During my visit to the Geneva Motor Show a few months back, I defined the Renault stand as being the most original with a sense of outdoor and well being attitude, the cars where illustrated in such a way giving a sense of being out in the countryside, illustrating space and a sense of good feeling. Here we were no where close of having electric or hybrid cars, yet Renault with their new models is constantly striving to lower even further their Co2 emissions coupled up by refined engines and some excellent aerodynamics not sacrificing looks.
A few days ago I gladly re introduced myself to the same feeling Renault has projected in Geneve by taking out the fourth generation Clio for a drive. We are already nearing summer, the country side is already going mono colour yet the French blue Clio was a sense of inspiration. First glance, the Clio has moved from a conventional shape to a more sporty appearance, the large Renault logo splits up the front part of the car with a top line hosting daylight lights, the line continues along the main front lights with the side wheel arches toned up to give a more sporty and dynamic appearance. It seems that front architecture propose by Renault concept DeZir looks destined to Renault’s front branding. Many have refered this to the Renault Megane Coupe which seem to have been inspired from , yet the Clio is so compact in shape development that the car takes you by surprise. A rear door handle forming part of the door window giving the impression of a two door. Interesting is the lower part of the side doors which has the lower rubber buffer being integrated with the lower edge of the doors, gone are the worries of hitting the lower part of the door against high pavements or scratching the lower panel of the door panel. Definitely already a plus sign when it comes to protection, interesting are these rubber side protectors which seem to follow higher along the side. Interesting that the Clio is very rhythmic in design with a on horizontal flow design. The front bonnet comes with two automatic struts normally reserved to much more expensive models, the rear hatchback does lift rather high facilitates loading into the adequately size luggage boot yet pay attention to the high inclination of the rear panel. The side doors open well, the rear sits three quite comfortable with adequate leg room, the model tested was well equipped including electric windows all around. Seating positing is good, instrumentation is clearly displayed with a rev counter and a fuel gauge with a digital number speedometer in the front, the trip counter and odometer are a bit small for my liking. The steering wheel ‘s stalks all the necessary equipment plus radio controls, the only switches on the lower dashboard are the Start/Stop button as the Renault Clio comes with key less entry, the air conditioner, blower and heated windows. Above, on the central console is a tablet screen which houses all that is requested from the car, audio, on board computer and sat nav should this be included. It is all touch screen and clearly illustrated with a black piano effect that continues even on the steering wheel giving dual feeling of leather and high gloss black panel when driving.
Now it is off to driving, being a diesel engine, the car is well protected from noise, noticeably realizing that the car is driven by a diesel powerplant is when you accelerate, however the torque response is incredible considering the engine size at 1465cc delivering 90bhp. The car was never sluggish even attacking the steep hill heading towards Mdina. The car is real fun to drive, steering is firm not so light, braking quite directional yet would have preferred a stiffer feel, turning circle is good with the central pillars never obstructing you vision when taking tight turns. Rear vision considering the size of the car is good, adequately accommodated by the outside mirrors however interesting, definitely giving it a bit of attention is the rather small inside rear mirror. I sort of gave the mirror a second look but soon realized that the mirror is adequately sized which gives the driver the exact view between the rear seat head rests. No point in having a large rear mirror which will obstruct forward visibility. Fuel Economy is at it maximum which even excels more when the eco button is switched on. Consumption can be as low as 3.2 litres/100Km, coupled up with a low 90g/km. Considering the three engine configuration,898cc /3 cylinder, 1149cc/4 cylinder and 1461cc/4 cylinder , I would definitely go for the latter diesel version, yes might be a slightly more on the engine noise resonance but the torque is definitely there, weight to speed ratio is excellent and cornering plus maybe a stiffer brake pedal will definitely tick all the boxes. Exterior body and interior definitely highly recommended. Starting price for the basic model is €12,700.