The new Renault Clio launches in Italy



Renault are back, it’s not that they were away anywhere; they have been making some great cars but they lacked something small and special.

Now they have brought out the Clio and this is a return to something they have always done very well; small clever cars. The new Clio is cute, sexy, clever and all the other things the French car maker has always been good at; decent small cars.

In looks alone the Clio has the lot, the sexy front end and big headlights give way to the three door look and broad haunches with a tidy rear end. By the way, there won’t be a three door version which is why the design looks like a three door but it has five door if you get my drift.

Not only is the exterior design clever you can personalise it. You can put decals on and change the colour of some parts of the trim along with the wheels, I like the one with the target on the outside although I wouldn’t pick the blue alloys I’d take the decals just as something different.

On the inside things get really clever, there’s a big touch screen in the middle which I’m told will be standard from the mid range up. There are simple menus in the touchscreen system which include navigation from Tom Tom, the one thing I noticed was the speed of the screen. Every touch brought up another menu very quickly, the sat nav responded very quickly, it was like prodding an iPad screen. The music system is equally simple, just plug whatever device you like into the USB port and off you go. I tested it with iPhone, Samsung and just a plain USB stick with music on it and it work just fine. Bass Reflex was also in my test car and that does what it sounds like, makes the bass better so for all you Dub Step fans your car has arrived. It’s like surround sound with added meat, I loved pumping out the tunes through the very beautiful hills of Tuscany.

Speaking of hills, our test route brought me through not only breath taking countryside but also onto some of the best driving roads in this part of the world. Switchbacks, curves, straights, down hills, rolling cambers the lot. Now I was in a 90bhp 900cc petrol model so I wasn’t going to set a rocket fast lap time but there was more than enough power to have some fun. The set up seems to be for handling, there’s loads of grip for turn in and as long as you keep the revs up you’ll grin as you come out of the corner too.

The new Clio is Renault back on form, it’s a special little car that will become part of the family. It has great styling, all the right tweaks to the handling and when it comes to Ireland it’ll have 3 engines, a tried and trusted 1.5Dci, 1.2 petrol and the brilliant 900cc version. The little car seems to do nothing wrong I just hope Renault can price is right because when you see the competition price the basic model, they are pricing a 3 door version and of course the Clio comes in 5 door only.

We’ll see what happens very soon because the official launch will take place in the next few weeks and as soon as I get the prices I’ll update here.

Never fear dear reader, I’ve made a video of the international trip too which will be out very soon.

Bob out….