REVIEW: Renault Clio

By Seán Creedon

I’m sure most of you will remember the 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 Britain and Ireland. Indeed I know of some young ladies, who got their Christian name from that famous ad and they have no complaints.

The Renault 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. Now we have got Mark V of the Clio and naturally it has some improvements from the previous edition.

Clio can boast of impressive sales of one a minute for the past 30 years. This year Renault expect to sell around 2,000 units of their five-door Clio in Ireland.

Colour is really important when buying a new car and my test model came in a bright orange colour which meant there was no problem finding it in the supermarket car park. The official colour was ‘Valencia Orange.’

I love the key fobs that Renault now supply. In the old days we had a system with which you started the car by putting the key in the ignition. Then along came a system whereby the car will start once the key is in your pocket or handbag.

However, with Renault you need never wonder where your key fob is. Just leave it in your pocket or handbag; the car will automatically unlock as you approach it and then it will automatically lock when turn off the engine and walk away from the car. Brilliant.

This new version naturally has a few tweaks and improvements front and back. It’s based on a brand-new platform, has new suspension and has a completely new and upmarket interior.

I would give the infotainment-screen on the dash nine out of ten as I could easily find the volume for the radio, but the radio stations kept ‘disappearing.’ However, iPhone connectively was great and I was able to play music from YouTube rather than listen to boring political debates.

I liked the old-fashioned style handbrake. With an old style handbrake you are not wondering if it has engaged and do you need to press the button to release when you want to drive off. You simply press the old fashioned button and release the hand-brake like we did when we were young!

There is a decent boot space and the good news is that underneath there is a spare wheel, not a repair kit. Mind you it took me a little while to find the button to release the boot door.

The release button used to be embedded in the Renault logo on the boot, but now the release button is underneath and if the weather is wet you may get your fingers dirty opening it. But that I think that’s a small price to pay for something that now works very well.

I found the 1.0-litre Clio very lively, especially around town. Prices start at £17,195, but my top of the range test model will cost you €22,065. Its main rivals are the Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.

But as Paddy Magee MD of Renault Ireland said recently it’s good to see manufacturers competing with one another for sales.