New Renault Clio 2023 facelift review: stylish French supermini gets a striking new look

A new look and some changes under the skin aim to keep the Clio at the top of the supermini class

  • 4.5 out of 5

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    The downside of this older cockpit design is that it lacks the wow factor of the Megane and Austral’s interiors, not to mention their sensational Google-powered infotainment system. We found the previous-gen set-up running on our Clio’s 9.3-inch touchscreen (lower-spec models get a seven-inch display) fairly laggy and not nearly as intuitive. Thankfully, it’s now even easier to bypass, because wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is standard across the range.

    The Clio E-Tech always uses the electric motor to pull away from a standstill, so the car feels responsive and pretty zippy away from the traffic lights. It’s really only beyond 20mph when the engine comes to life, seamlessly taking the reins from the electric motor. The transition back and forth between petrol and electric power is almost undetectable, with the two working together to provide a smooth linear power delivery. 

    However the set-up can falter under hard acceleration, as the transmission likes to take its time deciding when it’s going to change gear, often leaving you stuck listening to the roar of the engine. The hybrid Clio isn’t particularly quick anyway, taking over nine seconds to hit 62mph, so we’d recommend adopting a gentle approach with the throttle.

    Once the powertrain settles down, the Clio E-Tech is comfortable at motorway speeds and you’re kept nicely isolated from harsher imperfections in the road surface. There’s fun to be had on twistier roads too, thanks to direct, well weighted steering and just a hit of body roll as you chuck the Clio into corners.

    Renault says the hybrid can return up to 67.3mpg, and while we couldn’t match that figure, we did manage to average 55.2mpg on a journey that included towns, motorways and a couple of spirited blasts on back roads. 

    Regardless of which version you pick, the Clio offers appealing value for money. The Clio E-Tech in particular currently starts from £21,295, or £229 per month on PCP finance with a £3,579 deposit. 

    Standard kit on base Evolution cars includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch digital instrument panel, a seven-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone connectivity, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and active safety systems like lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning. 

    Mid-range Techno trim brings a more aggressive front bumper, a reversing camera, a wireless charging pad for your smartphone, and larger alloy wheels, while the top-spec Esprit Alpine gets all the goodies, including the larger driver’s display and touchscreen, aluminium pedals, heated front seats and steering wheel, and even more safety kit.

    Model: Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid Esprit Alpine
    Price: £24,095
    Powertrain: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol, 1x e-motors
    Power/torque: 143bhp/205Nm
    Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
    0–62mph: 9.3 seconds
    Top speed: 112mph
    Economy: 65.7mpg
    CO2: 97g/km
    On sale: Now

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