Renault’s Clio supermini has been a popular seller across Europe ever since it launched in 1990 to replace the old 5, but for the Clio IV of 2012, the French company stepped up the premium feel a notch – which in turn makes the fourth-gen model an excellent used-car proposition.
Keeping things simple, Renault only sold the Clio IV (in this country, at least) as a five-door hatchback with ‘hidden’ rear door handles to make it look like a three-door. The estate model, which had been sold in right-hand-drive markets in previous generations of the Clio, was not launched here. Engines are fairly modest in output, with a choice of 0.9-litre three-cylinder and 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol units available, and a solitary diesel, the 1.5-litre four-cylinder dCi. Originally, a normally aspirated 1.2-litre SCe 75hp petrol engine was overshadowed by the better choice, the 0.9-litre TCe 90hp/135Nm turbocharged three-cylinder. For diesel buyers, just the 90hp/220Nm 1.5 dCi was available throughout the car’s life, which is a fine enough engine. In 2016, a mild facelift and tech update saw the 1.2-litre TCe turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine introduced, which had 120hp and 205Nm. It was the most powerful engine fitted to a regular Clio IV, with the only way to supersede it being to go for the fast (and expensive) Renault Sport models with a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder. This delivered 200hp in the regular Clio RS or 220hp in the 2016-launched Trophy, but it was criticised by Renault Sport fans for the standard-fitment of a six-speed Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) automatic gearbox. Other Clios employ either five- or six-speed manual transmissions, with power on all models going to the front wheels.
It’s definitely the post-facelift 1.2 TCe, which is the best engine in the line-up with no exceptions and the easiest one to live with on a daily basis.
Renault Clio 1.2 TCe
Engine: 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Maximum speed: 199km/h
0-100km/h: 9.0 seconds
Fuel consumption: 5.2 litres/100km
• Stylish looks
• Upmarket and spacious feel inside
• Refined for a supermini
• Gutless 1.2 SCe petrol
• Uninspiring RS models with auto gearbox
• Limited engine and body style choices
The Renault Clio IV boosted its big-car feel with a stretched wheelbase, while perhaps sacrificing some of the handling joy that once marked the Clio out as the driver’s choice in the segment. This dulling of its abilities is nowhere more evident than in the fast RS models, but with the 1.2 turbo petrol engine, the Clio makes a fine little urban run-around and its chic appearance will continue to win it plenty of fans.