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?
This is the new Clio Sport Tourer, the latest addition to the Clio range.
Considering this is car is classed as an estate, the Sport Tourer is very compact indeed. It’s just 4.2m long (and sitting on the same 2.5m wheelbase as the Clio hatch) but the extra metalwork means the boot space jumps from 288 litres (in the Clio hatchback) to 439 litres, a handy 50 percent more.
The Tourer is built in Turkey and is related to the Clio saloon (the longer rear overhang of the four door was handy when creating a mini-estate) which isn’t sold in the UK.
What's it like?
The days when French superminis were created for willowy French women with size three feet are, fortunately, at an end – even full-sized Brits have no difficulty getting comfortable. The cabin is nicely finished and designed, too, with quality surface treatments.
That more upmarket treatment is reflected in the easy-going chassis tuning. Rather than the edgy, sparkiness you might traditionally associate with small cars, the Tourer encourages gentle, relaxed progress.
While it’s is not a car that encourages the driver to get a move on, it is remarkable handy in the confines of car parks and city streets.
The 86bhp 1.5-litre diesel is very quiet, but with only 600 miles under the wheels, performance felt no more than adequate. It was happy, though, to hum along with the flow of traffic. In-town consumption might even reach 50mpg.
Dynamique spec includes climate control, auto lights and wipers, cruise control, 15-inch alloys and six airbags.
Should I buy one?
This is a neat car that will appeal to those who want a quality interior ambiance and ultra-low running costs. But it’s something of a halfway house solution if you want a really handy load carrier.
Bigger rivals like the excellent Hyundai i30 1.6 diesel estate are priced too close to this range-topping Clio wagon for comfort. We think the Clio estate’s simple charms will make more sense lower down the range.