Renault’s cute, curvy Clio shapes up as fine drive

Third-generation Renault Clio was curvaceous and easy on the eye, and just the right size for zippin

Third-generation Renault Clio was curvaceous and easy on the eye, and just the right size for zipping around town. - Credit: Renault

The Renault Clio has always been a popular supermini – easy on the eye, easy to drive and easy on the wallet when it comes to running one.

Used Car: Renault Clio (2005-09)

Engines – Even though you might be tempted by Renault's small-capacity diesel engines, for a small car like the Clio the petrol units are probably more appropriate – you'll need to cover a lot of miles to make the oil-burners pay.

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Exterior – The product of numerous tweaks and facelifts, this Clio is possibly one of Renault's best efforts at a time when conservatism ruled in the small-car market. Curvaceous and easy on the eye, this Clio is just the right size for zipping around town.

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Interior – Forget all the tales of shaky build quality, this Clio is a much better car on many levels over its predecessors. The good-sized cabin, supportive seats and upbeat ambience all compliment the Clio's breezy, fun personality.

Driving – Keen drivers might want to look elsewhere because, despite the Clio's rounded appeal, there are sharper handling cars from this era to choose from. That said, the compact French hatchback is safe, sensible and refined and it will also make the daily commute bearable and even longer excursions are enjoyable.

Ownership – The Clio is a simple car, with running costs and maintenance tasks on the low side by current standards. It's also a breeze to park and surprisingly spacious for a compact hatchback. Assuming you've secured a car for a sensible price, there's little extra to worry about here.

What to look for – Always check for parking damage on cars such as the Clio. Kerbed wheels are another important issue, as is the health of the engine, gearbox and clutch. While no longer a new car, a comprehensive service history is a considerable plus. Patchy history or incomplete paperwork should prompt you to walk away.

Model history – 2005, further improvements mark arrival of refreshed Clio range. Three and five-door cars offered, with range of petrol and diesel engines. Good range of standard kit plus wide choice of cost options available also.

Reasons to buy – Stylish looks, focus on safety provision, spacious cabin, easy to drive and live with.

Reasons to beware – Plenty of choice in this sector, tired city-centric cars, high-mileage examples, evidence of neglect and DIY servicing.

Pick of the range – Clio 1.2 16v Expression five-door.

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