In recent weeks we have had the opportunity to test drive a spate of models from the French manufacturer Renault.
The first of these models was the base Clio Expression. If you’ve ever driven a Clio you’ll know there’s just something about them that makes them so hard to dislike. Sure, the French do get some stick for their shabby build quality, but from my memory I have never witnessed nor heard of an issue with any given model first hand. So where this reputation ever came from I’m not so sure, all I do know is that it’s now a myth.
This clio is a solid little jammer. When I went to collect it I was greeted with a white 3dr model, which I personally think looks better than the 5dr, if not as versatile as it.
The model has had various face lifts and upgrades since the mk3 model was introduced in 2006, and I think that Renaults baby hatch is as good looking as ever.
Hop in and the first thing you’ll notice is the high-ish driving position. No matter how low you try to make the seat go, it still feels a bit wagon like as opposed to small hatch. Thankfully the headroom was still more than sufficient, so no complaints in that department. The interior is finished to a high standard, even more so than you would expect from a fairly basic car.
I knew prior to collecting this car that we would be driving the 1.2 petrol rather than the 1.5 diesel unit. I didn’t realise how much I would have to rev it to get the power out of it. At low revs it’s quiet, effecient, and downright slow. But drop a gear and make your way to the 5k rpm mark and it starts to make a little sense. It’s a slow car thats cheap to purchase and cheap to fuel, tax and insure, but if you need it to move it will do so, provided you have no more than one passenger.
The gearbox is reminiscent of a typical small car of the nineties, possibly even the original clio. This really is a back to basics car, which is becoming a rarer characteristic of new cars as technologies progress. I’m not saying this is a car which puts you back in touch with the whole driving experience again, but it’s not far from it.
Price as tested: € 12,990