First DriveFirst taste of reskinned Clio on UK roads reveals a car that's certainly no worse than before but not considerably better
First DriveThe popular Renault Clio receives a mid-life facelift and the option of a new 108bhp diesel engine. There’s plenty of punch, but it’s pricey in this guise
What is it?
A Clio five-door with an extra 216mm of rear overhang. It’s built in Renault’s Bursa, Turkey, factory in which it also makes the Clio saloon.
The larger Laguna gains a bit of badly needed flair from the estate treatment, but there’s less effect on the Clio. It’s not an ugly car but neither is the original mix spiced up much by the additional bodywork.
Sport Tourer is more about added practicality, with a very useful extra 50 per cent load carrying ability. With exactly the same wheelbase, only slight tweaks to stiffen damping and springs, plus an extra millimetre on the anti-roll bar, we can expect this more spacious Clio to drive more or less like the five-door hatch. We drove a version fitted with Renault’s 106bhp 1.50litre dCi turbodiesel.
What's it like?
Predictably very much like a Clio five-door. The turbodiesel is a known quantity and a sound unit. However, the Sport Tourer will also be available with the 1.2-litre TCE turbocharged petrol engine which, although it isn’t as economical, is a sweeter engine.
But it’s practicality that is the real criteria here, not subtle dynamic differences between estate and hatchback. The Sport Tourer has 439-litres of luggage space compared to 151-litres in the hatchback. The rear seats fold 60/40 to give an even bigger 1277-litres of space or, with the smaller of the two rear seats folded you can fit ‘leisure equipment’ up to 1450mm long in the back.
The seats fold down easily without the need to remove the headrests or any fingernails. The rear bumper is shaped so that the load height is kept to a minimum (581mm). The floor has a removable section that can be taken out to give more space or kept in so that it forms a flat load surface.
Underneath the removable floor panel there are cut outs at each inner wheelarch liner which the ends of the luggage blind slip into so you have somewhere neat to stash it when it isn’t being used. Simple, but clever, and never again would I leave the blind in Tesco’s car park.
Should I buy one?
The Clio Sport Tourer is very much a niche product. Or it will be in the UK. In other markets (France for example) cars like this, and Peugeot’s 207 SW, are very popular.
So if the dimensions fit your size requirements exactly then a Clio Sport Tourer will be a good buy. Many looking for an estate car may choose instead to go for a slightly bigger car altogether though. Like a Megane. And if you do regularly have large loads to carry, that would be understandable.