Renault Clio 1.6 Review
The cool hatch

Story by Edwin Loh, pictures by Azfar Hashim
6 Oct 2009

What exactly is the Clio? Well, lets put it as a small car with "a big heart"

Renault Clio

Admit it: when you think of the term "Hot Hatch", you think of cars like the Honda Civic Type-R or the Volkswagen Golf GTI. You think of small little cars with monstrously powerful engines that run on high octane Redbull instead of petrol.

But once in a while, there comes along a hatchback that changes your perspective. Nope, it does not have clever Japanese mechanical wizardry, nor does it pack German precision engineering. It does the whole hot hatch business in style. More specifically, French style.

There are numerous hatchbacks around in the market now. For the enthusiasts (read: psychotic drivers) on a budget, there's the Suzuki Swift Sport. For the slightly more well heeled, the BMW 1 Series or the Mini Cooper S. But what if you wanted a hatch back that is fast but is not hardcore to the point that it scares the daylights out of your neighbour's rottweiler? The new Clio is the answer, and the best part is you do not have to be an enthusiast to enjoy it.

The new Clio's direct opponent on the market now would be the Honda Jazz. With its 1.5-litre engine churning out 120 horses, the top spec Honda Jazz has got the Clio beaten. The Clio on the other hand, makes 110bhp with a 1.6-litre engine. Yet, the fight is not so simply decided because the Clio is a whopping $13,000 cheaper (that is enough zeros to make you sit up and take notice, right?). Lets see what makes this little Clio tick...


Renault has refreshed the Clio's exterior with strong design cues from the new Megane. Well now it looks fresh and sporty with the new front bumper and grille. Looking closely, one should notice how the triangular front bumper slopes down to flank the gaping grille, creating a fresh and aggressive look. This look is underscored (quite literally) by a silver insert at the base of the grille that adds to the "go fast" look. Those revised headlights and fog lights also perk up the car's attitude, giving the car an alert and eager stance.

The rear of the car has also undergone some changes - the rear light cluster forms part of the clean sharp line to define the hatch style further. This line also coalesces the rear into a (I would dare say) rather cute face.

With the rear lights as the "eyes" and the Renault badge as its "nose", the slightly oversized boot handle strikes me as a cheeky little tongue - the Clio seems to say "Au revoir!" as it easily overtakes other vehicles on the highway.

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Engine Capacity 1598cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 110bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 151Nm @ 4250rpm
Power to Weight 93.2 bhp per ton


Acceleration 12.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 186 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 4 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FF


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4027 x 2025 x 1493) mm
Wheelbase 2575 mm
Kerb Weight 1180 kg
Boot Capacity 288 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 55 L


Brakes (Front) Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs