Renault Clio Review

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Renault Clio Review

David McCowen

2013 Renault Clio

2013 Renault Clio Dynamique

The most important part of the Renault Clio is not how it drives, but how it looks.

But it#8217;s tough to form a quick opinion of its appearance as you may never see the same car twice.

Fashion-conscious city car buyers can fine-tune their car#8217;s appearance by customising#160;a new series of options to tailor their cars both inside and out. And looks count for a lot in the crowded city car segment.

Gloss plastic trim on the steering wheel, air vents and doors can be had in a range of colours, and the colour of the cloth seats can be changed to compliment its duco. The outside can benefit from a splash of colour on the wheels, grille, boot and doors as well as vinyl treatments that can bring a new look.

The result is a car with character in spades, at least on the surface. The colour schemes can make the car resemble a well coordinated catwalk ensemble or bring red wheels and trim that pay tribute to the gaudily decorated Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

But its appeal is more than skin deep, as the Clio feels quite capable on the road and has the potential to give best-selling city cars a run for their money.

It#8217;s not quite a Porsche on the road, though there are desirable elements to its driving character.

The entry-level engine is a turbocharged, three-cylinder, 900cc unit that pushes 66kW and 135 Nm to the front wheels through a five speed manual gearbox.

The little engine has an element of three-cylinder thrum without being as intrusive as similar units in the Volkswagen Up and Suzuki Alto.

It uses stop-start and energy regeneration systems to consume just 4.5L/100km of fuel, and is impressively smooth on the road.

But the little motor lacks grunt and struggles on inclines, meaning drivers will spend plenty of time changing gears.

The three-cylinder model is available in the $16,790 Authentique trim and the $17,790 Expression that brings satellite navigation and the opportunity to customise the car.

Premium models are powered by a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder engine that pushes 88kW and 190Nm through a six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.

The larger unit uses 5.2L/100km of fuel and is more relaxed on the road and not as fussed by inclines compared to its three-cylinder sister.

That engine is available in Expression and Dynamique trim for $19,790 and $23,290 respectively.

Customers can spend an extra $990 on top of the Dyanmique to have Renault#8217;s R-Link system that brings a suite of electronic features to the car including an electronic sound emulator that pumps engine noise through the car#8217;s four speakers.

The fun part is the source of engine noise doesn#8217;t have to come from under the bonnet of your Clio – there are options ranging from tuned V6 motors to a MotoGP bike and unstressed vintage limousines.

It was a hit with my co-driver and I for a full five minutes before we reverted to the system#8217;s iPod function for the rest of our drive.

Renault#8217;s dual-clutch auto is smooth and efficient on the road, though it lacks bite when trying to make a quick getaway.

The Clio feels composed during a spirited drive, with sharp but lifeless steering, fair body control and a ride only upset by the harshest of bumps.

Other jarring elements included uncomfortably hard plastic on the steering wheel and seats that were limited in support and adjustment.

But on the whole, the Clio is a competent little car worthy of consideration for people who want something different from their next hatch.

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