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First Driving Impressions Renault Clio, UK Press Event, The Cotswolds.

in Motoring Insight

The Clio has been a huge success for Renault, selling over 15 million globally since its launch in 1990, surprisingly there have only been four models in 30 years, so why make changes when it is selling so well. But now the 5th Generation has arrived, and we drove it in the Cotswolds.

As you get in the car, you can instantly see and feel the much improved plastic and trim, and a whole new design. There is more space and the front seats are 26mm thinner which give more rear legroom. The interior now looks and feels more premium, there is more soft-touch plastic and materials. The cars we drove had the optional Smart-Cockpit which features both a 9.3-inch multimedia screen and a 10-inch TFT instrument cluster.

Just about everything in the interior of the new Clio faces towards the driver, including the centre console, which does make the passenger feel a bit left out, they will say to the driver, ‘its all about you’…… the interior certainly represents a Revolution.

The first car we drove was the second car in the range, the Iconic and was powered by the TCe 100 3-cylinder petrol engine and coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox. I did not realise while driving the 100hp car that it was actually a 3-cyliner engine, it certainly didn’t sound like one, or drive like one. It is fairly quick and goes from 0-62mph in 11.8 seconds. It has a combined fuel consumption figure of 54.3 mpg and has stop-start as standard and a C02 OF 99g/km.

This new MK5 Clio is shorter by 12mm, but is 66mm wider and is slightly lower, but despite it being that tiny-bit shorter, there is more interior space that the MK4. The boot size has also increased from 330-litre to 391-litre, and a different shaped rear door helps loading and unloading much easier.

The second car we drove around The Cotswolds was the R.S Line fitted with the TCe 130 and coupled to the EDC Automatic gearbox, and a smooth gearbox it is too. This 4-cylinder engine produces, as you would guess, 130hp, goes from 0-62mph in 9.0-seconds and has a combined fuel consumption figure of 49.6mpg. As we tootled around the lovely and scenic parts of Gloucestershire it was comfortable and effortless.

The models in the range are: PLAY –  starting from £14,295 OTR, ICONIC starting from £15,295 OTR, S EDITION starting from £17,295 OTR and R.S LINE priced from £17,795 OTR.

The exterior has not really changed much, as it retains the familiar profile of the MK4, but the MK5 has now got a bonnet with sculptured ribs, the grille is larger, and has some subtle chrome embellishment. The front bumper is more pronounced, and a different central air scoop that enhances the cars lines, but also helps the engine cooling. The roof now has ‘Shark-Fin’ antenna and the ‘hidden’ rear door handles remain in the C-Pillar. But the most noticeable feature are the new lights, especially the front LED which now have the Renault ‘C-Shaped’ daytime running lights. The exterior is more of an Evolution.

But it is underneath the car, and the bit you can’t see that has changed the most, as it gets a brand-new platform. Renaults new CMF-B (Common Module Family B-Segment) modular platform was developed at the Technocentre in Guyancourt. This new Clio structure and mechanicals are new compared to the previous generation Clio.

This new platform adds improved safety, efficiency, refinement and technology integration. It also improves soundproofing and insulation. The windscreen is also new and this has been treated with sound insulation to reduce wind and engine noise.

Joining the line-up in 2020 is the E-TECH with full hybrid powertrain which is a first for the Clio. This system will use a new-generation 1.6-litre petrol engine that’s mated to an innovative multi-mode gearbox and a pair of electric motors that are powered by a 1.2kWh Lithium Ion battery. This system limits energy waste and has quick regenerative battery charging. 

In terms of technology, engines, safety, platform and dynamics, and the interior this 5TH Generation Clio is a huge step forward and is clearly a Revolution, but the Exterior is really little changed, and is merely a facelift, and this is clearly an Evolution.

But the Clio will still continue to be a popular small hatch, liked by both new and used car buyers.

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