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DRIVEN: Renault Clio 5 is finally here, but was it worth the wait?

Published Feb 21, 2022


Launch review: Renault Clio 5, by Justin Jacobs

Cape Town - The wait is finally over, the latest fifth generation Renault Clio is finally on South African soil. We travelled down to the picturesque Western Cape to sample this long-awaited model and to see whether or not the updates have retained this car's appeal in the competitive hatchback segment.

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The arrival of the 5th generation Clio is not ideal, external forces have played havoc with the launch of this car. Renault South Africa was faced with the global pandemic and once that eased it was the semiconductor chip shortage that caused further delays in the introduction of the car. Our editor, Willem Van de Putte also attended the launch of the updated Volkswagen Polo in the same week that the Clio was launched. It hasn't been easy but the car is here, we drove it and this is what you need to know.

Let’s start with the design of the Renault Clio 5, which might not look all that different from the model that it replaces. There are some changes though which can be found up front. Take the new C-shaped headlights, for example, which give the car a modern appeal. The lower bumper has also been refreshed, especially around the fog-lamp area.

The Clio also benefits from updated rear styling which gives it a more imposing look, with larger LED rear lights now built into the tailgate. We also like the finely integrated chrome finishes and the concealed rear door handles which give the Clio an elegant, uncluttered exterior design.

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Renault has offered visually appealing cabins and the Clio 5 is no different. Step inside the new Clio and you will find a rather neat cabin with familiar switchgear. The design is somewhat angled towards the driver which is a nice touch. There is also a large, centre mounted 9.3-inch touch display complete with good graphics, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Two USB ports can be found on the console as well as a wireless charging try. Our correspondent also liked the digital instrument cluster which offered different themes depending on driving mode.

Space is decent within the cabin and luggage capacity is rated at around 391 litres with the rear seats up, lower them and that increases to around 1069l. Now some might find that the cloth seats, even on the top-spec model are a bit of a no no but they are comfortable and now include an enhanced head rest which improves safety.

As for safety, the Clio seen here features Electronic Stability Control (ESC), ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), combined with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and up to 6 airbags.

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So we have established that the new Clio 5 has retained that French Flair in terms of interior and exterior design, but what about under the bonnet? Well, South African customers will have the option of one engine and gearbox paring as of now. This comes in the form of a 1.0-litre turbocharged unit that develops 74kW and 160Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox.

There is unfortunately no auto ‘box as of yet. In fact, due to the car’s late arrival we can expect an updated model sometime next year (2023) which might see a second engine and gearbox option.

While the motor and gearbox is on-par with the segment leader, the VW Polo it is slightly down on power, even when compared to the likes of the other Frenchie in the boxing ring, the Peugeot 208. Nevertheless the Clio feels nippy, responsive and eager, just plan your overtaking manoeuvres in advance.

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Those who are stressing about the imminent fuel price hike will be pleased to know that the Clio has a claimed fuel consumption of 5.7L/100km. Our correspondent did admit that he was in Sport mode most of the time as it offers a sharper throttle response, thus only managing a 7.0L/100km consumption figure.

It is also worth mentioning that the model driven at the launch was the top-spec Intens with the options pack. The option pack adds front parking sensors (all models have rear sensors), a reverse-view camera, 17-inch diamond-cut alloys, a slightly bigger (9.3- instead of 9.0-inch) touchscreen and a wireless charging pad.

Overall the new Clio V is a delightful offering within the segment. It ticks all the boxes in terms of design and technology. The ride quality is also decent, albeit slightly more on the sportier side and the motor is able to get a move on when needed. We however like to see an automatic because not every trip includes the sublime Franschhoek mountain pass.

Renault Clio pricing (February 2022)

1.0 Turbo LIFE - R309 900

1.0 Turbo ZEN - R324 900

1.0 Turbo INTENS - R349 900

Follow Justin Jacobs on Instagram: @thejustbin