By Otsile Kadiege
Renault SA recently launched their all-new, fifth-generation Clio in Mzansi and I’ve spent some time with the newcomer which competes with local darlings that have cemented themselves into the hearts of South African consumers. Does the new French player have what it takes to trouble its German counterparts? Continue reading to find out.
In the year 2000, Renault SA introduced the Clio nameplate to the South African market. Throughout its time in Mzansi, the Clio has been quite a popular vehicle that also won numerous accolades globally, like the prestigious Car of The Year on two occasions – Clio I in 1991 and again in 2006 with the Clio III generation. Renault is ready for the next chapter with the fifth-gen Clio which enters the local motoring scene with seductive styling, modern technologies, the latest safety and driver assistance systems, and a frugal powerplant.
Seductive exterior design
Our test car is the range-topping, Flame Red metallic coated Clio Intens. Outside, this model boasts LED headlights with C-shaped daytime running lights (DRLs), two-toned 17-inch Viva Stella diamond-cut alloy wheels and aggressive-looking LED tail lights. Overall we like the new design, which reminds us of its older sibling – the Megane.
Inside, the Clio V has a prominent portrait 9.3-inch touch display with crisp graphics. It’s running on Renault’s intuitive and feature-packed Easy Link multimedia system that’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It’s flanked by a configurable 7-inch TFT digital cluster. Other interior highlights include mood lighting on the centre console and door handles, a decent sounding 6-speaker audio system. The tone of the speakers can be altered by selecting between numerous “Ambiance” presets including Club, Natural and Live which is my favourite. Build quality commendable thanks to a perfect blend of quality plastics and soft-touch materials.
Practicality, however, isn’t its strong suit as the rear bench has slightly limited legroom compared to its competitors and the seats are too upright for my liking. However, the fabric/leatherette seats are comfortable all-round and its luggage space is decently sized.
Out and about
Driving the Clio V was quite pleasant thanks to a frugal yet powerful 1.0-litre engine. I managed to achieve a respectable 5.8l/100km during my stint. The powerplant is let down by its 5-speed manual which reminded me of cars beneath its segment. Travelling on the highway is made much easier thanks to cruise control and lane departure warning. Its suspension is commendable and the cabin is well-insulated.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Clio has been greatly improved. We like its unique design, new technologies and the way it drives. To answer my earlier question, yes, it has what it takes to compete with its arch-rivals however Renault just needs to iron-out the manual transmission’s smoothness. Pricing for the Clio V Intens starts at R364,900.
As standard, the New Renault Clio model range comes with a 5-year/150,000km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. A standard 2-year/30,000km service plan applies.
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