The traffic light is as stubborn as a mule. It just won't turn green. But the Clio can't be bothered, it has its engine turned off. The start-stop system in this thing must the most eager one we've seen.
While in most cars you have to come to a complete stop and wait a moment for the engine to be shut down, here the fuel supply is cut even before the wheels actually stop rotating. What's more, turning the wheel in the Clio means positioning your front wheels, but not also causing the engine to be restarted, like in the case of most cars. By the way, we first played with the unit on the Dacia Logan
, but the budget model didn't feature a start-stop system.
The little 0.9-liter, three cylinder TCe petrol unit on our test car is really eager to show the 90 hp version of the 1.5 dCi diesel
that its services are not needed anymore. The truth is that the two are pretty close when it comes to numbers, both in terms of performance and efficiency. The diesel gets the title for both categories, but by a small margin that doesn't necessarily justify the extra money and reduced refinement.
Speaking of this, the only time you feel that there's a cylinder missing is when the engine is cold or idling. In the morning, it's best to take it easy until the unit reaches its operating temperature, as it doesn't tolerate throttle compensation for shifting early, at least not until it's had coffee.
Together with the rather long-ratio five-speed manual, the only transmission available, the TCe powerplant delivers a two-sided experience.
People who use the car to get from street A to street B won't appreciate the fact that the turbocharging brings a less than linear power delivery. You have to work a bit in order to keep the unit in the ideal mid-range zone if you want to persuade the trip computer to show an efficiency of around 39 mpg (6l/100 km). Drive it careless and the urban fuel efficiency can drop to 26 mpg (9l/100 km).
Nevertheless, if you're the kind that likes to enjoy time spent behind the wheel, you'll prefer the boosted poke of this engine to the linearity of the previous generation's naturally-aspirated 1.4-liter engine.
Renault claims that 90 percent of the torque arrives as early as 1,650 rpm, but, in the end, you do feel that the peak value, which comes at 2,500 rpm, only sits at 99.6 lb-ft (135 Nm). Push the engine a bit and you'll notice that, at city speeds, it manages to feel a bit muscular.
And while most small-capacity engines feel like they're about to commit suicide when you're pushing them hard, this one offers a pretty pleasant sound at full throttle.
The car has a certain ease of movement that allows it follow your orders swiftly inside the city. There's little resistance and enough precision to make you say "hmm... this thing is pretty agile".
Don't rush too much through, as the lowered ground clearance and the front apron add-on element make the chin of the car basically beg to be punched by various asphalt problems that lie around the city.
Once you step outside the city, you'll be please to notice that the Clio can withstand longer journeys in a decent manner.
The boosted wheelbase and tracks, together with the lowered ride height make the vehicle feel stable out on the open road. Even in this civilian setup and with and ESP that can't be disabled, you feel that the chassis is well-balanced.
Understeer is immediately tamed with a lift off the throttle and, in the split second before the ESP intervenes, you can feel that the back end never has the tendency to step out in a violent mode.
The ride and handling are set up in a way that could make you swear that the guys from Renault's RS division sneaked out during the night and infiltrated a bit of their own blueprints.
While inside the city this means that the ride is a bit too stiff on certain occasions, out on the open road the body movement is kept well in check and the comfort is good. We applaud the ride and handling of the Renault Clio.
As for the mixed cycle fuel consumption during our test drive, this sat at 33.5 mpg (7 liters per 100 km).
Yes, the new model has a bit of spirit borrowed from the Clios of old, so you can have a tad of fun in it. And when you're done with that, you're left with a car that, like we said, doesn't have your problem with your weekend traveling. There is one problem that disturbs you at highway speeds though and that's the wind noise. This seemed to come front the front quarter windows.
It's nice to know that the Renault Clio doesn't let is sleek design down once you get to drive it.Continue reading