Renault Clio 1.2 EDC (2015) First Drive

ClioEDC Expression Grey

Renault began its miraculous comeback with the new Renault Clio 4 back in 2013. Its sparkling design and strong value proposition seemed enough to tempt new buyers into its seats. The comeback gained momentum with the follow up of Sandero, Duster and more recently Captur to the market. The Clio was also one of the first to introduce modern three-cylinder turbocharged engines to our market, taking a big risk in our conservative market. Now Renault has an automatic gearbox option to include to the range as well as a new entry level model.

Two new Clios

The new 1.2 EDC (dual-clutch automatic) was obviously the headline grabber at the local launch in Johannesburg. The French brand managed to sneak in a new entry level model as well, called the Blaze. The Blaze still runs the same 0.9-Litre turbocharged as the current model but the savings come in the spec. The Blaze does without alloy wheels and a navigation system but gains a funky red interior trim. The price drops the Blaze below the R200 000 barrier.

The new 1.2 EDC

We have some experience with the new 1.2 turbo engine as we've reviewed it in the Renault Captur and the setup in terms of engine and gearbox is identical. The outputs include 88 kW of power and 190 Nm of torque. In a light hatchback like the Clio, it has an impressive turn f speed. The engine will pull strongly in gear and cruise at 120kph without any difficulty. The attached dual-clutch gearbox is the weak link however. From pull-off it feels slow to respond and responds more like a CVT gearbox than a quick shifting dual-clutch. Options from Ford and Volkswagen in terms of quick-shifting boxes are more refined. The Clio’s ‘box is better than a standard four or five speed autos that used to be the norm before dual-clutch boxes became so good.

The new engine and gearbox pairing make for an economical pairing as Renault claims 5.2L/100km is used on the combined cycle test. The 0.9-Litre is still claimed to be more efficient at 4.5L/100km but needs to be worked harder if you want to get anywhere on time.

High spec levels

On both the Blaze and the new 1.2, the Clio’s level of spec is well above par in this segment. As a driver, you’re well catered for in terms of features such as steering mounted controls, a USB and Aux port, aircon, cruise control, a seven-inch touchscreen and navigation are all standard on the 1.2 Expression. The Clio is safe too, with a five-star Euro NCAP rating and safety systems such as ABS with EBD, traction control, hill hold and four airbags.

As mentioned above the Blaze model only exchanges alloy wheels for 15-inch wheel covers, navigation is only available as an option and the fog lights are removed from the front bumpers and replaced with a plastic insert.

Renault Clio Pricing

The new 1.2 EDC comes in at a competitive R234 900 whilst the 66 kW Blaze is available at R179 900. As far as warranty is concerned, Renault offers a five-year/150 000km warranty and a three-year/45 000km service plan.