Product Type: Renault cars
Newest Review: ... thought that I might struggle to get some of my friends in it, many of them over 6 foot tall, I'm 5 foot 11 myself and I can comfortably si... more
Renault Clio 1.2 3-door
Member Name: ns_87
Renault Clio 1.2 3-door
Disadvantages: Dangerous, many documented mechanical problems
I bought an 06 plate Renault Clio from new as I wanted a small and relatively economical car. Had I been writing this review last year I'd have been singing the praises of this car and wondering why French cars get such a bad reputation. That was until I fell victim to what I now know to be a relatively common problem (not that Renault has at any point sent me any warning or advice regarding this issue). I was on the motorway, driving at the speed limit, when a faulty bonnet catch allowed the bonnet to open of it own accord, smashing into the windscreen and completely blocking my vision. Luckily I managed to get the car over to the side of the road, but I dread to think how it could have turned out. A truly terrifying experience. The car was towed and a few weeks in the garage and £1900 of repairs later (replacement bonnet, windscreen and roof) it was returned to me. Not that I felt happy driving it. A quick Google search revealed plenty of documented cases of this happening, the matter has even been on Watchdog. Looks as though Renault take no responsibility for this, stating that if the catch is regularly greased (does anyone do that on their cars, regardless of make or model?), then there shouldn't be a problem. Just sounds like a severe case of sloping sholders to me.
I also had a friend who had a Clio 6 months older than mine that has just recently been blighted with electrical problems, fails to start and will often cut out when driving. He spent nearly £900 in the Renault garage trying to get it fixed, but it is still suffering with the same problems. It sounds as though these issues are also quite common.
However, in the interests of a fair review, I will highlight the good points about this car but I would never recommend that someone buys one first or second hand.
The car is very comfortable and quite nice to drive, even on longer trips. Although, as mine is a 1.2 engine it isn't fast or exciting, but that's to be expected with this sized engine. To buy either first or second hand they are quite cheap and mine has passed every MOT to date first time round (but it is only 5 years old). For a petrol car it is quite economical, I think I get about 45 mpg on average. There are many cars out there that are much cheaper to tax, but this one isn't so bad, about £130 for 12 months and it is also ok to insure.
For a small three door car I find that mine is quite roomy and the boot space is large enough to actually be of some use. However, this car is still small.
Summary: Not recommended, verging on the death trap