We’re all aware how large supermini models are these days, aren’t we?
For drivers looking to downsize to save money on benefit-in-kind tax bills, a supermini is no longer a compromise too far. Interior space to accommodate four adults and a range of larger capacity engines make these cars far more suitable for a traditional fleet role than being simply a pool car or urban runabout.
The Renault Clio is a prime example of this trend, and now there is a new version with even more space inside. The Sport Tourer is a grandly-titled Clio estate and follows along the lines of the Peugeot 207 SW.
It offers 50% more luggage space than a conventional Clio hatchback (439 litres with the rear seats up and 1,277 with them down, compared to 288/1,028) yet retains that car’s manoeuvrability without expanding its footprint too much.
It’s also a relatively cost-effective solution for Renault because it is only from the C-pillar back that the Sport Tourer differs – everything else is stock Clio.
Renault expects the Sport Tourer to account for 15% of
Clio sales, but in the fleet arena this will reach 40% thanks to downsizers looking for cheaper motoring.
And the 117g/km CO2 emissions of the 1.5 dCi 86 mean that drivers can slot into the lowest 13% benefit-in-kind tax band for diesels. As a result, it will cost a base rate taxpayer just £29 a month in company car tax.
Behind the wheel
As the Sport Tourer is based on the Clio, it shares that model’s driving dynamics. The controls are light, the interior neatly packaged – all adding up to ease of operation.
The 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel engine delivers 86bhp through a five-speed manual gearbox, which makes a decent job of pushing the Clio along. The handling is on a par with the hatchback version while the ride is comfortable.
The extra space in the boot area is welcome, although the rear window is steeply raked which robs this car of offering even more boot space. Obviously, the stylists’ demands for not spoiling the car’s looks won through.
This is a valuable addition to the Clio range. More space means more practicality, while low running costs will appeal to fleet managers. Drivers looking to save money and downsize from a lower-medium model will not feel short-changed.
* For contract hire rates go to comparecontracthire.com