Au revoir: A South African's 8 months with a Renault Clio

Cape Town - So just what are potential buyers of Renault’s only automatic Clio in store for?

We’ve been running one for the past eight months, covering 10 000km in the process. Here’s what we learnt along the way… 

Replacing a 0.9-litre three-pot turbo Clio GT-Line, our 1.2 EDC was delivered with just over 100km on its odo. Parking it for the first time revealed its weakest attribute: an inability to inch forward or back with any finesse.

Old-ish gearbox

Blame it on the first-gen dual-clutch transmission and the electronics governing it. But hey, as long as you’re not a parking-perfectionist freak, you’ll get along just fine with Renault’s six-speed EDC gearbox.

Changes on the go are quick and mostly seamless, and it’s no hunter, provided you’re not erratic with your throttle inputs.

READ: Sporty Clio GT-Line arrives in SA

After the somewhat laggy three-cylinder, the 1.2-litre turbo four felt far livelier, an impression that only improved as we racked up the kilometres. It’s a great motor, and relatively frugal too.

Ups: Punchy yet efficient motor, great media connectivity    
Downs: Low-speed refinement, not comprehensively equipped   

We recorded a best consumption of 6.55L/100km, with the Clio averaging just over 7.2 overall. I’ve no doubt that a figure in the high sixes will be a reality for many owners - not bad for a turbocharged automatic hatch with 88kW/190Nm under foot.    

Early on, an odd steering noise at parking speeds was diagnosed as ‘faulty strut bearings’ which were replaced under warranty, eliminating the noise permanently.

Dynamic traits

In the terms of dynamics, the Clio steers well, handles well and rides ok; it can be quite fidgety off the freeway. Used mostly as a family ferry, I’d have preferred plusher suspension settings.

My daughter would have preferred a more conveniently positioned USB port, but loved the easy functionality of Renault’s excellent Media Nav Evolution touchscreen system. She was less enamoured with the rear compartment’s manual window lifters while I bemoaned the fact that the Expression-spec powered front windows do not have a one-touch function and really missed automatic head lights.

READ: Renault Clio 4: All about passion!

Perhaps a case of familiarity breeds content, but my initial perception that the Clio was a little short on mechanical polish diminished as the months passed. It has proved itself a loyal companion and a perpetual looker.

Running stats

Odo reading at start/now: 120/9361km
Distance covered: 9241km
Fuel consumed: 667.48l
Average fuel consumption: 7.22 litres/100km
Service interval: one-year or 15000km
Service cost: Covered by three-year or 45000km service plan
Total fuel cost: R7989.96
Running cost: 87c/km
Cost then: R234 900

Cost now: R254 900

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