Product Type: Renault cars
Newest Review: ... 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... more
Clio Paris ? Silly name for a car ....
Renault Clio (1991-98)
Member Name: sidneygee
Renault Clio (1991-98)
Date: 05/08/01, updated on 24/03/02 (3589 review reads)
Advantages: Airy interior, Excellent brakes, Economical
Disadvantages: Sparse equipment, It's a Renault, 3 door model
Our elder daughter got the best deal. When she decided that she was in a position to buy a car, our 3-years-old Vauxhall Corsa (on which her sister and brother had also learned to drive) was just ready for 'disposal', so it was 'disposed' of to her at what I termed 'net' trade price. That is the price that I was offered in a part exchange, less the discount that I had been offered for buying the same new car for cash.
She thus received a car with no accident damage, regularly serviced, and at trade price, which I still service regularly (every 6 months, with all receipts kept). Our son (still a student) has his exploits with two Vauxhall Novas now well-documented on DooYoo.
Our younger daughter needed a car. She lives in a flat in the New Town area in Edinburgh with her sister and 3 others. Currently her workplace is at the Science Park at Roslin (that place where 'Dolly the sheep' was 'conceived'), so a car became essential.
Needless to say, what she really wanted is just not available at the price that she wanted to pay ("definitely no more than £2,500"), but I feel that we have a reasonable compromise with the Renault Clio 'Paris' that she has just bought with my advice and assistance. I tried to persuade her to buy a new car - which she could afford - and which is often available with free insurance - but she wasn't tempted.
This Clio was registered in January 1996 (N-registered) with 2 previous owners and has covered less than 22,000 miles from new with full service history). Only 7,000 miles were covered in the first 3 years by the
first owner (according to the MOT) and there was a copy of the bill of sale from the Renault main dealer in Glasgow to the second owner.
It was taken in part exchange against a Toyota MR2 at the Japanese Import Specialist Dealer where our son was working for the summer months. It is a 3 door model, in dark (non-metallic) blue, with vile-patterned upholstery.
The 'Paris' was a Special 'run-out' edition, since a new model was introduced in 1996 and it cost about £7,000 when new. It is based on the 1.2 RN model, with little in the way of 'extras'. This surprised me, having such an 'illustrious' name, but no air bag/no power steering/no fog lights/no sunroof (thankfully) and no airconditioning.
There is just a speedo and a fuel gauge with no water temperature gauge or rev-counter, but this will suit the non-technically inclined. It has door mirrors that can be adjusted from inside the car, and the (basic) radio/cassette player is hidden behind a hinged flap. There is a fag-lighter and ashtray and (unfortunately) the previous owner was a nicotine addict but there are no burns and the smokers' smell has been eliminated by a thorough cleaning.
As always with any second hand car from any dealer, I insisted that I should be able to examine it 'on the ramps'. This enabled me to have a good 'poke around'. Any accident damage is then easily visible and enables other faults to be assessed. There was no accident damage, but the brake discs were badly corroded and worn on the inner surface; an oil leak that was noticed on opening the bonnet was confirmed as coming from the cam-cover. More serious was the wear found in the off-side front wheel bearing which I thought would require replacement before the next MOT test. No corrosion problems (obviously), but such items as the brake pipes should always be checked carefully. All defects, apparent and actual, were pointed out to th
e proprietor of the garage, 'Mr Daley' (no that was Not his name!) with a lot of teeth-sucking and tut-tutting. (lol)
It is taxed until the end of June 2002, has an MOT until January 2002 and had its last service just before the MOT at 18,200 miles. The exhaust was replaced in September 1999. The front tyres look almost new but are not a well-known make (from Kwik-Fit, like the exhaust). The other three tyres are the original Dunlop and have plenty of wear left. The battery was replaced in January 2001 (at the last service) with a genuine Renault item. A small (unused) vial of Renault touch-in paint was also found in the glove box.
Initially it was advertised at £2695, but then dropped 2 weeks later to £2395, and we settled on £2325, on the basis of the visible essential work needed. He would not 'budge' any lower.
Unfortunately, the 'boss' declined to have our son valet the car in his work-time ("Part-exchanges are NOT valeted before sale" he said grumpily - apparently he does not usually have to 'bargain' so hard).
This price compared well with a 'straight' 1996 50,000 mile 1.2 RN 5 door Clio that I saw go through the Edinburgh Ingleston motor auction about 3 weeks before for £1950.
Initial Servicing and Repairs
The oil looked fresh, so an oil change was not considered necessary by me. An oil filter was bought for 'stock' and the wiper blades squeaked, so were replaced. The air filter and the spark plugs looked 'original'; the filter was dirty and the plugs showed signs of wear. The plugs used for replacement were the special Bosch 4 prong type. Straight, ordinary NGK plugs would have cost much less, but it is useful to try out these 'super' things, when 'others' are paying (;¬}] - lol.
Now, 'madam' has decided that she does want the oil change carried out (it is HER money ... I am just
the grease-monkey). This will be done today, using 'synthetic oil' (from Halfords - £16 for 5 litres of 5/40, when on offer recently, taking into account the discount).
The cam cover gasket was replaced and this seems to have solved the oil leak (which had been noted at the last 2 'services', but only the bolts 'tightened' to 'correct' the problem).
The brake pads had been replaced at the 18,000 mile service, but I put them in the bin when the new discs were installed with new pads. These pads had 'grooved badly, because of the corroded discs and I certainly have no faith in the ability of the Glasgow Main Dealer entrusted with the servicing and care of this car, who should have noticed the disc deterioration. One of the flexible brake hoses had been replaced at this last service, but the rubber on the other was slightly perished so, when the brakes were overhauled, this was also replaced and the old brake fluid drained off and renewed.
The discs, pads and aircleaner filter were bought from Halfords, and a £10 discount obtained (the in-store offer then available for purchases of oil and carparts over £50). The plugs/gasket/brake hose/oil filter were also bought together at Halfords (with a fuel filter for the Corsa added) and another £10 discount obtained. The brake fluid was bought from Renault. Replacement front wiper blades are available from Makro (a bargain at £9 a pair of 'Champion' blades) and Makro also sell the Haynes Service & Repair Manuals for £10.
The other work carried out was a thorough 'valet'. A small area of wear on the edge of the lower part of the front seat back-rest (the rivets on jeans are quite 'aggressive') was repaired by the resident seamstress (Heather).
Some small stains on the front seats were easily removed, and a thorough vacuuming, and shampooing of the carpets carried out, with the car mats removed and washed. A thor
ough wash and wax ... and hey it really looks brilliant !!!
But ... Ooooh, my shoulders still ache. It really could do with new front mats which have obviously been 'over-cleaned' in the past. But that front wheel bearing looks quite difficult to replace ("4 spanners" in the Haynes Manual*).
Costs so far
Aircleaner filter £9
Brake Discs £34
Brake pads £14
Bosch Plugs £20
Cam box gasket £4
Brake pipe £15
Oil filter £8
Brake fluid £4
Wiper blades £9
Haynes Manual £10
Oil filter £8
Total : £151
(less £20 discount)
Now, as an Espace owner for the past 8 years, I am not a great lover of Renault or Renault dealers. Mind you, I have similar feelings about Vauxhall dealers and even Mercedes Benz dealers are not as good as they ought to be (and don't start me on about Alfa Romeo or Fiat dealers !!).
However, there are certain features of this car that I will admit to finding relatively attractive.
The cabin gives plenty of shoulder room and there is an ample flat area on the dashboard for placing 'things'. The steering, although not power-assisted, is relatively light and certainly more acceptable than a Corsa without power-steering. ('Our' Corsa has power-steering).
The (5 speed) gearbox is light and positive and again better than the Corsa. The brakes were exceptionally good before they were overhauled, and they are at least just as good with the work carried out. If the work had not been carried out then there is a danger that the braking would have deteriorated.
Apart from the wear in the front wheel bearing, the speedo needle ‘waves around’ above 30 mph, apparently a sign that a speed sensor needs replacement at the top end of the speedo cable. I will get
confirmation from Renault Edinburgh that is what the problem is and then do the job myself.
The engine is less powerful than the 1.4 litre (8 valve) unit powering the Corsa (and in general town driving, I would prefer the Corsa) but is adequate for its purpose.
The visibility is exceptionally good, and the cabin is light and 'airy'. Being a 3 door, access to the rear is not as convenient as for a 5 door, but our daughter needs it mainly for commuting to and from work, so it is 'fit for purpose' for the next 2 years or so.
A Parking Permit is easily obtained from the City council (and NO - before the moanies and the harpies start on - public transport is not a viable option to Roslin).
We had looked for about 3 weeks, assessing also the Micra, Fiesta, 106, VW Polo, Fiat Punto and Rover 100 all within the £1800 – £2,500 price range. With the exception of the two Rover 100’s, the others were all older. Overall, I thought this to be the 'best buy' of what we had looked at, although I have indicated my general antipathy to Renaults.
The most dodgy car on offer was an R registered Rover 100 Kensington 3 door, for sale 'privately' that looked a 'bargain'.
However, it had a 'strange-looking' log book (possible colour photocopy?) and signs of respray on the rear, and rattled a lot when driven. The name and address in the log book were also not the same as the dodgy-looking guy who was selling it (for an apparent bargain price of £2,500).
The Renault Clio is Group 2 insurance, compared with Group 3 for the Corsa, and our daughter has shopped around for the best insurance deal. Fuel economy seems very good, with 44mpg over the 108 miles that I have done so far in it (fill-up to fill-up). Yes, I even had to pay for the petrol I used in 'assessing the car' ....
I hope that our experience will help to convince y
ou that insisting on getting a car up on to a ramp so that you can have a good look and poke about 'under the skirt' is essential for both peace-of-mind and for 'bargaining' purposes. But you must practice the teeth-sucking and the 'tut-tutting' to 'use' on the vendor.
I will keep this opinion 'updated', as our daughter runs the car. It is not totally perfect but, after all, it is well over 5 years' old.
*For details of my experiences and rating of Haynes Manuals, see my 'fullsome' opinion elsewhere.
© Sidneygee 2001