a stylish three-door. Sadly, the byproduct of this are enormous rear pillars that create huge blindspots when driving. Pulling out of parking spaces at the side of the road and changing lane, therefore, are much more difficult than they should be in a car of this size.

A variety of engines and trim levels mean there’s a Clio to suit most needs and budgets, from the basic Expression 1.2 to the well-appointed and economical Signature Nav dCi 110. There’s also a speedy hot hatch version called the Renault Sport Nav 220 Trophy, for those who want a more engaging drive, though oddly for a small hatchback, this is only available with an automatic gearbox.

Safety has long been a hallmark of Renaults and the Clio doesn’t slip up here, scoring the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash-testing when it was evaluated back in 2012. Bear in mind, however, that crash tests have become more and more challenging since then, so cars that received five stars more recently are likely to be notably safer than the Clio.

Last Updated 

Friday, September 27, 2019 - 10:30

Key facts 

Warranty : 
Four years/100,000 miles
Boot size: 
300 litres
Width: 
1,732mm
Length: 
4,063mm
Height: 
1,448mm
Tax (from second year): 
£140

Best Renault Clio for... 

Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 ECO Play
The frugal ‘ECO’ version of the 1.5-litre dCi engine can return more than 88mpg according to official fuel economy tests and is exempt from CO2 emissions-based road tax (for models registered before April 2017).
Renault Clio 0.9 TCE 90 ECO Play
We think moving up to Play from the entry-level Expression is a must for family buyers, as its standard air-conditioning will make things much more comfortable inside for all occupants. This version also gives you the choice of more efficient engines to keep running costs down.
Renault Clio 1.2 TCE 120 Dynamique S Nav
The Clio Renault Sport Nav 220 Trophy is without doubt the quickest Clio but is not covered here. GT Line trim, echoes the look of high-performance Renault Sport cars but without their power and high running costs. In the middle of the Clio's time on sale it was the 1.2 TCe 120 Dynamique S Nav version that offered the greatest performance, accelerating from 0-62mph in a reasonably nippy 9.0 seconds, with the automatic version taking 9.2 seconds.
Renault Clio 1.2 16v Expression
The entry-level Clio Expression has no air-conditioning and the 1.2-litre 16v engine is pretty lacklustre, neither offering much in the way of performance or the best economy, so you should only go for this version if you simply can’t afford one of the others.

Renault Clio History 

2013 The current generation of the Renault Clio goes on sale

June 2013: High-spec GT-Line model with sportier looks is added to line-up
October 2013: EDC (‘Efficient Dual Clutch’) automatic gearbox arrives
August 2014: Recall of more than 20,000 Nov 12-Jul 14 Clios for a potential braking problem
April 2015: Recall of 383 Apr 13-Apr 14 Clios for a potential fuel leak
July 2015: Recall of nearly 50,000 Mar 13-Apr 14 Clios for potential braking issue
November 2015: Specification upgrades – all but entry-level now have DAB radio
November 2015: Special-edition Iconic 25 Nav model added to range
September 2016 Updated Renault Clio with improved interior and new engines goes on sale

Understanding Renault Clio car names 

  • Clio
  • Engine
    0.9 TCe 90 ECO
  • Trim level
    Dynamique Nav
  • Engine
    Renault Clio model names start with the engine size in litres (here it's 0.9). Bigger engines aren't always more powerful - as some smaller engines feature power-boosting turbochargers and produce greater power than bigger ones that don't - so the power output is also included here: 90 horsepower. Turbocharged petrol engines are badged TCe and diesels can be identified by their dCi badge. ECO is the designation Renault gives to the most economical Clios.
  • Trim level
    The amount of standard equipment on your Clio will depend on its trim level. They start at Expression, running through Play and Dynamique Nav to the top level, Dynamique S Nav. Renault has since updated the trim levels on offer, with affordable Play, mid-level Iconic and sporty GT Line versions available on newer Clios.

Renault Clio Engines 

1.2 16v, 0.9 Energy TCe 90, 1.2 Energy TCe 120 (petrol); 1.5 dCi 90, 1.5 dCi 100 (diesel)

If you want to spend as little money as possible on your Clio, you’ll need to go for the 1.2-litre 16v petrol engine. But it’s a bit of a false economy, as it’s much less efficient than the newer small turbocharged engines in the range and also less satisfying to drive. It’ll only manage just over 50mpg in fuel economy terms and takes a lazy 14.5 seconds to get from 0-62mph. Consequently, you have to work the engine hard when accelerating, which further increases how much fuel you'll get through.

We think the 0.9-litre TCe petrol engine is a much better bet. Don’t be fooled by its tiny capacity: it’s a pretty eager performer and well matched to the Clio’s character. If you crave more power there’s a larger and more powerful 1.2-litre TCe petrol that is less economical but usefully quicker.

Diesel drivers are catered for by the familiar 1.5-litre dCi 90 engine. In especially frugal ‘ECO’ form, it's claimed to be capable of up to 88.3mpg, but even the cheaper regular version can top 85mpg if you drive it very gently. It’s as quick as the turbocharged petrol, too, so makes a good choice if you do a lot of motorway driving or regularly exceed 12,000 miles a year.

The facelift brought a second, more powerful diesel engine in the shape of the dCi 110 that’s not much less economical but a little faster. It’s also more powerful at low engine speeds so is more relaxed at cruising speeds and pulls better when the car is heavily loaded. 

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration

top speed

1.2 16v

Petrol

50.4mpg

75hp

0-62mph: 14.5sec

104mph

0.9 Energy TCe 90

Petrol

67.3mpg

90hp

0-62mph: 12.2sec

113mph

1.2 Energy

TCe 120

Petrol

53.3mpg

120bhp

0-62mph: 9.0sec

124mph

1.5 dCi 90

Diesel

85.6 - 88.3mpg

90bhp

0-62mph: 12.0 - 12.9sec

109 - 112mph

1.5dCi 110

Diesel

80.7mpg 108bhp

108bhp

0-62mph: 11.2s

121mph

Renault Clio Trims 

Expression, Play, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Signature Nav

Like most superminis and small family cars, the Clio has a fairly basic entry-level version to tempt buyers in with a low purchase price, called the Clio Expression.

Although it features cruise control, digital radio, Bluetooth hands-free calls, a smartphone-based sat-nav system and a height-adjustable driver’s seat, the Expression has two major drawbacks. Firstly, it’s only available with the basic 1.2-litre petrol engine, which is comparatively inefficient and slow. And secondly, it doesn’t come with air-conditioning (not even as an option), so you’ll get a bit sweaty on a hot summer’s day.

That’s why we prefer the Play, which is about £1,500 more than the Expression (more if you choose one of the better petrol or diesel engines, which we would recommend). For the extra cash, you get air-conditioning, 16in alloy wheels and front foglights.

If you like your in-car toys, you’ll probably want to move up another grade to the Dynamique Nav – a price jump of about £1,000. This has a better stereo system than the Expression and Play with integrated sat-nav, as well as soft-touch dashboard material and a synthetic leather steering wheel, plus gloss-black and chrome exterior trim detailing.

Better equipped again (but rather expensive) is the Dynamique S Nav. On top of all the Dynamique Nav’s kit, it features automatic climate control, a central armrest, rear electric windows, 17-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors and heated power-folding door mirrors.

Finally, there’s the Signature Nav which has a more sophisticated TomTom-based sat-nav system, parking sensors all round with reversing camera, hands-free parking and part-leather seats.

At the end of the Clio's life only Play, Iconic and GT Line models were available, with the former providing low costs and a basic level of equipment, Iconic versions adding a few more toys for a slightly higher price and GT Line gaining a sporty look and feel.

Renault Clio Reliability and warranty 

French cars in general and Renaults in particular used to have a pretty dismal reputation for unreliability, and while things have definitely improved these days, it’s evident that there’s still some room for improvement. This current Clio was rated 114th out of the top 200 cars for reliability by owners in Auto Express magazine’s Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Its build quality result was even less impressive – 145th out of 200. On the plus side, Renault does offer a reasonably long four years or 100,000 miles of warranty cover, so you’re covered for a long time if something does go wrong.

Used Renault Clio 

No two ways about it – the Clio doesn’t hold its value very well on the used market. This is partly due to Renault’s lingering reputation for making somewhat fragile and unreliable cars and partly due to the fact that the Clio isn’t considered as prestigious or desirable as a Volkswagen Polo. While this means that those who purchase a new Clio lose a large proportion of the car's price if they sell it on after a few years, it's great news if you're looking to buy a nearly new or used Clio, as prices are surprisingly low.

There’s definitely value in low-mileage one or two-year-old examples. You can pick up a well-specced Clio for around two-thirds of its original asking price – or close to half if you stretch to a three-year-old car.

They’ll all have some manufacturer warranty cover left, too, thanks to the substantial four-year/100,000-mile limit. Look out for the ‘ECO’ badge (on both petrols and diesels), as these Clios come with special features such as low-resistance tyres and better aerodynamics to improve economy and thus reduce running costs.

Renault Clio Prices

Renault Clio Iconic

1.5 dci 85 iconic 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £15,765

You could save up to: £2530

1.5 dci 85 iconic 5dr [bose]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £16,364

You could save up to: £2631

Renault Clio Play

1.5 dci 85 play 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £14,910

You could save up to: £2385

Renault Clio RS Line

1.5 dci 85 rs line 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £17,048

You could save up to: £2747

1.5 dci 85 rs line 5dr [bose]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £17,347

You could save up to: £2798

1.5 dci 85 rs line 5dr [leather/bose]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £18,031

You could save up to: £2914

1.5 dci 85 rs line 5dr [leather]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £17,732

You could save up to: £2863

Renault Clio S Edition

1.5 dci 85 s edition 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £16,620

You could save up to: £2675

1.5 dci 85 s edition 5dr [bose]

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £16,920

You could save up to: £2725