Renault Clio Energy TCe 90 S&S (Eco variant)

Nice, but Renault may have a rival for Nicole's affections

Price: from £13,245 (Clio range from £10,595)
Engine capacity: 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo-charged petrol
Power output (PS @ rpm): 90 @ 5,000
Top speed (mph): 115
0-62 (mph): 11.8
Fuel economy (mpg): 65.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 99

The Clio has always been an important car for Renault in the UK. The first-generation model burst on to the market with a big advertising campaign that burnt its way into the brains of all who saw it, and even 20 years on, the mere mention of the words "Papa" or "Nicole" is enough to evoke memories of the 1991 car. Now, at this month's Paris Motor Show, Renault has given the new fourth-generation version of the Clio a big launch, too.

So is the fuss justified? Up to a point, yes. The latest Clio is a stylish thing, bigger and plusher than before. There's no three-door version any more, but the five-door looks like a three-door because it has concealed rear door handles. On a like-for-like basis, the new car is cheaper too, as prices are lower than those for the old five-door. One impressive development; the new Clio weighs up to 100kg less, a handy response to a close rival, the new Peugeot 208, which is also much lighter than its predecessor.

Under the bonnet, there's a tiny new three-cylinder petrol engine – they're very popular these days – as well as some decent carried over power units, including a reworked 1.5 diesel. And inside, from next year, there will be R-Link – on paper at least, one of the most ambitious efforts yet at integration between smartphones and a car's systems.

On the road, the Clio is smooth and quiet, and the three-cylinder engine is appealing too. It needed to be worked a bit on the Italian mountain roads on which I tested the car, which was fun but probably not great for fuel consumption – although in ECO economy trim, the three scores a very impressive 65.7 mpg and 99g/km in official tests.

But let's return to that big Renault Paris Motor Show stand that put the Clio centre stage. It was flanked by two others that show why this new car isn't quite as important to the company's fortunes as it might once have been. To the right, the stand of Renault's strategic-alliance partner Nissan; the two companies increasingly pool technology so it's the sales performance of their so-called B platform, which the Clio shares with some 20 other models, that's important for economies of scale – not just the sales of the Clio alone.

And to the left, the stand of Renault's Romanian budget brand, Dacia. Dacias haven't previously been seen in Britain but they will arrive here in January. Dealers, hit by a recent pruning of the Renault range in the UK that has dispensed with the Wind, the Laguna and the Espace, can hardly wait to get their hands on them. One of the first Dacias to go on sale here will be a smallish five-door hatchback, more conservatively styled than the Clio, but a lot cheaper too – it's called the Sandero. That means the biggest threat to the Clio's success may come not from Peugeot, Volkswagen, Kia and the rest, but from a car most UK buyers haven't even heard of yet that will be sold from the same showrooms – and I'm sure Renault will be very pleased to sell you either of them.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea