“ Reliable, affordable and relatively nippy, especially considering the engine size. May be a little compact for some people and obviously lacks the features of more modern cars. „
My last good car was an ebay special. The car was advertised with a buy it now price of £450 so I offered £325 as a laugh really. Next moment a counter offer of £350 is made by the advertiser. I accept this offer straight away even though I am still bidding on five other cars and with a highest bid on two of them.
The car looks good in the picture and is the same colour as one of my previous Renaults a 21 GTX which cost £315 and I kept for nearly 18 months. The description is limited but still I book my ticket to Brighton to go pick the car up at the weekend.
When I get to Brighton I realise I have forgotten to bring the sellers phone number and address with me. I have the street name but not the number so have to walk up the street to see if I can see the car. Lucky for me the seller sees me walking up the road and comes out and takes me to the garage where the car is safely locked away.
It starts first time and when I look over it I am amazed as it is in perfect condition not a mark on it inside is spotless also but for a smell of old car. Opening the bonnet it is all good. A nice clean engine only a small oil leak spoils the picture. I had over the three hundred and fifty pounds to the owner and away I go.
Insurance is one reason I have got this car. Also the previous owner wanted to give it to his nephew but he was quoted £4000 for insurance mine come in at nearly £600 that is with three years no claims bonus so a 70% reduction. I thought there was a recession on! It is the same price as my previous car a Saab 900.
Driving the car home to London it runs perfectly easily hitting seventy mph I keep the speed down to sixty most of the way. It all works well the 1.2 litre engine as enough power to get me up hills without a problem. Handling is good along with road holding it is like a go kart.
I had wanted an automatic and a three door but the manual is not really any problem although all my driving is around town the clutch is a bit heavy but I can live with it. The power steering is excellent and what you need around town. The car starts easily and runs smoothly my first tankful of petrol has now been used and I have managed about 31 mpg.
The car came with a few receipts stating the front brake pads are new along with a new alternator the previous owner told me it had just been serviced and he included a new belt.
The old car smell has gone after a week so may be it was an old garage smell. I looked forward to driving the car for a long time however it only lasted eight months and three thousand miles. The clutch cable went after every thousand miles meaning it needed a new clutch at a cost of £300 that was a no no. I was offered £120 scrap and took it.
It was only one week into a new MOT and two months into new road tax and just had a £100 service. At £350 and the extra £290 of repairs minus the £120 scrap price the total was £520 plus petrol at 30 mpg so 100 gallons at £6 a gallon is £600 so £1120 to drive 3000 plus miles about 30p a mile in total but forgot insurance £50 a month 15p a mile 45p a mile in total.
After having 3 unreliable cars, I had the chance to buy a 3-door renault clio biarritz 1998 from a friend of one of my relatives for £500. I done my research on it first before buying it and I must say, in the 6 months I have had it, I have not been dissapointed and I love it!
The Clio is Renaults best selling model and they say that their cars are not just uniquely interesting cars, they are uniquely safe ones. They need to be with my driving!
It is so reliable and starts first time everyday which is excellent for me because of my job and I also love to travel. During the last 6 weeks, I have drove it over 140 miles to Minehead and last week, I travelled over 200 miles up North and back and felt so comfortable and at ease in it - something I could never do in my last car.
It has some excellent features which I've never had in my previous cars. It has remote door locking and an engine immobiliser which means it will not start if left for 30 seconds, unless you use the remote key fob and lock/unlock the doors again. Brilliant! It also has a little alarm sounding device which sounds if Ive left the lights on and leave the car (habit of mine!). The petrol light comes on when I'm low on petrol and gives me just about 20 miles before it will run out. Excellent!
The seats are comfortable and the heating doesnt take long to heat up once I start the car. Its also excellent on petrol which is a bonus considering the price of fuel these days. Its a 1.2 so does really well and when I travelled just over 200 miles on the motorway, I had put in £25 to get it to half a tank of petrol and it used just half of that - about £12.50!
Now a few little issues - the wing mirrors are a little too big so if I'm parked near a busy road, I have to bend them in just in case someone knocks into them, which happened once as someone drove too near to the drivers door. Also, the boot has to be banged right down to make sure it shuts as it came open when I was driving, not long after buying the car. Embarrassing! And one final problem which I had heard about - sometimes, a part of the sunroof can leak in heavy rain and it can run into the remote sensor which is above the rear view mirror in the roof of the car. So far (touch wood!), mine hasnt, even though Its been out in really heavy rain on a number of occasions. The engine doesnt sound bad at all; sounds just right but not exactly quiet but I can't grumble for a car thats 13 years old! It just runs so smoothly!
So, to sum this up - a great, safe, reliable car, cheap on petrol, economical and enjoyable to drive! Yes, I love it!!!!
I had one of these a few years ago as my first car, and subsequently passed it onto my girlfriend as her first car too. She sold it a few years ago for £300, and I wish to this day that we had kept it - thats how much we both loved it!
We had the 1.4 Les Routiers 5 door edition - to this day I'm not exactly sure what the Les Routiers part added to the car, but there you go!
The first comment I would make is that this car is actually deceptively big - I'm 6 ft 5 and never had any problems with legroom or comfort whilst driving - not something which could be said for cars I have owned of the same size since! The Clio 5 door will easily take 5 adult passengers in relative comfort, whether or not the same can be said on the 2 door model I'm not sure.
The model we had came with electric front window, power steering, fancy patterned seats, and not much else! I installed an aftermarket CD player as an upgrade.
In terms of driving, this is a nice car to drive - we both took it on long journeys and always found it pleasant and reliable, as well as cheap and economical.
My only problem came when the Cam belt went, and I needed to install a reconditioned engine, but even this only cost £300.
Overall, for a first time car this was brilliant, and to this day I wish we had kept it for a bit longer.
I had my M reg 1.4RT 5 door clio for 8 years before it gave up the ghost one winter morning, but I loved it so much I replaced it with a V reg equivilent.
For its price and fuel economy I believe the Cilo to be the best car in its class, it looks reasonably sporty on the outside and has an adequate interior with enough space for a family of 2 or three.
Both of mine were very reliable with the M reg only not starting once in the 8 years I had it, and that was for a flat battery.
Although the top speed is somewhat limited due to the engine size its very nippy and I regularly beat more sporty cars from a standing start at the lights, however they would cruise past after about 50 meters.
Its a great car to drive with quite a soft suspension, coupled with PAS that help cornering and going over potholes a breeze.
One problem that is well documented is that on the petrol versions the head gasket has a tendency to blow so be aware of any liquid leaking from the engine as this may be the first signs of it happening.
The interior whilst a little basic does the car justice for its small price tag, with the cloth seat very comfortable however mine did not have rear headrests which I thought was quite dangerous.
Another point to note is that the bonet is prone to being pushed back to easily if you are involved in the slightest of nudges and therefore its probably not the safest of cars if you are involved in a car accident.
Having said all this, if I was still on the same budget I would go for another clio without even looking as to what else was on the market, a great reliable and fuel economic car.
Ive currently own a Renault Clio 1.2 Prima and have had it for nearly 3 month and is my first car.
I currently had my heart set on having a Vauxhall Corsa as my first car because Ive looked at the insurance and they are cheap to be insured on and cheap to buy the part but my brother and I looked at every car dealer in the city but just couldnt find one in my price range or the price was the right but the CC was too powerful meaning my insurance would be sky high, eventually we went to this small car dealership to see if he had any Vauxhall which suprise suprise he didnt but we saw a white Renault Clio and it was 1.2 (the perfect CC for my insurance due to my age) and it was in our price range. Because it is a 1994 car we thought the mileage would be very high but when we looked at it, it had only done 19K miles. We asked the man why is the milage so high and he said that this old lady owned it had she had kept it in her garage for 7 years and then this young girl bought it off her and she kept it for a year and sold it to them. The car is immaculate condition and looks brand new. We knew that this was the car because of the mileage this would last me for years and years. The price on the car said £695 but the man said if you pay me cash we will call it £600 so we thought that was a bargain, a 19K mileage car for £600.
The day I got it I went for a drive around the city in but and it was driving fine but then I went to step of the brake and it went all the way to the floor and the car would brake slighty and come to a long distance stop. This was a very frightening experince and nearly crashed because of it but then it went back to normal and the brake started to work again. I took it to my girlfriends dad who use to own his own mechanics garage and he checked it all over but couldnt find anything wrong with it and to this day its bin fine.
Its very comfortable inside the car and all the interior looks new. Its has 4 gears and doesnt have a rev meter but I dont care because its just my first car to get me to A to B and to build up my experience.
In conclusion it is a very nice car and treat well it will last years and years.
Before I start, I need to make it perfectly clear that I am not a car buff, I don't know all the 'techy' words for the different specifications and I have no intention of going into horse power (or whatever it's called) or any other of those terms that would make me sound as if I knew what a cam belt really did. What I am going to do is share my experience of driving my '95 Renault Clio 1.2 Oasis and why I picked this particular car when I was looking for a small second-hand car for getting around town.
===Why the Clio?===
When my partner and I decided to look for a second car neither of us exactly knew what we should be looking for, but I did have a few ideas. I wanted a smallish hatchback with a fairly small engine, I really didn't want to go above 1.4 because I know this means my insurance is going to cost quite a lot less, the tax would be cheaper and petrol consumption would hopefully be lower. We also had quite a small budget so we knew that we wouldn't be able to afford anything released in the last 10 years or so. So when we saw a '95 Renault Clio advertised for a very reasonable £350 with 4 brand new tyres, 6 months tax and 10 months MOT, that it was definitely one to look at.
My particular Clio (now named Tony) is a 3 door petrol model in racing green, it has a sunroof (which is handy for summer), the windows are all manual, there is no power steering, in other words it is very basic, there are no fancy extras at all (not even air bags). But the paintwork was in very good condition with no rust at all, which is amazing considering it's age and I fell in love with Tony at first sight. The test drive did nothing to dampen my feelings, I've driven cars both with and without power steering, and to be honest Tony was a little harder to steer than cars with power steering. But not that much, I found he was easy to manoeuvre, in both forward and reverse gears, the engine sounded good when I revved it, the clutch was responsive and the brakes were very effective. And so we decided to take the plunge and became Tony's proud new owners.
===Getting Tony On The Road===
Obviously before I could drive Tony I needed to get him insured. Now I'm not sure of which group he's in, but as a 37 year old woman with 5 years no claims, I can tell you that it cost me less than £130 to insure him at fully comprehensive level for a year, which I feel is very reasonable and am sure is at the lower end of insurance premiums. As I've already said Tony was taxed when we bought him, but when it does come to re-taxing him in the next month, he does fall into the lower band and will cost us £125/year at today's prices.
Although I don't know very much about car maintenance, I do know how to check the oil, water, and tyre pressure and how important it is to do this regularly. It's easy to find the dipstick and therefore check the oil, I have owned cars where finding the dipstick is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It was similarly easy to find where to add more oil and water, what did take a little longer was finding where to add screen wash as that was hidden under a plastic grill.
===Out And About===
Now I'm very short (5'1) and have to push the driving seat almost to it's most forward position no matter what car I'm driving and there have been times when even with the seat as forward as it'll go I still can't comfortably reach the pedals. No such problem with Tony, I have no trouble reaching the pedals and there's still a gap between me and the steering wheel. Being a very basic model means the wing mirrors all have to be adjusted manually, but as I'm the only person to drive Tony this wasn't really a problem after I'd got them right the first time. The steering column is also fixed but again this doesn't actually bother me that much, it would be nice to raise it a little but it's perfectly usable where it is. I would say that my driving position is quite low and there are occasions when I'm blinded by cars coming in the other direction, especially when going down a hill. Comfort wise, for the short distances that I drive (upto 30 miles at a time), I guess it's ok, but I think that I'd need breaks in any journey longer than that to stop my bum going numb.
Tony starts first time, every time, there are other (much newer) cars in the same car park that stutter before they start, but not Tony, one turn on the ignition key and he comes to life. All the controls are logically set out, with windscreen wipers on the right side (unlike Nissans) and indicators and lights on the left. The hazard lights are easy to find, as is the rear windscreen heater, the fans and heaters work extremely well, cooling the car in hot weather and when set to warm the clear a misted windscreen within minutes. I do have a niggle with the wipers, in that if there is a setting for intermittent then I can't find it, but it is possible to get the wipers to operate just the once by putting a small amount of pressure on the control. I also find the horn to be in a less than ergonomic position and have occasionally hit the middle of my steering wheel instead of pushing the light control in.
When actually driving Tony he can be deceptively nippy on level or downhill roads, there are times when I've shocked myself when glancing at the speedometer and realising I'm doing 10 over the limit. Talking of the speedometer, it's not exactly accurate at under 35mph as the needle tends to 'wobble' when between 25 and 35mph. Where Tony does struggle is going uphill, he can't take any but the gentlest of slopes in 5th and occasionally struggles in 4th, with a noticeable drop in speed. He does, however, handle very well and seems to grip the road very well even when taking quite sharp bends at speed. I've not noticed any instability is higher winds either. He is also easy to park, reverse round corners and do 'three point turns' with, the clutch is responsive without being overly touchy and it's easy to find biting point.
===Not That Spacious===
There's no denying that Tony is a small car, although there enough seatbelts for 4 passengers (plus the driver) I would say that only 3 very small passengers will fit in the back. Two is more realistic, and whether they have enough leg room depends on how far back the front seats are. Anyone sitting behind me has loads of leg room, but there's a lot less behind my partner. Due to the fact that Tony only has 3 doors it can be quite awkward fitting a car seat in the back, they do fit, but when I need to use one in 6 months time I won't be removing it between journeys if I can help it.
There isn't an awful lot of room for luggage in the (hatchback) boot either, a folded down pram will fit but then there's not a lot of room for anything else. The boot certainly isn't big enough to hold anything but the smallest dog, so it's not suitable if you like to take your dog on car rides. I can, however, fit all my shopping in the boot as long as it doesn't contain anything else, and I have taken Tony to boot sales as the back seats can be lain flat, doubling the available space.
Tony isn't a particularly hungry car, it only costs just under £40 to fill him right up and then he doesn't need filling again for ages. As I said earlier. Tony is a second car and is really only used for fairly short journeys around town. The maximum journey made in him is a 32 mile round trip, so he doesn't really get long runs where the fuel efficiency is better. Even so in the last couple of days I've made that 32 mile journey twice and used less than ¼ of a tank, so Tony works out pretty cheap to run, certainly cheaper than if I'd used public transport.
===When Tony Got Sick===
About a month after buying Tony, he developed a very noisy and annoying problem. He was fine in the morning, but by the afternoon the engine became very noisy and he was taking a long time to pick up speed, especially after changing gears. Although I don't know much about cars, I knew enough to realise that there was something wrong with the clutch and that Tony was very ill indeed. On taking him to a garage I was in for a very big shock, even though a new clutch would only cost £70, it would take them 6 hours to change it and I was quoted £500. Apparently this was due to the fact that the clutch was 'boxed in' and they had to virtually take the car apart to get at it. Thinking that the garage had seen me coming I refused to let them do the work and it was eventually done by a friend of a friend, but yes it did take that amount of work and I still ended up forking out £300 including labour.
The Renault Clio Oasis is a fairly reasonable car, especially for the price I paid for it. It runs fairly well, is mostly reliable and is cheap to run and insure. While not the most comfortable car I've ever driven, it's not the most uncomfortable either. Although not really suitable for longer journeys or as a first car for larger families, it suits the purpose for which we bought if perfectly. As a small second car to allow me to get round town, making shortish journeys it does exactly what I need. I would also say this would make a great car for someone that's recently passed their test and isn't looking for anything too fancy as it is fairly cheap to insure. The only thing I would say is watch out for the clutch because if it goes it does cost an awful lot to replace.
1997 Renault Clio MK1 1.4 RTBought for £750 with 65,000 miles in absolutely mint condition, my first car is immense!Nippy, Light, Agile, Chuckable and Sporty and yet Comfortable, Economic (if driven right), Reliable and Relatively Safe. I have fitted a K&N Air Filter and some alloy wheels and the car has a meaty stance and a throaty soundtrack. In Summary I wouldnt swap this car for anything, and in comparison to freinds reviews of their own cars (Fiests MK4, Polo 6n and Peugeot 106) a better car.Well done Renault, You did well with the MK1!
I passed my test in a very funky 2001 renault clio, and when a friend of mine offered me the chance of my own for £500 i jumped at the chance regretably i wish i hadnt. The model was very different from the one i had passed in, it was heavy to drive, compared by some as heavy as a larger vehicle, it wasnt partiuclarly comfortable to drive and was very slow at picking up speed making pulling away from a junction hard work and motoway driving even more so.
The controls on the vehicle were heavy and unless you put your foot right down to the floor on the heavy pedals gear changes could be difficult.
Aside it being a rather nice car to look at i have very little positive to say about it, in the six months i owned the vehicle i encountered a number of electrical problems, was slow, boring to drive and generally just uncomfortable. The interior was nice but very little space for storage and the added weight of passengers but alot of pressure on the all ready slow moving vehicle, was often cold took a long time to warm up of a morning and was generally disappointing.
As far as running costs go, insurance was moderate, yet the unleaded petrol engine at that time did not much differ in price to a diesel and with honesty a diesel engine would probably have given the vehicle more power.
Overall do yourself a favour and get another.
I bought my 1997 1.4 RT 3-door in 2005 with 60k miles on the clock. I owned it until 2008, when it was sold with 96k miles. It had one previous owner, full dealer service history, and was immaculate when I bought it and when I sold it.
The RT comes with Electric windows, electric mirrors, electric sunroof, power steering, body coloured bumpers, front fog lights, driver's airbag, seatbelt pretensioners, six-speaker stereo with steering-wheel controls and remote central locking/immobiliser.
The interior is a pleasant enough place to be, if a little unispiring. There is plenty of storage space, the controls are well positioned and the dials are easy to read and well thought-out. The seats are very adjustable, and manage to be both supportive and very confortable, although the driving position is a little odd, seeming to favour a 'sit up and beg' position. There is plenty of space for five adults, with ample legroom in the backm although headroom is a problem for taller passengers. The boot is surprisingly large and the rear 60/40 seats fold flat. The six-speaker stereo is very good quality for the class and the steering-wheel controls are nice and user-friendly.
On the whole the interior is very well thought-out, with nice little touches such as the interior light staying on for a few seconds after you shut the door. There are, however, some issues, such as the tendency for the front seats to come down on top of the seatbelt plugs after letting someone into the back (on a three-door model).
The Clio is a good-looking, if slightly plain, car. The colour-coding and front fogs really set it off, although the cheap wheeltrims leave a lot to be desired. The durability is excellent - mine had no rust at all when I sold it, and the bright red paintwork had not faded or blemished at all, despite living outdoors all its life. The Phase 3 headlamps and bumpers updated the look of the MK1 clio nicely.
The RT has a 1390cc 8valve engine that develops 75bhp. It is willing and smooth revving, if not exactly blistering, and goes very well with the long-ratio 5-speed gearbox. The gearbox itself is slick, although the clutch is stiff and quite heavy, and the brakes are firm and full of feedback but do have a tendency to lock up quite easily. The steering light enough for town, but has enough weight for faster driving as well.
As said, the Clio isn't the fastes car in its class, nor is the handling very sharp. However, the long-ratio 'box and supple ride make for a surprisingly capable motorway cruiser, whilst the direct steering makes for a car that is enjoyably chuckable in the corners. The engine pulls nicely, and the car is nice and refined at motorway speeds, with minimal road and wind noise compared to similar small cars.
Visibility is very good all-round, and parking would be a doddle if it wasn't for the surprisingly poor turning circle and stiff clutch.
Like many French cars, the build quality is a little suspect. Most of the mechanicals and interior are pretty sturdy, but mine suffered from the common leaking sunroof, which let water into the interior light and shorted out the immobiliser switch, leaving me unable to start the car. It also had an insatiable appetite for front wheel bearings (I went through three sets!) and various electrical niggles that seemed to come and go at random. There were no other on-going issues, but I had a string of small things that needed attention - I don't think mine lasted more than three months at once without something going wrong.
Insurance is reasonable, the model I had is group six, and tax is £120 a year. I consistently got 300 miles to a tank. Service parts are hideously expensive from Renault, although there is a wide variety of pattern and second-hand parts available and it is relatively easy to work on for the DIY mechanic, if a little cramped in the engine bay.
If you can live with the niggly faults and trips to the garage, this is a great little car for the money. Resale values are strong as they are popular with young drivers - I sold mine for £950, £50 less than I had bought it for three years previously. It is certainly one of the best cars in its class. I still miss mine.
This was the first car that i ever owned and i absoloutely loved driving round in it. I had the 1.2 litre engined version which was extrememly economical and reliable. The interior of the car was actually extrememly nice indeed. I had the three door version which mean that the space in the back was not very good at all. It was always a bit cramped for passengers.
The boot space was not too bad at all actually and there was plenty of space to put shopping or anything else that you wanted to pop in the back. The car came with a radio cassette player as standard. The system was not all that great and the speakers in the back tended to crackle rather badly when the music was a little loud. The extrior of the car was really nice indeed. Although the car didn't come with alloys as standard the overall appearance was very nice indeed. My car also cme with fog lights. Which really added driving in dangerous conditions.
Overall i would say that this car was a very good first car to have. It is cheap reliable and great fun to drive. Thumbs up i would say.
I had a 98' Renault Clio 1800 16v.
I bought it as a gap car, after my friend had a red one a few years earlier and it was great until it was wrote off.
It was black with 80 thousand miles on th clock.
To say this car was fast is an understatement! A real pocket rocket! As standard it had electric mirrors, electric windows, electric sun roof, power steering, and ABS.
As standard the engine is 137 BHP, with 0-60 in 7.7 seconds! Top speed is 130 mph. There is the Williams edition if you have a few extra pounds with 150 BHO, 0-60 in 7 seconda and Top speed over 130 MPH.
My clio did have a few niggles. The boot didnt lock from the outside for some reason? The sun roof leaked, which is common, but it needed new seals. And the power steering pump was noisey. This also needed replacing.
In all, it was a great little sporty hatch for next to nothing!
Would recommend as a track day toy
The L-reg clio 1.4 RT was purchased from a friend of friend who I trusted for £500. Averaged size hatchback, 1.4 so nippy unless laden with 3+ passengers/luggage. Good fuel consumption, up to 350miles per fuel tank. Generally a good little car.
I brought this car as a cheap replacement for my first run-around. The clio is comfortable car for short/medium journeys, seat suck u in (with their funky patterns) and create a good driving position. However on long (3+ hours) journeys seat become hot and car interior heating is below satisfactory.
The space is a compromise between front and back seats, unless a v short-legged family (or children), either the driver or passenger behind the driver has limited legroom. Would not recommend having 5 people in the car, as performance is limited and space is non-existent. Having more than 3 grown up people in the car will lead to discomfort and some loss of acceleration etc. But that is to be expected with small to medium sized hatchback cars.
Steering is assisted and helps the handling, although being a small car this is not too much of a problem. Handling is good, tho it is not built for anything like high speed cornering - surprising for an old small hatchback... not.
The fuel consumption is pretty good, doing 330-350 miles per tank of unleaded petrol, averaging over 35-40 miles per gallon. I end up doing 15000 miles a year, although most of that is in small 20 mile chunks, but the consumption is good. I do a lot of the mileage with a roof rack (Thule) on top of the car and this visibly reduces MPG, especially when further laden with equipment on top. Road tax and insurance is pretty cheap with this size car. I've just managed to get fully comp insurance at £280 with 2 years no claims with Admiral. Road tax is.... £120 a year?? Something like that.
Usual safety features such as central locking, immobiliser (lock located in glove box). Safety belt are adequate although the central back seat passenger is only a lap belt and not really adequate in this model. In addition the far side back seat belt is malfunctioning with a button in belt being on the wrong side of the buckle and hence not functional and hence a safety issue when carrying more than 3 passengers.
Regarding reliability this little car has been good to me. There have been some minor problems picked up in MoT's but nothing to require additional work. Tyres replaced, starter motor changed, wipers etc etc in the last 18 months. Usual wear and tear, but nothing serious. I think I was lucky to find such a reliable version, prob due to me knowing the previous owner who had had the car since new (full service history from 1 garage), with low mileage (72k when brought) for such a car.
The RT version is a better looking model than the RN, however newer models have a better, stylist look. Despite this, the look of this older version are pretty good, stylist interior (but not comfortable for long journeys). Especially with my car are the ever-popular British racing green (although it doesnt do much of the racing and isn't very British, it is definitely green!). RT also has controls for radio on column stick, which makes it much safer than RN version. Electric windows still working fine (only on front windows) after ... 12 years, so good news. Sunroof is good, tho it does rattle a bit which is annoying.
Good little hatchback with no big problems- small, efficient, not very powerful. Well-equipped little car (electric windows, central locking, immobiliser) that for its age is dependable. I recommend this car if history is know and u are not expecting too much.
My first car was, or more specifically, is an L-Reg Clio 1.4 RT, second hand, and although it does have it's ups and downs, like any hatchback does, it is predominantly a good drive.
Comfort - this is one of the first things you can analyse from a car, and the Clio comes out well. It's seat patterning appears to be from the Picasso sketchbook (not that that hinders the comfort mind!), but the seats are shaped perfectly and produce optimum comfort for the driver and passengers
Space - this is always a touchy subject with hatchbacks, due to the simple reason being the lack of it! Although the front seats are adjustable, and therefore the space for those two in the car is fine, if people are in any of the rear three seats, particular grown-ups, they mind find it uncomfortable, and be mighty relieved when the journey is over! Although in all honesty, there are worse options for space in the hatchback market, so I'll try not to discredit the Clio too much here!
Handling - power steering is in driving terms, one of the best things since sliced bread - which supports the Clio no end. It stays to the road well, helped of course through it's low centre of gravity and reacts just as you would expect it to when called upon.
Fuel consumption - I often make small journeys in my car through a town centre, say to-and-from college, so therefore that instantly uses a lot of juice. But considering it is only a 1.4, it will bear you in good stead, and if the accelerator is treated with some dignity and respect, you won't need to visit the fuel pump all too often!!
Safety - the Clio has all your standard safety mod-cons, like central locking and anti-lock brakes. My model's rear centre passenger has only a lap-belt, but I do believe later models have a proper seatbelt.
Reliability - this is a let down. Since I brought the car, just over a year ago, the clutch cable has snapped, and the accelerator cable has come loose twice - and please note, I'm not that much of a boy racer!! This is a concern considering the costs of replacing and fixing
Looks - in my estimation, the Clio can hardly be beaten here. The model I have is it's strongest version I feel, rather than it's second and third versions. The RT version does also include a same-coloured lower bumper, unlike the RN model.
Extras - the radio and cassette player are controlled via the steering wheel so you don't even need to take your hands off the wheel to adjust the volume! Ensures your eyes are on the road! Also, central locking, dual driver controls for electric windows and power steering are present, which I believe aren't in the RN version of the same year.
So, in conclusion, the Clio is certainly a very capable and very well equiped hatchback. With it being a 1.4, rather than a 1.2 likes its RN cousin, it does have a bit more zip than say a 1.3 Fiesta, and they are in the same insurance bracket (for the L-Reg models anyhow). For a first car, like mine, I must admit I would struggle to find a better alternative.
I bought this to replace my dearly beloved (despised) 1989 VW Polo, and it's quite a culture shock to end up buying a car with electric windows and one that doesn't whine and rattle constantly.
The specification of the car is pretty good for a mid-'90s small car - front electric windows, retractable sunroof, foglights, remote central locking, colour-coded bumpers, four stereo speakers and power-assisted steering. In fact the only thing it could do with is a rev counter (why no rev counters on your older diesels, Renault?). In fact I probably hit the jackpot with this car considering nearly every diesel Clio I've seen has been a poverty-spec model.
Running costs are fantastic, the car gives 50mpg without even trying to drive economically; in fact I was doing the opposite. You could probably hit 55mpg if you drove with economy in mind. Parts and maintenance items are very cheap too. The only snag is insurance, at least for younger drivers. Insurance companies seem reluctant to give you a decent quote because they consider the engine size (1870cc) large - but surely the horsepower figure (65bhp) is more relevant? But I somehow managed to get it well under £1000 a year, despite only being 18, though with Pass Plus qualification. I guess that's what you get for not wanting the gutless lesser petrol versions.
The engine is more than adequate most of the time. Although the horsepower figure is low, the torque figure of 87lb/ft at low revs more than makes up for it. These are meagre figures for a 1.9-litre engine admittedly but it always feels full of guts. 80mph cruising is easy, but once you get over 90mph it starts to feel gutless. Apparently the top speed is 97mph but I haven't tried...
There have been no problems other than a reluctance to start on cold mornings/days, remedied by changing the glow plugs (£8 each from the motor factor), the speedometer is a little "nervous" below 55mph, the power steering reservoir wasn't holding its fluid but it's been sorted with a little power steering anti-leak formula. Reliability-wise I can't find the problem with Renaults that everyone else seems to have, my father had a '94 Clio 1.2 van and my grandfather had a '95 Renault 19D and they were faultless and never let them down.
The interior is pretty spacious considering my height (6ft. 3in.), and the smallness of the car. At a squeeze I could probably fit me behind me. It seems decently built with just one or two rattles (to be expected on any 10-year-old car). It's very comfortable too, but I'd have to try it on a really long journey just to be sure.
Handling-wise it's fantastic, you can hurl it into practically any corner at any speed you want and it'll work its way round with a little wag of its tail. It depresses me when I see lower-powered Clios with big, wide tyres - I'm sure they won't be having any of the fun I'm having on the tiddly standard 165-section tyres and 13" steel wheels. It's the only reason I'm resisting having alloy wheels, I'd rather not lose the handling delicacy.
It still looks decent, helped by the foglights and colour-coded bumpers - front-on it's almost an RSi or 16v, at least until you catch the five doors and 13" rims. It's refreshingly free of any dents or major scratches, but there is a little rust bubbling up (specifically at the bottom of the driver's door; common on Clios, watch out, and on one rear and one front wheel-arch).
The general design of the car is very good and the only thing that irks are the tiny offset pedals, but you get used to them.
To sum up it's a great economical runaround and would probably suffice as a long distance (I have a 400-mile round trip to Glasgow soon so I'll update then) car too. Although common (as muck), it still has a little character about it, and is much preferable to those paragons of blandness, the Vauxhall Corsa, and pre-96 Ford Fiestas.
I had a Clio Williams from 1998 to 2001, and I have to say that this is one of the best cars I have ever driven. I bought the car in 98 with 102,000 on the clock for £10k - that was cheap then, as most were going for in excess of £12k. I knew I would put a lot of miles on the clock, so didn't mind that it had already covered so many - at least I knew it hadn't been clocked! At 100k it had worn well, a few stone chips on the front - to be expected, but the engine sounded like new, and it had a full service history - meticulously maintained. In the time I had it, the car got seriously abused. It is a drivers car - handles like it's on rails, and has good accelleration too - although you need to rev it hard to get the best out of it. My other car was an Escort Cosworth, and while the clio was not as quick as the cossie, it handled almost as well, and was equally as much fun to drive - in some ways moreso, as you could throw the clio around more than the escort. By the time I sold it, the car had covered 180,000 miles, and had done trips to Scottish highlands twice, and also two trips around the costline of Ireland. On these minor roads, this car came into it's own. It's not too much fun on the motorway, as it's small, and not roomy, but on B-roads, it is unsurpassed. Mine was a Clio Williams 1 - it was individually numbered (no.303) and had electric windows, power steering, central locking, and a huge array of instrumentation. The seats were special design affairs for the Williams. Later Williams 2/3 models included extras such as sunroof, ABS, electric mirrors, but the Williams 1 is still considered the classic version. Mine was very robust, and reliable, given the beating it took, however, you should remember if buying one of these, that they're going to hit your wallet occasionally, and will not be as cheap to run as say a Clio RSi. Most of the parts are shared with the lesser Clio 16V
, which means that they are easy to get at places like halfords, and specialist breakers. If you have to buy from Renault - they are not the cheapest. Also, the car isn't too difficult to work on. Mine never saw a Renault dealer in all the time I had it - I got everything done at a local garage where labour rates are much cheaper. The things I had to replace in my time were: - Tyres - they come with £90-100 185/55/VR15 tyres. Change these to 195/50/VR15 tyres -not only do they improve handling, but are half the price! - Exhaust - the Renault one's don't last very long - change it to a stainless steel version - I fitted a magnex system - a bit noisier than the Renault, but much better, also about the same price at £250 complete. - Clutch - the original clutch finally gave up the ghost at 150,000 miles - which is fantastic wear. I got it changed at a local company who charged me £200 to replace it - much cheaper than Renault. - Cambelt - this is a big, big job, as it entails 5-6 hours of work. The belt itself costs about £40 (get a propper Renault one), the labour costs you. My local garage charged me £150 labour, Renault quoted £350+vat. - Suspension - gave up on Ireland's ropey road surfaces - but not too difficult to change nor expensive. - Downpipes & engine mounte - also gave up on Ireland's roads. The downpipe was expensive - £400 for the part, but cheap to get fitted. Engine mounts weren't too bad. - Alternator - died at about 140,000 miles - cost £150 fitted for an exchange unit from Halfords. When I sold it, mechanically it was still fantastic - and the engine still sounded like new. I used to use fully synthetic oil (5W/40) at every change (6000 miles service interval) and semi-synthetic (10W/40) to top up. There is an oil level guage in the cockpit - check this every time you start the car, cos these engines do consume oil! You'll probably find yourself using 2/3 litres
of good quality oil between each service. The car itself will return about 28mpg, which is not too bad. Unfortunately, the body had started to show it's age - rust on both rear wheel arches, the bonnet and tailgate. Also the lacquer on the wheels is very dodgy - all Clio's start to lose the gold effect - it flakes off, and leaves a nasty corrosion pattern behind. The wheels can be refurbished, but cost £200ish to be done, and cause you the hassle of changing all the tyres over. If you buy one, then they seem to go and go forever. Things to check are that the cambelt has been changed, and insist on getting one with full history. Main dealer may not be important, but good quality oil is. Check the bodywork for rust, and if all is OK, then I'd strongly recommend you getting a plastic film fitted over the rear arches, as these are flared compared with standard clio's and they get hit by stones kicked up from the front wheels - this is where the rust starts. Get the wheels refurbed unless they're perfect (most Halfords and tyre places offer this service).