Compact French hatchbacks are supposed to be so chic and elegant that even a Parisian fashion mogul would bomb around the French capital in one. Well… good news!
You should know: This recently updated Renault Clio is a seriously sexy little number. I’m sure all the photos or videos you’ve seen have impressed you, but just wait until you see one in the flesh: it’s delectable. My only plea is that you find this scrumptious shade called “Flame Red” because the remaining colours wouldn’t look out of place in a hearse brochure.
More info: Clio Mark Five also shines, quite literally, with LED eyes and beautifully swooping rear light clusters, fine chrome make-up and concealed rear door handles. The interior also upped its game with quality materials, acres of crisp displays, interesting textures, multi-hue ambient lighting and a driver-orientated cockpit.
Why you should: It’s not just all show and no go, oh no. This little 5-speed manual hatchback feels nippy and agile, darting around town with ease or blasting past 100km/h in 11.65 seconds. While that may sound slow on paper (or your screen), I can’t stress enough that the 74kW/160Nm turbo-petrol 3-cylinder feels much faster.
Why you shouldn’t: Its power delivery isn’t very linear – a turbo three-pot trademark – and it can also get thirsty if you keep your right foot on the firewall. The factory claims 5.7L/100km on average and 7.7 in town, but our overall figure was closer to eight. Also, Renault’s dealer network isn’t the biggest but they do sell each Clio with a 5-year/150,000km warranty and 2-year/30,000km service plan.
What else? With cheapie stuff like Kwid and Kiger sharing the showroom space, it’s wonderful to see such a refined, modern and elegant product from the French diamond. It’s even half-decent value at around 350,000 bucks with two lesser trim levels (but the same punchy engine) coming in at R325,000 and R310,000.
FULL SPEC LIST
|Engine:||999cc in-line 3-cylinder turbo-petrol|
|Transmission:||5-speed manual, FWD|
|Max. Power:||74kW @ 5000rpm|
|Max. Torque:||160Nm @ 2750rpm|
|Avg. cons.:||Claimed 5.7L/100km|
|0-100km/h:||11.65 seconds (claimed 11.8)|