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Renault Clio Eco2 1.5 dCi 86 3-dr Extreme AC road test report

Eco2 1.5 dCi 86 3-dr Extreme AC

Over the past twenty years Renault has sold over 10 million Clios worldwide. In the UK there are currently 33 versions available in seven trim levels from the 200hp Renaultsport Cup and Gordini versions to this sub 100g/km 1.5 dCi. 1990s ad idols Nicole and Papa weren’t too bothered about CO2 emissions, but today’s mpg figures would surely have impressed them greatly.

Road Test Reports Says3 star rating
A front-facing image of the Renault Clio

Image number 2 of the Renault ClioImage number 3 of the Renault ClioImage number 4 of the Renault Clio

Performance Performance - 3 stars

As long as you don’t have strong hankerings to own a racy Clio Cup, then the relatively pedestrian performance of the 86hp 1.5 dCi shouldn’t disappoint. Its 0-62mph time of 12.7 seconds won’t win any prizes, but the diesel engine’s 200Nm (147lb/ft) of torque at a lowly 1,900rpm enables decent progress and allows for reasonably brisk overtaking between speed cameras. This isn’t a revvy engine, and it neither sounds exciting nor responds particularly enthusiastically if you do rev it, but, with a quoted top speed of 109mph, maintaining the national speed limit and the some is easy enough.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

Again, as long as you don’t harbour any strong boy-racer urges then this Clio won’t disappoint. Its ride remains compliant and comfortable even over poor surfaces, while its variable assistance electric power steering is light when it needs to be at low speed but weights up nicely and feels reassuring at higher speeds. As suggested and as could be expected, this particular Clio doesn’t provide a thrilling drive, but it’s predictable, competent and indeed safe in the areas that matter, ie. ride, handling, steering and braking.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 2 stars

I’m going to be brutally frank here. The Clio’s interior, or more specifically its fascia, dash, instrumentation, switches and door trim are made of a cheap-looking, cheap-feeling, drab, uniform-grey plastic. If this car was manufactured in Eastern Europe for much less solvent Eastern European buyers then it would be fine, but compared with almost all else on sale in Britain today, the Clio’s interior trim falls woefully short. And all this cheap plastic doesn’t smell nice either. My early ‘80s Ford Escort 1.3L had a more pleasing interior. Which isn’t to say that the Clio poorly assembled or likely to be unreliable – there’s a 12-year anti corrosion warranty for example – but on the basis of this car’s interior I’m surprised Renault finished as high as 22nd out of 27 manufacturers in the 2010 JD Power Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 4 stars

Surprisingly there are no Euro NCAP crash test ratings available for the current generation Clio, but the previous model scored the maximum 5 stars under the pre 2009 evaluation process, and the current model sits on the same platform. Standard safety equipment includes Renault’s 3rd-generation Restraint and Protection system as well as ABS with EBD, Brake assist and ISOFIX seat mountings plus all manner of two-stage, auto-adaptive, anti-submarining front and lateral airbags. Security measures include deadlocking and automatic door locking, anti-drill door locks, a Thatcham category 2 engine immobiliser and a locking fuel cap.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 4 stars

The Clio may not be aesthetically pleasing inside, but at least it’s comfy, spacious and capacious for a supermini. There’s ample head, leg and shoulder room in front and rear, while the 288-litre boot extends to a voluminous 1,038-litres with the 60/40 split rear seat folded flat. Also helping to negate the expanses of grey plastic is aircon, a height-adjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat, a decent radio/CD player, a trip computer (read on…), tinted windows and more.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 4 stars

The £13,255 (£14,890 as tested with TomTom satnav) Eco2 Clio’s official fuel consumption figures are 62.7mpg (urban), 83.0mpg (extra urban) and 76.3mpg (combined). It’s often difficult and sometimes impossible to repeat such figures in real life, but when I started my test drive the Clio’s trip computer read 60.9mpg. By the time I’d finished I’d managed to get it down to a little over 57mpg, but if I’d driven it with more restraint I might well have improved on that 60.9 figure. Whatever, the Clio’s fuel consumption is impressively frugal. And with its accompanying 98g/km of CO2 you’ll enjoy zero road tax and congestion charge benefits too. Very real advantages like that should make it a whole lot easier to stomach the Clio’s drab interior.

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