Behind closed doors
Having climbed aboard the Renault Clio, we felt the need to grab it by the cheek and say something like "My, what a nice grown up boy we have here!". The front passengers still receive more space than the ones in the back, but both the leg and the head room sit above the class average.
In recent years, Renault has always had a thing for unconventional rear end shapes. While the Megane II's "shake it!" rear end has been forgotten, when you look behind you from the driver's seat, you have the impression you're driving something longer than a small hatchback like this. That's because the posterior of the car uses pumped-up shapes, like Beyoncé.
The unconventional design of the exterior has also found its way inside the car. Let's take the dashboard instruments
, for example. The digital speedo, together with the rest of the indicators, seem like they've been inspired by a mix between smartphones and medieval armors.
At the center of the dash, we've got a 7-inch Media Nav
infotainment touch screen, which handles its job decently. The navigation was intuitive enough to use with ease. As for the audio part, our test car was gifted with a system called Renault Bass Reflex
. If they hadn't overdone things by writing "Bass Reflex" on the front speakers, things would've been OK.
Renault also takes the infotainment part of the Clio to new heights, with the carmaker offering an optional R-Link tablet, which you can take with you outside the car. While the system has been developed together with LG, it's hard to build a strong case for it when the tablet market is dominated by players like Apple and Samsung, whose products come with a ton of apps.
Fortunately, you can sprinkle some color across the various bits of the cabin, but only for the medium and high equipment levels. There's enough freedom to color-configure the interior here to allow you to tell the character of an owner by his or her selection. Interesting.
It's pleasing to see that the cabin manages to double its funky design with good ergonomics and stowage spaces. Everything is where you'd expect it to be and all the controls are easy to operate.
Alas, there are some areas of the Renault Clio's interior that disappoint.
We'll start with the visibility. Up front you will be disturbed by the thick A pillars. In addition, the oversized C-pillar area and the rather small rear window mean that it's best to double the rear parking sensors with the available reversing camera.
Then there's the quality of the materials: most plastics found in the upper part of the cabin are decent, but those placed in the lower area will see you live with an interior burdened by scratches. We also didn't like the oilcloth feel of the material placed around the shifter or the central rear seat belt
hanging from the roof.
It's time to get out of the car and head towards the back now. Here, we find a 10.6 cubic feet (300 liters) boot, a generous value for this class. Closing is does require you to get your hands dusty though, as using the dedicated "handle" inside the car requires too much effort.Continue reading