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Renault Clio (05 - 12)
Full Road Test
The Clio has always been a very popular supermini, with a mid-life facelift helping to sharpen the case of the current generation in the face of tough competition from newer rivals.
The revised front-end design has been inspired by the look of the larger Megane and Laguna, although the Clio carries off the new headlight treatment better than either of its bigger sisters. The cabin is still spacious by supermini standards, with enough room for four adults to travel in reasonable comfort and a decent-sized boot. Only more expensive versions get the classier-feeling soft-touch materials in the cabin, though. Buyers can also opt for an integrated TomTom satnav that's considerably cheaper than traditional manufacturer-fitted systems.
On the road the Clio puts in an impressively mature performance. Basic versions aren't the most involving drive thanks to light steering, but the Clio is a quiet, composed cruiser that's capable of taking everything from the urban trundle to long motorway journeys in its stride.
The basic 1.2 litre petrol engine lacks much in the way of urge, but the more powerful 1.2 litre petrol turbo has plenty of punch and also returns better fuel economy. Two 1.5 litre 'dCi' diesel engines are available, with 86 bhp and 106 bhp, with both offering strong performance and respectable economy.
At the top of the range, Renault offers two performance derivatives. The 'warm' Clio GT uses a 128 bhp 1.6 litre petrol engine to deliver respectable urge, while the range-topping Renaultsport 200 is the hottest supermini on the block - especially with the firmer 'Cup' suspension settings.