Renault Clio review - updated supermini still a fine choice - Renault Clio engine and gearbox

Chic Renault Clio has verve, but isn’t class-leader

Evo rating
Price
from £11,555
  • Pretty exterior, decent interior, cheap to run
  • Engines can be uninspiring, no three-door or estate versions

There's a fairly decent selection of both petrol and diesel models in the Clio range. Petrol models comprise an entry-level 1.2 16v 75 (with 74bhp and 79lb ft of torque) and two turbocharged petrol engines - the 898cc TCe 90, and the 1.2-litre TCe 120. Those numbers refer to each car's metric horsepower; in good old-fashioned imperial horses you're looking at 89bhp and 118bhp, with 103lb ft of torque at 2500rpm in the former and 151lb ft at 2000rpm in the latter.

The TCe 120 is also available with two transmissions: A six-speed manual and a six-speed Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) automatic. The manual has arrived due to popular demand; previously, the top-end TCe was only available with the EDC. It's all the better with the manual, since the auto's shifts aren't the swiftest and the manual has a nice, light and fairly accurate action, improved upon its predecessor thanks to new carbon synchromesh rings in the 'box itself and new pendulum weights for the linkage.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Neither feels particularly strong however, and we suspect the four-pot might need more miles under its wheels to loosen up a little at the top end. The TCe 90 is manual-only - a five-speeder. Ditto the 1.2 16v, but frankly that one's best left well alone.

Diesel models include the 1.5-litre, four-cylinder dCi 75, dCi 90 and dCi 110. That's 74bhp, 89bhp and 108bhp in old money, with each car's torque peak of 148lb ft, 162lb ft and 192lb ft developed at the same 1750rpm. That gives a clue as to how each car drives, doing its best (read: strongest and quietest) work for a short period after that torque peak.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The dCi 75 gets a five-speed manual. The 90 has a choice of 5-speed manual or 6-speed EDC, and the dCi 110 gets a six-speed manual.

The 1.5 will rev smoothly enough to the red line if you so require but there's little joy to be had in doing so, and regardless of power output the focus here is on easy-going performance and modest speeds. If you fondly remember the large swell of torque that turbodiesels used to produce, this isn't the engine for you. The cabin and controls are well insulated against diesel noise and vibration though.

All models in Dynamic Nav grade and above feature an Eco mode, which reduces engine torque and modifies throttle response for 'optimised efficiency'. In our experience these models make cars pretty turgid to drive.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/used-cars/20402/cheap-fast-cars-2020-the-best-budget-performance-cars-on-the-market
used cars

Cheap fast cars 2020 – the best budget performance cars on the market

The cheap fast car is a wonderful thing, if you buy right and do your research. These are our favourites from £1000 to £10,000
4 Jun 2020
Visit/features/17660/the-best-four-cylinder-engines-ever-we-pick-our-favourites
Features

The best four-cylinder engines ever

We've gathered a selection of our very favourite four-pots ever produced
27 May 2020
Visit/bentley/mulsanne/202688/bentleys-675-litre-v8-engine-is-no-more-we-pay-homage-with-a-classic-road
Bentley Mulsanne

Bentley’s 6.75-litre V8 engine is no more: we pay homage with a classic road trip

After 61 years of service, the end has come for Bentley’s 6.75-litre V8. To mark the occasion, we take one on a road trip from London to Geneva
3 Jun 2020
Visit/chevrolet/202690/c8-chevrolet-corvette-uk-prices-and-specifications-revealedchevrolets-new-mid
Chevrolet

C8 Chevrolet Corvette UK prices and specifications revealed

Chevrolet’s new mid-engined C8 Corvette is an American supercar for less
3 Jun 2020