REVIEW: Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid

If you are over 30 you will probably remember the famous Renault television ads from the nineties where Papa gave Nicole the key to his new Renault Clio. The series of ads were one of the most popular car ads ever seen in these islands.

The Clio has been with us since 1990 and is one of only two cars, the other being the VW Golf, to have been voted European Car of the Year twice. The Clio replaced the Renault 5 and it has sold over 15 million units over the past 30 years and 56,000 of those sales were in Ireland.

Last week I got to drive the E-Tech Hybrid version of the Clio; it looked great and was impressive to drive.

Hybrid is a gentle method of getting us all used to the day when every car sold here will be electric. That might, repeat might happen around 2030, but who knows what can happen in the next nine years.

It’s a self-charging Hybrid and there is no need to charge from an external charge point at any stage. You can get approximately 50km on fully electric mode and if you are based in an urban area Renault say that you should be able to drive in electric mode for up to 80 per cent of your daily commute.

The beauty of Hybrids is that if you don’t have enough electric power, the engine switches automatically to the petrol engine. Who needs all that range anxiety that you get with a fully electric car?  

Our nerves will be frazzled by 2030, unless we have really fast chargers on every street corner and at every gate on those country roads where you might see the grass growing in the middle of the road.

My top of the range test car came in a Quartz White colour and had a chrome- look insert on lower side doors with Clio embossing. The front bumper grille was in glossy black and the 17-inch Viva Stella Diamond Cut Alloys added to the classy look.

Inside the seats colours came in black and grey which looked good. There were cream panels on the inside of the front doors and on the dash which made for a really bright interior.

Like the Renault Captur that I drove two weeks ago the dash is dominated by the massive 9.3-inch touchscreen, which resembles an i-pad, but moves quicker than any i-pad once you touch the screen with your finger. A touch of cream on the inside of the doors and dash makes for a very bright interior.

At first you might think it’s a two-door car as the handles in the rear doors are very discreet. The boot is what you would expect for a supermini, but no room for a spare wheel, just a repair kit.

Prices for the regular Clio start at €17,195, but my automatic test car, which came with lots of extras, would cost you €29,361.

I like it and doubt Papa and Nicole would be impressed with the Hybrid version. Papa might not throw the keys anymore as Renault now have their brilliant Fob which locks and unlocks the doors once the Fob is in your pocket or handbag.

And if you are interested in trivia, Estelle Skornik the actress who played the part of Nicole, will turn 50 on July 4. Papa, alias Max Douchin is 73.