Renault took the covers off its next-generation Clio hatchback at the Geneva Motor Show last month, and now the critics have been behind the wheel to see how it stacks up against its predecessor.
The current four-generation Clio is the French carmaker’s top-selling model, with sales growing every year since its launch in 2012, says Autocar. In fact, the hatchback is the second-bestselling car in Europe, behind the Volkswagen Golf.
Despite such popularity, Renault has opted to redesign the new Clio from the ground up, to incorporate a sleeker design and a sportier, more tech-filled cabin.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
The front of the car now features the same aggressive headlight design and vertical daytime-running LEDs as those on the company’s latest Megane hatchback and Koleos SUV.
The changes to the side profile of the new Clio are less obvious, but closer inspection reveals more muscular rear wheel arches than on the previous car, while the black trim piece above the side skirts is thinner and finished in chrome.
Meanwhile, the rear end boasts a sleeker look, with slimmer tail-lights and a wider tailgate.
The new model is also a bit more dinky than the outgoing version, Evo reports. The fifth-generation car sits 30mm lower and is 14mm shorter, giving it a sportier look and a smaller footprint on the road.
The cabin has been given a thorough makeover, too. Buyers now get a digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel, along with a touchscreen perched atop the centre console, notes the Daily Express.
Here’s what else you need to know about the next-generation Clio:
When will the new Clio launch?
Orders for the new Clio will open October, with deliveries due to get underway before the year is out.
How much will it cost?
CarBuyer expects the Clio to cost around £14,000, with Renault likely to confirm pricing in the coming months.
Although the new Clio doesn’t go on sale until October, a select few were given the chance to test drive a prototype version of the French hatchback.
According to Auto Express, the new Clio feels “more sophisticated” than the outgoing model. The steering “responds crisply” to driver inputs, while the seven-speed automatic transmission and 1.3-litre engine “work smoothly” together.
“We’re less impressed with the shift paddles behind the steering wheel”, the motoring magazine says. They feel “nasty” to the touch, but there’s still time for Renault to rectify the build quality on the final car.
Paddle quality aside, the Irish Times says the new model’s cabin is “much better crafted than what went before under the Clio badge.” The old car’s “hard plastics” have been replaced with better quality materials. These give the hatchback’s interior a more premium feel.
While the paper concedes it will have a better sense of the car’s “on-road ability” when it launches later this year, the early signs suggest the new Clio is built to a higher standard – and handles better – than Renault’s current entry-level hatchback.
What cabin tech is offered?
Renault has continued the trend of swapping buttons and dials for touchscreen panels on the new Clio.
Above the centre console sits a 9.3in screen that is used to control the infotainment system and volume controls, says CarBuyer.
This is joined by a second screen behind the steering wheel that replaces the conventional analogue dials with a digital instrument panel. There’s also a wireless charging pad for smartphones near the gear level.
However, unlike many new cars, the Clio still boasts a few analogue controls. These are primarily used for the air conditioning system and driver modes.
Will it go electric?
Sort of. Autocar claims that a hybrid version will join the line-up in 2020. This will be powered by an 89bhp petrol engine paired to a 40bhp electric motor and 1.2kWh battery.
There will also be a mix of non-electrified engines: a naturally-aspirated 1.0-litre petrol engine in 65bhp and 75bhp forms, a 1.0-litre turbo with outputs of 99bhp and 129bhp, plus a 1.5-litre diesel available with either 84bhp or 114bhp.
But Renault is unlikely to introduce a fully electric Clio, as the company already has an EV city car in the form of the Zoe, adds Auto Express.
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.