Currently reading: Our favourite cars of 2023: Renault Clio TCe 90
Mark Tisshaw reckons the pure-petrol Renault Clio is the best bargain out there right now

The Ford Fiesta has gone off sale but long-term rival the Renault Clio is carrying on, despite a new range of similar-sized Renault EVs soon to join it in the showroom.

Renault is continuing to develop the Clio too. The firm recognises the need to serve the part of its customer base that is unable or unready to go electric and keep an affordable, accessible small car on offer with no fixed deadline for its demise.

Recently, it has launched a facelifted Clio, an update initially planned to make the supermini hybrid-only with an automatic gearbox, but Renault has gone further and done something that has become a quiet trend of 2023: reintroduced a pure-petrol version with a manual gearbox. Jeep and Citroën have done similar by adding petrol versions of the Avenger and C4 X to lower the price of cars originally planned as EVs only.

The sole purpose of Renault’s decision is to ensure the Clio can be as affordable and as accessible as possible and the TCe 90 Evolution model is a chunky £3500 cheaper than the hybrid, at £17,795.

Put a 35% deposit down and you can even have one with 0% APR, with tiny monthly payments thanks to the high residual value. Dealers are giving discounts of up to 5% as well.

Renault Clio driving – side

This Clio’s 1.0-litre triple is turbocharged and equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox. The only option is colour and it’s already a very well-equipped car, with electric everything, rear parking sensors and an infotainment that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

To show how good value that Clio is, the cheapest Fiesta on the most recent price list was £19,350 and that was for the old 1.1-litre normally aspirated triple with a five-speed manual in basic Trend trim.

The Clio remains a fabulous small car to drive, mixing fun handling with big-car long-distance refinement and comfort. The interior is a lovely place to be and the boot is a good size. So many boxes are ticked.

Such cars of the Clio’s ilk are now an endangered species. That Renault is carrying on making them and for the right reasons is to be celebrated.

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Enjoy it while you still can, but rest assured that Renault’s moral compass ensures this particular Clio isn’t going anywhere for a while yet.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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