Fleet News

Road test Renault Clio 1.2 Dynamique 3dr



DOWNSIZING is one way of keeping company car tax bills to a minimum, but how do you convince drivers to get into a supermini from a family car?

For years, manufacturers have been telling us that their small cars have a 'big-car feel' and now at last we are beginning to see evidence of it.

For example, on the outside the Volkswagen Lupo is the size of the original Polo, and the new Polo, we are told, has the exterior dimensions of the original Golf. And superior packaging means the interiors have grown even more.

The latest Renault Clio attempts to outdo its rivals by offering a big-car interior while restoring 'va-va-voom' (whatever that might be) to drivers' lives.

I'm a big fan of Renault's latest Clio. The company has ditched the bulging eyes appearance which made the old car look like a toad, and has gone for a front end which hints at forthcoming radical cars like the Vel Satis and Avantime.

The Clio looks altogether happier, and it needs to be against some stylish competition in this sector. The Peugeot 206 - a Fleet News Award winner in 2001 - hasn't dated at all since it was introduced three years ago, while the Fiat Punto's clean lines and dynamic rear (especially in three-door form) are a joy to behold.

We have gone for a medium-spec Clio, in a part of the range which will make up the bulk of sales - the petrol-powered 1.2 16-valve Dynamique. Athough diesel sales in general are soaring in the UK and Renault has an excellent 65bhp 1.5 dCi Clio, soon to be followed by an 80bhp version, this is an area of the market with low fuel consumption and emissions, unlikely to be affected in the first few years of the new company car tax rules to be introduced in the UK in April 2002.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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