Rear exterior shot of the Renault Clio

Renault Clio review (2019-2023)

The Clio is a stylish and sophisticated supermini with an interior that gives you decent space and useful tech features. It’s good to drive, reliable and affordable to own.

Pros

  • Great design
  • Good to drive
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • Some rivals have more space
  • Least powerful models are a bit slow
  • Some desirable features are optional

Summary

“The Renault Clio is a chic compact hatchback with a stylish interior and great levels of equipment.”

The Renault Clio is a chic compact hatchback with a stylish interior and great levels of equipment. It feels sophisticated for a small car and ownership costs are reasonable thanks to some very efficient engines.

The Clio is good to drive, being just as at home on the motorway as it is nipping through crowded city streets. There are versions to suit a wide range of budgets and needs, from low-cost runarounds to more luxurious and sporty models. All come with a high level of equipment and a strong safety record.

We're looking here at the version of the Clio introduced in 2019. A refresh in 2023 gave it an even more modern new look and trimmed the engine range to hybrid-only. Easy on both the eye and the bank balance, the Clio is a great all-round choice.

What's the interior like?

“The Clio’s interior has a premium look and feel.”

Thanks to its smart design and high-quality materials, the Clio’s interior has a premium look and feel. The dashboard is clearly laid out and easy to use, with a large user-friendly touchscreen infotainment display. All versions have lots of equipment, such as air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity.

A wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment means it’s easy to get comfortable. Interior space is about average for a supermini, so four adults will fit fine but they won’t have as much wiggle room as they’d get in a Honda Jazz or Skoda Fabia.

The boot is big for this type of car, although it's at its biggest in the petrol-powered models – hybrid models have a smaller boot because of the space taken up by their batteries.

What's it like to drive?

“The Renault Clio balances a nimble feel with good comfort.”

The Renault Clio is a decent car to drive, balancing a nimble feel with good comfort. Light steering makes it undemanding and helps you to comfortably squeeze through tight spaces in town. Soft suspension and well-shaped seats help to make it a decent long-distance cruiser. It's not quite as engaging as a Ford Fiesta, or quite a classy feeling as a Volkswagen Polo, but it's a good middle ground.

The engines provide good performance although you need to rev the lowest-powered petrol quite hard. The diesel is best avoided unless you cover really serious miles, and you're not likely to find loads of them on the used market. The hybrid E-Tech model, meanwhile, will get you the best fuel economy but also cost you the most to buy.

This latest version of the Clio has done away with the sportier models that you'll find in earlier cars, so none of the range have blistering performance, but there are several options that have more than enough oomph for everyday driving.

The gearshift in manual versions is easy enough but there’s also an automatic model that takes the strain out of driving in traffic.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The Clio is particularly keenly priced and inexpensive to run.”

The Clio is a great-value used buy compared with rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208. It’s particularly keenly priced and inexpensive to run thanks to efficient engines that give low fuel and tax costs. Insurance groupings are low too.

The hybrid E-Tech models give you the most miles to the gallon, although the diesel models are very close behind, according to official figures. Most petrol versions have an official average of over 50mpg, which is still very impressive.

An easier way to find or sell a car

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Which one is best for you?

The Clio comes well equipped as standard, although it’s generally worth going for one level up from the most basic trim if you can afford it, since the early entry-level cars in particular miss out on a few of the more desirable features.

Despite being a small, affordable car the Clio is available with a range of high-tech features that you might think were reserved for bigger cars. Look out for options such as LED headlights, a Bose audio system, reversing camera and a ‘panoramic’ glass sunroof. None of these are deal-breakers, but they increase the Clio’s already strong feel-good factors.

When it comes to engines, the hybrid is great if your budget stretches to it, otherwise we'd stick with one of the small, efficient petrol models.

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