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I have owned my Renault Clio Dynamique for 3 years and I love this car, it feels so comfortable inside and has everything I need, CD player, electric windows & mirrors, comfortable seats and enough room in the back if I am giving people a lift.
The fuel economy is up there with the best of them. If I drive in the inside lane of a motorway with the lorries doing between 55 and 60 I can average over 75mpg, normal driving I average around 55mpg, which is brilliant when you work 30 miles away. At the time of writing this the Road Tax on this car is £30 per year and has an insurance group of 5 which makes this very cheap to run.
As well as the excellent fuel economy, low tax and insurance the Renault Clio Dynamique 1.5dci is also nippy when it needs to be with the 86bhp engine helping you to overtake and get up to speed when joining a road, it handles well with the standard additions of stability controllers and power steering. It also has a surprisingly large boot space for a 3 door hatchback.
The last point I will make is that this car looks great from the outside as well, the dynamique has a front end that looks stout and mean which makes the car appear to be quite powerful and not like a small hatchback which are often pushed around the road by larger cars. The rear and side aspects are also nice with chrome detailing and attractive light clusters this is a overall a great car.
The following review relates to the 2001-2005 Diesel Dynamique which is an incredibly economical, reliable, and surprisingly nippy car. A second hand Dynamique's price will vary greatly depending on the retailer - but you could probably pick up a 2005 1.5 DCi version in the region of £4,000 - £5,000. For the earlier 2001 - 2003 models, £2,000 - £2,500 would be a suitable price to pay, but there are certainly bargains to be found if you shop around.
Economy - Economy - costly or cheap?
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One of the Clio Dynamique's main selling points is the fact that it's extremely cheap to run - I can comfortably maintain around 70 miles per gallon (mpg) between refills, which is impressive to say the least. Similarly the tax comes to under £40 for the year, which is really good news for the bank balance! So if it's an eco-friendly little runner that you're after, then this model ticks all the right boxes.
The Interior - art form or atrocity?
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Inside, the car is fitted to a fairly high standard - seats are upholstered in a neutral and inoffensive grey fabric, with dark carpets which are hardwearing and easy to clean. The seats are comfortable, with adjustable head rests (both front and back), and an adjustable driver's seat with a lumbar support dial. When sitting in the back, an average sized person will find the leg-room adequate - but this of course depends on the generosity of the person in front, and how far they have decided to put their own chair back! The dash is pleasant looking with easy to read and large dials.
The Features - bits you can pay extra for
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As expected, windows and mirrors are of the electric variety (as standard) - maneuvering through the necessary range of motion in a smooth manner. There's also a raised backlit LCD ridge on the dash which serves as a clock with an outside temperature display underneath. This handy feature comes in useful during the winter months, and the digits flash to warn you when the roads are of freezing temperature. There's driver and passenger airbags (again as standard throughout the range), central locking, and alloy wheels. The air conditioning unit is especially impressive - accessed via a digital panel beneath the CD player it's a really easy to use interface. In fact the heating system in general ticks all the right boxes - I'm always surprised how quickly it's able to pump out warm air, even when the car is relatively cold. The in-car stereo system produces a sound with decent levels of bass, and a clarity in the treble, and the CD player reads discs without skipping. Both the CD player and the FM/MW/LW radio and its five station presets can be controlled via a stalk which protrudes from the side of the steering column - very handy. Similarly, pressing the circular tip of said stalk cycles through a number of stats about the car's current performance on the dash board - average MPG, miles of fuel left, miles since last refuel, etc, etc...
How big is the boot?
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The boot is surprising roomy for a compact car - I can comfortably fit a couple of golf bags in there and still have room for a the shopping. If you're hauling around a larger cargo, then the two back seats can fold forward, creating a large enough space for perhaps a small cabinet or a number of large boxes - essential for transporting goods to and from a car boot sale!
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Unfortunately this and a number of other Clio models (not just the Dynamique's) suffer from an intermittently leaky sunroof which has a tendency to let in water during heavy rain - mostly if your car is parked on a sloping street. To be honest, this is the only problem that I can find with the car, and it's something which should be sorted for free by your local Renault retailer if the vehicle is still under warranty.
The Driving Experience - life in the cockpit
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So how is the car to drive? Well, it's a pleasant experience, and surprisingly nippy - with enough torque to power up modestly sloped hills, and overtake without needing to put the pedal to the metal. The suspension is a little hard (meaning you'll be aware of all those potholes which inevitably appear at this time of the year), but it's by no means an uncomfortable ride. When you're speeding down the motorway, the car is generally quiet - although there are those annoying slight rattles which seems to occur in the majority of smaller cars. The power steering is responsive, and the handling is generally good - no, the car won't stick to the road like a Porsche 911, but then you wouldn't expect it too! The brakes are similarly efficient, and remain ultra effective even in wet conditions.
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Overall I would recommend the Renault Clio DCi Dynamique as a great little car which is pleasant to look at and incredibly cheap to run. The tax (or lack of it) is especially pleasing, and the reliability is high (providing it receives a regular service). The issue regarding the sunroof is slightly disappointing, but it's the only problem with an otherwise excellent machine.