24.10.2012 Renault Clio 1.5 dCi Dynamique review
One of those cars that's so good at everything you ask of it that you wonder why, unless you have a big family, you would need anything bigger or more expensive for every day motoring. Looks good too.
The cabin is a major step forward in quality and comfort; the computer tablet brings in-car connectivity with ease. Forthcoming ECO versions with different electronic settings for engine and so aerodynamic tweaks will drop CO2 emissions to the level of a hybrid which is a major achievement.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
Renault’s engineers have done a good job of improving the efficiency of the familiar turbocharged 1461cc, four-cylinder common rail diesel engine. It now delivers real punch from low revs and, lightly laden at least, feels quicker than the official 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds. Max power is 89bhp at 4,000rpm. Max torque 162 lbs ft at 1,750rpm. Most of the time the engine is so quiet you would almost think it was a petrol engine. There’s a good spread of torque so a five-speed gearbox is perfectly adequate without the need for the extra cost (and weight) of six-speeder. Motorway cruising is peaceful and easy. Given the space the car will reach 112mph.
Renault is a past master at making small cars handle and Clio 4 is no exception. It always feels light, alive and on its toes, with the power assistance that makes parking easy decaying as road speed increases. Though bigger than Clio 3, the new Clio manages to be a useful 100kg lighter. That benefits handling Even streaming wet roads can be tackled with confidence. With considerably less weight on the front wheels, the 0.9 litre turbocharged petrol versions are even more agile than versions with a heavy diesel engine. Despite quite firm suspension pot holes don’t upset the Clio’s cornering stance but transverse ridges across the road are felt quite badly.
At a glance the new Clio looks a three-door but all models are five doors with the rear handles disguised. Most people seem to like the looks of the new Renault Clio though the need to emphasise brand identity means there’s no subtly at the front and, presumably in the cause of pedestrian safety, the nose is very long. Some may find black and chrome trim under the doors automotive sticking plasters which rather gild the lily. The new Clio is wider, longer and lower and quite difficult to see out of. The windscreen pillars are very wide and rear vision is also hampered by wide rear roof pillars and the way the back of the car narrows. The back window is small and there are big head restraints to look past. Length 4062mm. Width 1506mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Some superminis aren’t the most comfortable cars if you are tall but the Clio has a good range of steering column and seat adjustment and, on these left hand drive versions at least, a drive of 120 miles wasn’t an issue. The seats were supportive without being too hard.
Connectivity is the buzz with car makers these days so the Clio sports a computer tablet style central display with lots of functions available at a touch which does away with lots of buttons and switches. New R-Link system lets you download apps for a huge variety of functions. Everything else is pretty much as you would like – you even get a proper handbrake not a flawed electronic one.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The official laboratory test results look impressive with 70mpg on the urban test and a combined figure of 83mpg. Obviously you aren’t going to get those figures which are just to form a common ground for comparison with other cars. The on-board computer showed our car averaged 58.8mpg but that was in torrential rain and at times on a very twisty road. This would mean your real-world fuel costs would be in the region of 10-12 p/mile for average driving.
Good aerodynamics, less weight (around 100kg), lower friction engines, low inertia turbocharger, quick response automatic stop-restart engine system, change up a gear warning light all do their bit to save fuel and reduce emissions – so much so that official test CO2 emissions compared to the previous car/engine have been reduced by 16g/km to 90g/km. Next year there will be an 'ECO' version of the engine with the same power and torque, but with claimed combined overall mpg figures of 88mpg and 83g/km of CO2. Insurance is group 13. Warranty is four years/ 100,000 miles.
For the UK the Clio comes in four trim levels (six in France). Standard equipment includes a mass of airbags, keyless entry and engine start, electric front windows and mirrors, Bluetooth radio with USB port, electronic stability control and traction control, hill start assist, height and reach adjustable steering column, folding front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, cruise control, daytime running lights and touch screen MediaNav system with navigation on Dynamique MediaNav models and above. Options include various exterior decals, interior packs, panoramic glass sunroof (£350), centre armrest and climate control (£260) metallic paint (£460) and rear parking camera (£350). The R-Link system to download apps with voice recognition, email access (when stationary), photo and video viewer etc costs £450.
Model tested: Renault Clio dCi 90 Dynamique MediaNav
Body-style: Five-door supermini
Engine/CO2: 89bhp, 1461cc 4-cyl turbodiesel / 90g/km
Trim grades: Expression, Expression+, Dynamique S, Dynamique S MediaNav
On-road price: Range from £10,595 Test car £15,095
Warranty: Four years/ 100,000 miles
In the showroom: Available February 2013
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
Click here for more info about models in this range »
Post a commentReturn to top
blog comments powered by Disqus