Back when the fifth generation Renault Clio launched in 2019, it was the best-selling supermini in Europe. In fact, the firm has sold 16 million Clios since its initial 1990 arrival, with 1.3 million of those registered in the UK.
For years, the Volkswagen Polo was the ultimate go-to for a mature supermini with a manageably proportioned package, while the Ford Fiesta upheld the segment in terms of actual driving dynamics.
It’s a shame, then, that the Fiesta has now departed, and it might not be long until the Polo follows suit.
Or is it? The previous generation Renault Clio outsold both of those rivals, and Renault’s track record for delivering hatchbacks that are fun and characterful despite puny horsepower figures stretches back decades.
This generation’s 2019 arrival brought with it a new platform and the potential for a twin-motor electric powertrain along with level two ‘hands-off’ autonomy hitherto unseen in the segment.
It also brought a new look, which has again been significantly updated for 2023. It’s a seriously good-looking hatchback, and its interior has also been reimagined with an emphasis on perceived quality.
There is also now a far more impressive array of multimedia technologies, and yet the price still sits beneath that of the Ford, and far beneath the Volkswagen. And, of course, below any rival crossovers.
Bring in hybrid power for some claimed economy improvements, plus upgrades to standard technology, and the Clio could be at the top of your supermini shortlist.
The Renault Clio range at a glance
The new Clio comes with a slimmed-down line-up for 2024, with one pure petrol engine and one hybrid petrol powertrain. Renault initially planned to sell the Clio in the UK solely as a hybrid, but recently also added the a pure petrol option at a lower pricepoint.
The range opens with the TCe 90: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine producing 88bhp and 118lb ft of torque. It completes 0-62mph in a leisurely 12.2sec, with a top speed of 112mph - but the more important aspect for most buyers is its frugal 54.3mpg fuel consumption figure.
At the top of the range sits the Clio E-Tech full hybrid 145, with 143bhp and 106lb ft. Naturally this engine is more expensive, but it ups performance slightly, bringing a 0-62mph time of 9.3sec, and a 67.3mpg fuel consumption figure.
This hybrid powerplant combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, which combine to drive 143bhp and 151lb ft through the front wheels. It can only be had with an automatic gearbox.