Clio with more to boot

by Steve WalkerThe idea of a Renault Clio with a bigger boot might not be enough to set your pulse racing but the Clio Sport Tourer makes plenty of real-world sense.

by Steve Walker

The idea of a Renault Clio with a bigger boot might not be enough to set your pulse racing but the Clio Sport Tourer makes plenty of real-world sense.

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Retaining the polished driving experience of the Clio hatch but adding useful extra cargo space, it's a great solution for family buyers who thought fun, low-cost supermini motoring went out the window as the stork flew in.

There's nothing to suggest that you're piloting an estate version once you're in the driving seat, the Tourer turning, gripping and accelerating with all the alacrity of its close relative.

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The engine range is comprised of five units and opens with a 75bhp 1.2-litre. Next comes the 1.2-litre TCe 100bhp turbocharged engine - possibly the star of the show - which has a vigorous turn of pace despite its small capacity. Then there's the 1.6-litre VVT-i with an automatic gearbox. The diesel is Renault's trusty 1.5-litre unit in 86bhp form, an appealing choice with good flexibility and exemplary refinement.

Doubts about whether the Clio Sport Tourer will be big enough to meet your requirements can be allayed to an extent by the fact that the Clio is one of the largest and more spacious superminis on the market. Only to an extent, however, because the Sport Tourer is still one of the smallest compact estates. The car is 4,202mm long which is just over 200mm longer than a standard Clio but it has an identical wheelbase of 2,575mm. This tells us that the extra capacity of the estate version has been achieved by hanging a bit more out behind the rear wheels. The pugnacious stance of the supermini has been lost in this process but the Sport Tourer's extra size has been well integrated into the clean lines that are unmistakably Clio. The crux of the whole Sport Tourer concept is the boot and with 439 litres available, it's 50pc larger than a standard Clio's. Fold the seats down and 1,277 litres is opened up.

The Sport Tourer's load area is well shaped and thought has gone in to making it easy to use. The rear seats split 60/40 and are simple enough to fold down. Renault claims that with the smaller section folded the Clio can still accommodate four adults with a load length of 1,450mm but the two adults in the rear had better be small ones. The sill height, at 581mm, is low enough to hoist heavy items on to and the boot comes with a clever underfloor compartment. This allows the load cover to be stored out of the way when not in use or can be opened-up to increase the load volume by 72 litres.

The Clio Sport Tourer comes in two trim levels - budget Expression and sporty Dynamique.

Think of the Clio Sport Tourer as a Clio with a bigger boot and you'll be very near the mark. Is that worth paying the premium Renault asks? Well, the Tourer's similarity to the hatchback in all respects bar its extra space makes it a very adept product, fun, frugal and refined. Add on the increased luggage space and you have an extra dimension with no real drawbacks.

For some, the space available won't be sufficient but if you can fit everything you need to inside, the Clio Sport Tourer will make a fine family companion.

PRICE: �12,226 to �15,797 on the road


0-62mph 11.2 seconds; top speed 114mph

MPG: 1.5 dCi, urban 37.2, extra urban 70.6; combined 64.2

EMISSIONS: 117 to 139g/km


WILL IT FIT IN THE GARAGE: Length 4,203mm; width 1,707mm; height 1,513mm

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