From £10,8558

Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

Before downsizing fever gripped the masses, assessing the Clio’s comparative value would simply involved sticking a moistened thumb in the air, finding the range starting point, and then jabbing it into the trim level above for a barometer reading. 

Buyers expect a serious bit of ritz from their superminis now, and, with many of them parachuting down into the segment from hatchbacks above, they’re prepared to pay for it.

Renault has shaved a decent amount of weight off the Clio

Consequently, the Dynamique Nav is likely prove the most popular option, and that puts it in good stead with the class-leading Fiesta, as a similarly well equipped Titanium model (with five doors and optional sat-nav) costs notably more.

However, in the Ford’s favour, its headlining three-pot petrol engine is head and shoulders above Renault’s, and it qualifies for tax-free status even in its lustier 99bhp guise. Renault’s TCe 90-powered car does not, ensuring that HM Government continues to take a modest cut. That’s a real shame, because the TCe 90 is a sweet and well put together engine, providing plenty of power when it’s needed and settling down to a quiet ride when it’s not. 

If you would like to drive into London without making a contribution, the manufacturer will relieve you of a small premium for an ECO variant, which will involve low rolling resistance tyres, bespoke gear ratios and a compassionate throttle map. In our view, it’s worth the extra money to improve what is otherwise a slightly lazy throttle response.

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Equally, if you’d like to enjoy the expanded features of Renault’s new internet-enriched R-link system (including the superior TomTom sat-nav), that will be an additional chunk of change. Still well south of the Blue Oval’s price list perhaps, but now near enough to talk a dealer onto a level playing field.

The potential for such nose-in-front style haggling between two clear frontrunners should be music to the ears of anyone about to descend into the fashionable supermini fray.