The engines all offer decent if not great performance and each one barring the entry-level petrol are smooth and hushed about town. Our top pick of the petrol engines is a small 0.9-litre unit that is responsive in city traffic, and makes overtaking look simple. On the motorway, though, it will become a bit of a noisy old thing.
The 1.5-litre diesel offers just as much power as the 0.9-litre petrol – 89bhp. But while the petrol is at home in the city, this diesel is better suited on the motorway, where it can offer a relaxing driving experience. Whichever engine you choose, the car is easy to drive, the steering is light, and the suspension does a good job at absorbing lumps and bumps.
One of the Clio’s strengths is its low running costs. It’s one of the biggest cars in this class, but it’s managed to be bigger and lighter than its predecessor. So although it won’t hold onto its value too well, it will be cheap to run. The 1.5-litre diesel is can achieve fuel economy returns as high as 88.3mpg, while the tiny 0.9-litre petrol is good for 61.4mpg.
The Clio’s interior feels grown-up at last. It’s comfortable and quiet, and everything is as you’d want it to be – the seats are mounted high for good visibility, while there are more soft-touch plastics than ever before. There are criticisms, such as scratchy plastics in noticeable places, such as the centre console, but overall this is a good effort from Renault.
The Clio is only modestly practical, despite its size and the fact that the three-door model has been dropped. Space in the rear is still at a premium, while headroom all around is not fantastic thanks to a sloping roofline. As expected in a hatchback, there are plenty of storage spaces to be found, but the glovebox is small. The 300-litre boot, however, is one of the biggest in the class.
Peugeot – £12,300 – £19,000
Renault – £11,500 – £18,400