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Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 106 Initiale Car Review | February 9, 2007

Driven February 2007

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People's expectations of small cars have changed so much in recent years. Time was when size was all that mattered. Now you need soft-touch plastics, a comfy ride... And a quiet diesel would never have appeared on the radar.

The new Clio is a small car for a new world. Not only is the diesel the engine of choice (well, actually, the 197 is my engine of choice, but I'm trying to make a sensible point here), but it now comes in 105bhp form as well.

More power is always good news and here it simply adds to the Clio's already impressive repertoire - the relaxed and refined engine also suits the little Renault's nature well.

Drive this and you don't feel like you are in a small car. This is the Clio's greatest trick, because it brings a level of finish and feel to this class that most previous contenders could only dream of. The engine's hushed at all points, even on a cold morning, and it doesn't get ruffled high up in the rev range, either.

The extra power (it's got 20bhp more than any other diesel Clio) adds a useful amount of punch, which comes in especially handy on the motorway. This car also comes with a six-speed manual, which helps makes long trunk-road journeys that bit more relaxing.

See how things have changed? We're admiring the motorway cruising ability of a supermini. How often would you have done that 10 or even five years ago?

Piers Ward

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