Join Date: Jul 2005
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We looked at the New Clio a few Saturdays ago and drove a 1.5 dCi 80. First impressions are positive, there's more space inside than the old model. This is down to it being bigger and also better packaged. Sufficent space in the back for adults as long as you're not too long in the leg. Biggest surprise was the quality of the interior. I had heard it was improved but it's really very good. Nice use of soft plastics, well screwed together. Maybe not quite as good as my VW but not much in it.
I'm used to the 1.5 engine in my Megane, so no surprises there. It still impresses with its refinement and strong performance from such a small engine. They do a more powerful 106bhp model as well with a 6 speed box but the 80 seemed lively enough. The steering was nice and positve, not over assisted and the ride/handling impressed. I believe it's a version of the Megane chassis underneath. There were the usual toys that Renault like to provide, such as the keyless entry.
So what didn't we like? Well the gearbox felt a bit notchy but then my experience of Renaults is that they need a while to bed in. Also we're divided on the styling, it's a tidy development of the previous Clio but nothing dramatic. I'm not sure about the back. Renault have definitely played more conservative than they did with the Megane. But given the huge success of the Clio since 1991, I suppose they didn't want to rock the boat. Also they haven't bothered moving the start button over for RHD.
Shame the 5 door isn't coming until the New Year though, as that's what we would want. Also I wish Renault would put the 1.9 dCi engine in the Clio... That would give Skoda and Seat something to think about. Maybe it wouldn't fit in the engine bay or the extra weight might spoil the hendling.