After its facelift, the Renault Clio looks more sharp than friendly. As if he wants to show himself clearly before he goes down. Because with the imminent Euro 7 emission standard at the door, that is not an unthinkable scenario.
Earlier this year, Guido Haak, head of product planning, added Renault, that it is uncertain whether there will be a next one after this fifth generation of the Clio. According to Haak, the culprit is the Euro 7 standard that is scheduled for 2025. According to him, this requires too expensive adjustments to be able to earn something from affordable compact cars with a combustion engine.
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“We have to invest billions to make the combustion engine – which will disappear in 2035 – a few percent cleaner,” says Haak. According to him, there is a chance that the Clio will disappear if the Euro 7 exhaust gas standard comes into effect in its current form. Ford already came to that conclusion by stopping the Fiesta.
How do you recognize the renewed Clio (2023)?
For the time being, the Clio is still among us and we can make our first test drive with the new version. Funny; in fact, this fifth-generation facelifted Clio is easier to recognize as a new model than when it hit the market in 2019. It looked a lot like the Clio IV from the front. On the other hand, the new grille with the shiny blocks and the standing LED daytime running lights remind us of compatriot Peugeot. From behind you can recognize the new Renault Clio directly by the air vents in the rear bumper. You can only see the changes to the rear lights if you park a Clio from before the facelift next to it.
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Clio puts Esprit Alpine-pakket
The test car is equipped with the 145 hp hybrid powertrain and the super deluxe Esprit Alpine package. That top version has 17-inch alloy wheels with blue center caps, Alpine badges on the front fenders and a metallic gray insert in the front bumper. The interior of the Esprit Alpine welcomes guests with beautiful sports seats, a fabric-covered dashboard and chic gray headliner.
Blue-edged belts, colorful stitching, Alpine logos and subtle French flags complete the aesthetic. Safety equipment includes adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, a reversing camera and a blind spot alert. With all available safety systems on board, you can even drive semi-autonomously in traffic jams.
Fine adaptive cruise control
Knowing that, we can confidently navigate the hectic rush-hour traffic around Brussels. To our delight, the adaptive cruise control has no problem with the crowds. The system does its job calmly and in a controlled manner, without panicky braking interventions. Two years ago, the steering of the Clio was already slightly tightened and the car does indeed send pleasantly directly. The thick sports steering wheel with red, white and blue stitching fits comfortably in the hand, so that you like to take on the challenge of a winding route.
Away from the hustle and bustle, we therefore get a somewhat closer relationship with the sports seats. In fast corners they grab us nice and tight, without becoming too intrusive. And yet we break out in a sweat. Apparently, the environmentally friendly and recycled upholstery materials breathe less well than fabrics that kill the planet.
Comfort and interior space Renault Clio (2023)
Meanwhile, the chassis does its best to keep comfort at a pleasant level. This works wonderfully well on cobblestones and clinker roads with high-frequency bumps. If the bumps are deeper and less frequent, you get more of them and the chassis appears to be quite well damped.
With the facelift, Renault has left the length, height and wheelbase of the Clio untouched. This means that the back seat offers enough space for children and adults who always browse the racks with XS and S when buying clothes. The entry is narrow and for the larger of the world, both the head and legroom leave much to be desired.
Consumption Clio Hybrid
Just like before the facelift, the Clio will remain available in the Netherlands with only two powertrains. The entry-level model of the series is the three-cylinder TCe with 90 hp, followed immediately by the hybrid version. Unfortunately, the 100 hp LPG variant will not come to the Netherlands; the inexpensive LPG remains here reserved for sister brand Dacia.
Despite the relatively high power, you don’t have to make an effort with the Clio Hybrid to keep consumption within limits. In the Eco mode you actually come close to the manufacturer’s specification (4.2 l/100 km, 1 in 23.8). If you prefer the Sport mode – there is no Normal mode – and you are not afraid of the accelerator pedal, you can still easily achieve 5.4 l/10 km (1 in 18.5). To recover braking energy, put the transmission lever in the B position, that’s it. The rate of regeneration is not variable; that option is reserved for newer Renault hybrids with the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine.
Lightning fast traffic light sprints are not the specialty of the Clio E-Tech Hybrid (0-100 in 9.3 s). It apparently takes some effort to get the 1238 kilos moving. The sprint from 80 to 120 km/h, on the other hand, runs above average smoothly: in 6.7 seconds.
The powertrain of the hybrid Clio remains quite complex. It consists of a 1.6-litre petrol engine, two electric motors, a starter generator and a clutchless automatic transmission. The whole feels less chunky than before, but if you slow down when approaching a traffic light or roundabout, the components seem to be busy discussing who does what.
It is accompanied by a lot of buzz, hum and clicks. It is not really annoying, but it is not a model of refinement. Compare it with our experiences in the Toyota Prius, then Renault still has a long way to go. Whether the French will do that remains to be seen, because hybrid cars will also be banned from 2035 if it is up to the EU.
Prices Renault Clio 2023
The nose of the Renault Clio looks a lot more aggressive than before. In his behavior, however, he has remained kindness itself. He does few things really wrong and doesn’t kick anyone in the shins. The Clio is not a star either – not even as a hybrid.
Yet it could just be that you choose the Clio if you compare it with other compact hybrids such as the Honda Jazz in Toyota Yaris. Because as a thickly dressed Esprit Alpine, the Renault Clio is the biggest seducer. But then you have to reserve 30,120 euros. It can be cheaper entry-level version Evolution of the hybrid Clio is available from 25,820 euros, the Techno is in the price list for 27,820 euros. A Clio TCe 90 with only a combustion engine costs at least 22,950 euros.