What is it like on the inside?
Excellent, in a word. This interior layout is leagues better than the old one, and the first thing you notice is the infotainment screen is stuck in the middle of the console portrait-style. On entry- and mid-spec cars this is a seven-inch unit, rising to 9.3 inches on top-of-the-range Esprit Alpine models.
Rotary knobs for air-con and ‘piano buttons’ for other functions are handily perched beneath, so Renault hasn’t fallen into the trap of putting all the functionality in a touchscreen. Volume buttons for the radio are an exception though, and these are annoying to operate on the move. Would a steering wheel scroller have been so difficult?
The gearstick is pushed up into the semi-floating console just below, there’s a seven-inch TFT instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. The layout is very clear although the information available is limited to speed, mileage, fuel economy, driving mode and very basic sat nav directions. E-Tech models also get a readout displaying battery charge, not that you’ll ever need to look at it.
The material quality is generally good and the seats are very comfortable, especially for taller drivers: the steering wheel is a touch smaller than before, for instance, with the steering column slimmed down to make more room for knees. You get the feeling that Renault has tried to hone this one along with the more obvious headline changes. You could argue the interior is the Clio’s high point, as you’ll almost forget that you’re in a supermini at all. Add the strong standard kit list into the mix and it’s very hard to go wrong.
One small but important point: non-hybrid versions of the Clio come with a 391-litre boot with the seats up, and while that’s more than some hatchbacks will give you, the hybrid E-Tech model drops this to 301 litres on account of the added electrical gubbins. That’s a painful hit. The loading lip is quite high too.