Renault Clio E-TECH hybrid review
The hybrid Renault Clio is a quiet yet punchy small car, with good electric running potential and comfortable ride quality
- Smooth and quiet
- Comfortable and well equipped
- Good electric range for a hybrid
- Ride is firm
- Powertrain feels restless
- Pricier than non-hybrid models
|Car type||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions||0-62mph|
The Renault Clio E-TECH is part of a wave of hybrid hatchbacks to arrive in recent years. Not that long ago, this was a very niche market, but revised tax rules, stringent emissions regulations and changing attitudes mean electrified cars are becoming more common. The latest versions of the Toyota Yaris and Honda Jazz are also hybrids, although traditional Clio rivals the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta remain holdouts for now.
Although it wears the same E-TECH badge as the Renault Captur SUV, the Clio is not a plug-in hybrid. Instead, it uses a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with two electric motors and a small 1.2kWh lithium-ion battery, producing 143bhp total. It's a similar setup to the Yaris, and it works well in a small car. The Renault emits between 96 and 97g/km of CO2 and returns fuel economy of 63 to 64mpg, depending on the exact trim level chosen.
It uses a clever Formula 1-derived clutchless gearbox that's complex enough to have two ratios for the main electric motor and four for the petrol engine, with 15 operating modes in total including the pure-electric one. That all sounds awfully complicated, but from behind the wheel, it's not – you just press the right pedal to go and the left one to stop, like any automatic-gearbox car.
You can't plug the Clio in to charge it: the battery takes energy from regenerative braking and the car’s forward momentum. It then uses this to run on electric power for short distances, at speeds up to 40mph. Renault says the Clio hybrid can be in electric mode for up to 80% of the time over the course of a typical urban journey – but the engine always has to come on at some point to keep the battery charged.
Elsewhere, the Clio's interior is as good as ever, which is to say it's one of the best in any supermini. On the downside, the 301-litre boot capacity, is down on the 391 litres of the petrol car, due to the presence of the battery pack. The hybrid is available in the full range of Evolution, Techno and R.S. Line trim levels.
So with that excellent real-world economy, stylish exterior and interior, decent practicality and good driving experience, the Clio E-TECH is a strong contender among the growing crop of electrified superminis. Keen drivers may prefer the more straightforward purely petrol engine, but there's no doubt the hybrid will win many fans. For a more detail look at the Clio E-TECH, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe hybrid Renault Clio is a quiet yet punchy small car, with good electric running potential and comfortable ride quality
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsAlthough it can't offer significant pure-electric running, the Clio hybrid nonetheless returns some pretty decent economy and emissions figures
- 3Running costs & insuranceGood fuel economy, a reasonable insurance rating and manageable company-car tax rates all count in the Clio hybrid's favour here
- 4Performance, engine & driveThe latest Clio is fundamentally a good car to drive, but the complex E-TECH hybrid drivetrain can leave it feeling a bit 'busy' in everyday motoring
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortA well finished and comfortable interior with the latest in-car technology is one of the highlights of the hybrid Clio
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Clio hybrid is pleasingly spacious for a supermini, with plenty of room for both passengers and luggage
- 7Reliability & safety ratingStrong crash-test scores and a long warranty are plus points here; Clio hybrid owners should have little to worry about