Allow me to start off this review with the announcement that my own car is a Renault Clio II and my parents have owned two other Renaults in the time I’ve been around. This means I personally have high hopes for this all-new Renault Clio 4 Expression and much is expected of it.
Renault Clio 4 Expression Review by David TaylorBest-looking B-segment car
For starters it looks damn good. In this particular segment of the market, car buyers appear to be more concerned with reliability and satisfying the need for basic transportation than owning something which could be construed as fashionable and fun. Compared to average B-segment cars, the fourth generation Renault Clio is a work of art. With a big Renault diamond slapped into the middle of the front bumper which also features daytime running lights, the new Renault Clio 4 Expression looks rather aggressive from head on. The flame red paintjob also helped contribute to the Clio’s visual appeal.
Super-small engine is adequate
The all-new Renault Clio 4 Expression is powered by one of the smallest engines to see duty in a passenger car. It’s a 0.9-litre three cylinder with 66kW and 135Nm. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s not even a 1.0-litre as it has just enough grunt to match most of its 1.4 and 1.6 rivals. The upside of such a small engine is it’s supposed to be much lighter on fuel and it is, once you get the hang of driving it correctly. It also features start/stop technology to help save a bit of petrol while sitting at intersections.
The thing is, while it doesn't feel under powered; you do need to give it a bit of a booting to keep up with traffic which will hurt the fuel consumption figure. If you do a lot of open road/highway driving, you’ll enjoy how the little Clio trundles along at the national speed limit while sipping around the 5L/100km mark. I had the car for a week and I drove on both urban and highway roads very gently and came away with 5.9L/100km. That said, if you drive it even slightly aggressively, you’ll see it climb to around 6.5L/100km.
Entertaining to drive
Clios are renowned for the way they drive. Even the entry level models are fun and involving, and the new one is no different. It feels quite sporty to drive and a few blasts down some twisty roads underlined the fact Renault is marketing this car as a fun and funky city runabout. The top-of-the-range Dynamique model rides on 17-inch alloys, whereas my test unit was the Expression version which features 16-inch wheels with higher profile rubber. On the launch I found the Dynamique was a little on the firm side for my liking, but the Expression with the smaller wheels is more pleasant. Look, it’s still firm and sporty but I like that in a hatchback.
Everything you’ll ever need comes fitted standard
The ace in Renault’s hand is the specification level of the new Clio. It’s well-and-truly loaded with everything you’ll ever need in a vehicle. I’ve seen cars costing double which don’t have as much in them. There’s cruise control with speed limiter, Bluetooth phone pairing, air conditioner, digital speedo, comprehensive trip computer, satnav, front and rear fog lamps, daytime running lights, LCD touchscreen infotainment system with MP3/USB/Aux radio and auto start/stop. There are also controls on and behind the steering wheel for cruise control and audio respectively. Renault is one of the safety-conscious brands and the new Clio receives a full whack of safety features too.
Renault Clio 4 Expression - ConclusionYes, I am impressed with how the new Clio turned out. It doesn’t have quite the same amount of go as its predecessors, but there are hotter versions on their way. The bottom line is I think Renault has done a terrific job here. There’s a desperate need for fun, affordable motoring and the Clio ticks the boxes. It has all the gadgets and toys you’ll ever need, yet won’t break the bank. I wouldn’t bother going for the top of the range Dynamique. Save yourself R10k and lose the low profile 17-inch wheels for a softer ride.
Based on the fact that three of my friends (one of them a motor journalist) have purchased Clio 4s shows I’m not the only one who thinks this car is great. I think we have a strong contender for a Car of The Year award…
Renault Clio 4 Expression - PriceRenault Clio 4 Expression - R169 900
- Why you should: Best looking car in its class, supreme levels of specification, astounding value for money, a fun car to drive.
- Why you shouldn’t: it’s not the fastest thing around, fuel efficient only when driven gently.
- It would be better if: it had a proper key not the silly credit card thing.
- View the Renault Clio: New / Used
- Competitors worth checking out: Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic, Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai i20, Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz