Renault Clio Dynamique TCe 90.

| February 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

 

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Bonjour Nicole.

In the mid nineties, I took a friend to the Motor Show press day at the NEC, ostensibly to see the new cars on offer. I remember looking at an Aston Martin, a Vauxhall Tigra &  chatting with Daley Thompson, but the highlight for my friend was a chance to meet ‘Nicole’ from the Renault Clio adverts who was in Birmingham with ‘Papa’ to promote the Clio. Back then, the Clio was the super mini of choice for young happening things, particularly the Clio Williams, which married Renaults Formula one & Rally Sport pedigree to a small around town car that was fantastic to drive.
Then someone at Renault decided that with the success of it’s people carriers, it would build & sell more  of this type of vehicle & it  launched the Scenic Grand Scenic & then the hideously ugly Modus. The sporty Renaults were still there & now included the Megane, but as we entered the Noughties Renaults all singing all dancing Clio was starting to look dated & was also under attack from all sides as Ford improved its Fiesta, Vauxhall its Corsa & Volkswagen its Polo. Chuck in new cut price models such as the Kia Picanto & Hyundai i20 & Renault who had by now got rid of pretty much all of their UK model range was in trouble. With no Laguna, no Espace & a move towards EV motoring which still hasn’t born fruit, both the UK car buying public & the Renault UK dealer network were in desperate need of a new Renault model & in 2013, their prayers were answered  when the new Clio was launched, along with a couple of Dacias.
Renaults new design chief Laurens van den Acker has clearly imagined the Clio as a car whose looks will define it. On first site, even the lower specced models look like the Clio Motor Sports of old, all bulging wheel arches & sucked in sills, with a dominantly engorged Renault diamond at the front. Only available as 5 door, the new Clio is none the worse for that looks wise & when compared to the new Dacia Sandero is light years ahead in every minute detail.
Inside, the cabin is finished off in quality shiny black plastic with a nice tablet screen media system slap bang in the centre. Mr van den Ackers must have been a fan of the film Wall E as the speedo & rev counter look, well like Wall E’s eyes. The rest of the interior is a mixture of black & chrome & will appeal to the attention span of your average mobile phone or i Pad using twenty something. The seats are attractive to look at & very comfortable & the overall impression inside as well as outside the Clio, is of a ‘sporty’ nature.
Start the engine up though & this petrol versions 898 cc engine doesn’t quite roar into life, after all small cars must cost little to run nowadays & fuel economy not fun is King. Perhaps I’m being too harsh. The engine is livened somewhat by a turbo charger & around town its nippy & engaging. On the motorway it gets there but not that quickly as this is first & foremost a city car. It’s 0-62 mph time is 11.8 seconds but it’s the mid range where it struggles.
The Clio keeps the French tradition of a soft suspension & rides well over humps & bumps much better than I had expected. The rear seat space & boot are a good size & aren’t compromised too much by the Clios obvious sporting pedigree in the looks department. For accountants & company car drivers the good news is low emissions of 99g/km & a combined fuel economy of 65.7 mpg. This is definitely a Clio for the thrifty !
If the new Clio is the beginning of how Renaults new car range is going to be, the next five years will definitely be an improvement on the past five as far as UK Renault sales go. In a similar vein to Peugeot & Citroen, Renault have finally caught up with the opposition & in many ways with the Clio gone past some as well. All they need to cement their success is a new TV advert Nicole, one who perhaps is older & wiser than her years, cares more for the enviroment than her boyfriend & who will be at the next UK Motor Show where we can visit her again.
Like the Housewives of Beverly Hills, the Clio is back from the surgeons & looks better than ever. 4/5

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Category: Renault

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