But times change, and the Clio has had its first new design in seven years, both aesthetically and engineering-wise. The all new engine line-up comes from Renault-Nissan Alliance – and Mercedes will be using them in the smaller A-class and B-class models. The Renault I drove had the 1.3L petrol engine. It’s quiet, but you can tell there’s power beneath the bonnet.
The Clio is essentially a city car, built for efficiency, and with its stop-start technology, driving around Town was as much a breeze as driving on the open road.
Renault has fractionally reduced the length of the Clio (by 12mm), but clever design has increased the boot space and the rear seat leg room. Its 391L boot is the biggest volume in its category. Featuring a removable floor, the boot configuration can be arranged to best suit your needs – by folding down the rear-seat headrests you can even create a completely flat floorspace. Ideal for the family shopping, school run, holidays and trips to the beach.
The RS Line is a sporty little beast – it has a front bumper featuring an F1-style splitter, the iconic signature of RS models, and special 17in. diamond-cut Magny-Cours wheel rims. At the front, it sports a honeycomb lower grille, and at the rear, a panel with a diffuser and a chrome-finish oval exhaust pipe.
The Clio’s good looks continue on the inside, with red top-stitching, a leather perforated sports steering wheel featuring Renault’s double diamond, aluminium pedals, sports seats with reinforced side supports, a horizontal red line stretching across the dashboard and a smart driver-focused cockpit.
The upgraded 9.3in. infotainment screen dominates the interior, but it’s clear to see and easy to read. It is completely customisable so you can display the driving information that you think is the most important – there are plenty of options to set it up, and if you fancy changing the interior ambient lighting, you can do that, too.
Safety is paramount with on-board intelligence featuring active emergency brake, lane-keeping assist, traffic sign recognition and blind spot warning.
Fair to say, the Clio’s re-design has given it plenty of ooh la la.