Read Caroline’s Renault Clio review for everything you need to know about buying Renault’s popular small car in Ireland.

The Renault Clio is an international bestseller and one of the French brand’s best loved small cars. It’s recently been updated to keep it competitive with a few small tweaks to the styling, addition of a new Esprit Alpine trim level and some enhanced equipment onboard.

Available as a simple petrol manual or as an even more fuel efficient hybrid, the 2024 Renault Clio range kicks off from €24,845.

The new Renault Clio - delightfully chic
The new Renault Clio – delightfully chic

What’s so special about the Renault Clio?

There are few small cars as chic and stylish as the Renault Clio. The facelifted Clio gets a new front end that gives it a meaner and sportier look, particularly in the top of the range Esprit Alpine – inspired by Renault’s Alpine brand of sports cars.

The grille now stretches the full width between the LED headlights, while the new F1-style blade in the front bumper is finished in grey on the Esprit Alpine. Another striking feature is the new half diamond shaped LED daytime running lights that give it some real dynamic appeal.

Alloy wheel sizes start at 16-inch, with the Esprit Alpine getting a fancier 17-inch diamond cut set with blue or grey centre caps, depending on the body colour.

There are new clear covers for the rear lights but otherwise it’s business as usual for the Clio. It’s still one of the best looking small cars on sale.

There are a few tweaks inside too. Nothing major but the Esprit Alpine replaces the old RS Line and has a few sporty additions.

The cabin of the 2024 Renault Clio
The cabin of the 2024 Renault Clio

Inside the Clio Esprit Alpine

The Clio’s cabin has matured very well with impressive digital tech on board and an upmarket feel – particularly in the new Esprit Alpine (from €28,345).

Front sports seats come with blue contrast stitching and Alpine logos to add a sporty feel. There’s a fabric dashboard panel with a French flag to remind you what you’re driving and Tricolour stitching in the steering wheel too.

Entry level models come with a 7-inch digital driver display and 7-inch touchscreen that’s easy to use, with now wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to make smartphone integration even simpler. The Esprit Alpine gets the flashier 10-inch digital driver display and 9.3-inch portrait-style touchscreen.

Standard features on the entry level Evolution model include keyless entry, automatic air con and rear parking sensors. The Techno adds a reversing camera and wireless smartphone charging, while the Esprit Alpine is the most luxurious of all with heated steering wheel/heated front seats and safety equipment like adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert.

The Clio Hybrid is brilliant in town and very fuel-efficient
The Clio Hybrid is brilliant in town and very fuel-efficient

The Clio feels roomy enough inside for a small car though the back seat will be more comfortable for two rather than three. The petrol models are best for boot space with a Golf-beating 391 litres. Opt for the hybrid and this goes down to 301 litres. But it’s still a practical space for a few suitcases or shopping bags.

Driving the Clio Hybrid

The Clio is available with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 90hp and a 6-speed manual or as a 1.6-litre hybrid that promises even greater fuel efficiency.

The hybrid is more expensive to buy (from €30,545) but offers a few benefits particularly in town driving where it can run for up to 80% of the time on its small capacity battery alone powering just the electric motor to turn the wheels – just like a Toyota Yaris Hybrid. Nor does it require a plug, with the battery being topped up during braking and deceleration.

It’s smooth to drive with a multimode automatic transmission making it simple too. It has more power (145hp) than the entry level petrol and contributes to a more mature feeling on the road. Slot it into the ‘B’ mode to increase regenerative braking and you can adjust the driving behaviour somewhat with the Multisense driving modes.

Rear seating in the Clio
Rear seating in the Clio

Over my time with the car, average fuel consumption was 4.9 litres per 100 kilometres, making it cheap to run too.

The Clio is good fun to drive with direct steering and good body control through bends. Comfort and refinement levels are pretty good for a small car though it does get noisy over coarser road surfaces and doesn’t do much to take the edge off the bumps and holes of Irish rural roads.

Did you like it?

It’s an easy yes! It’s hard not to find yourself endeared by the Clio’s charm. It’s compact enough to be fun, yet big enough to offer some decent practicality. It’s super stylish and well-equipped making it one of the most desirable small cars on sale.

It’s hard to justify the hybrid’s price tag over the basic petrol though it is a more sophisticated offering overall, cleaner and more efficient.

Either way, the Clio is still one for the shopping list.

The brilliant Renault Clio
The brilliant Renault Clio

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year