I've had my 2003 DCi Clio 80 for 3 yrs now - and I love it to bits, and
it's my first diesel.
I've always had bigger litre petrol cars and was worried it would be slow in comparison.... it wasn't!
It's nippy, good looking and can hold it's own against the other super minis out there.
We looked at several before buying this one (it had 52,000 on the clock then - 64,000 now)
It had a FSH... which we've kept up (not through Renault though).
We gave it a good test drive - motorway & B-roads.
It should start first time from cold - shouldn't smoke, and should be fairly quiet.
They're very economical on fuel and only £20 a year road tax.
Mine does have the usual rattling sunroof - you get used to it.
My sunroof has leaked twice, both times with sycamore seeds stuck inside the rubber (don't open it under trees lol)
One thing the diesels do suffer from as they get older (as I am finding out at the moment) is
sensor problems (clean it) and a gunked up (with carbon)
valve (also clean it).
Things we'd never have known but for this forum (Hoorah RF!)
I found the accelerator pedal hard compared to my previous Vectra - and it took some time to get used to.
The brake pedal hardish - better than spongy!
The clutch - medium resistance.
All in all I don't regret buying my Clio - and will most likely buy another.
I think you'll know the right one when you get in and drive it - but test at least 2 - as you're doing.