Good For: French commuter car. Toyota has the Corolla, and the French have the Renault Clio. The Clio has delivered a lot success for Renault over the years, and is the most popular sub compact cars in Europe. After spending a week driving it around British roads ranging from the M25 to rural B-roads, I can understand why. The small size is well suited to squeezing through narrow, one lane streets and bridges. The Iconic trim came with all the helpful tools for road trips, including navigation and CarPlay through the USB port. The 898cc 3-cylinder turbo with auto start-stop gently sipped gas more efficiently than any Prius I have driven.
Compromises: Renault shares Toyota's behaviour in remote keyless entry, and the car instantly unlocks itself if any of the doors, including the rear hatch, are left open. Americans would laugh at rear manual roll-up windows on a new car, though it gave an opportunity for my son to see and use such a novelty for the first time.
Overall reaction - Thumb down: The Clio has stayed up to date on all the functions of a small commuter car. The small displacement 3-cylinder engine has a surprisingly well-distributed power band, cruising comfortably in low rpms and delivers no complaints when dipping into the throttle and winding up to higher revs. But the pure work, no play feeling offers no inspiration, and the vibration from the 3 little cylinders are constant. While higher hot hatch trims may cater to more of the enthusiast audience, I can't imagine the Clio offering anything unique that would win us over from the familiar offerings from Ford, Mazda, Nissan, or even Kia and Toyota.