Overhauled Clio opens Renault’s door to autonomous driving, however how good it’s to drive your self? Disregard the acquainted visible cues: the fifth-generation Renault Clio may be very a lot new, proper right down to its unseen – and never-before-seen – platform.Each panel is new, and despite the fact that the window apertures are similar to the previous Clio, the home windows themselves are new, too. The body-in-white is new and 22kg lighter than earlier than; the subframes are most undoubtedly new; the suspension is much like earlier than however very a lot new; and the engines are largely new. Headrests, gearstick, steering wheel? New.This all-round newness is in distinction to the Clio’s in-house standing as ‘grandmother’ automobile, as chief engineer Gilles Mulato places it. Which means it pioneers total substems for the Renault and can donate them to different fashions, not least within the type of that modular CMF-B platform.We’ll come again to that in a second, however not often is it removed from the limelight. The most recent incarnation of Europe’s best-selling small automobile (Volkswagen Polo second, Ford Fiesta third, although it’s a special story exterior Europe) is bodily smaller than earlier than however extra capacious – helpful developments each. We’re advised additionally it is prepared for hybrid powertrains, hosts a class-leading array of driver-assistance techniques, and we are able to surmise Renault’s major intention is to lastly plant the Clio into the vacant however slender fissure between the Fiesta’s dynamic talents and the refinement of the Polo, which might make it the Goldilocks supermini. All of that is intrinsically linked to the brand new platform, although Renault, by its personal admission has additionally had floor to make up from the fourth-generation Clio by way of each efficiency and inside end, which aren’t so chassis-depedendent. It appears there’s lots to speak about.Unusually for Renault, exterior design isn’t such a giant matter of dialog. It says the Clio is now offered primarily on its beauty, and because the earlier automobile surpassed annual gross sales volumes each successive yr since arriving in 2014, there’s been little urge for food for design director Laurens van den Acker to shake issues up. As a result of the Dutchman styled additionally the earlier automobile – his very first Renault, since which he’s gone on to redefine the model identification – peronsally he has little or no to show.Neverthess, the brand new Clio has a bigger grille than earlier than (what, we’re left questioning, doesn’t lately?) and the LED tusks from the Mégane. The bonnet now contains a pair of pronounced contours and with a brand new bumper the entire manner is meaner, the automobile wanting rather less stunned to be right here. The home windows surrounds are actually chrome, whereas the rear is much less heavy on the black plastic and achieves a neat minimalism by urgent the physique panels in delicate, attention-grabbing methods slightly than resorting to tacked-on trim. Sporty? Mature? A little bit of each, to be trustworthy. This explicit instance is painted Valencia Orange, and appears particularly agreeable within the Portugese solar.The engine line-up is comparatively easy. The SCe 75 backstop is a naturally aspirated three-cylinder 1.Zero-litre petrol with 71bhp, although extra fashionable would be the turbocharged TCe 100 model, which makes 99bhp and is the automobile we’re driving right here. For now, the top-spec petrol is the TCe 130, which makes use of the identical turbocharged 1.Three-litre four-cylinder engine discovered proper throughout Renault’s mannequin vary and advantages from direct gasoline injection. It’s additionally the one Clio obtainable with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and the one one able to hitting 62mph from relaxation is lower than 10 seconds.Relaxation assured, faster variants will observe, not least an effort Renault Sport, probably with a detuned model of the 1.Eight-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the Mégane. Diesel being much less fashionable than in earlier years, just one such engine is obtainable: an 84bhp 1.5-litre whose five-speed gearbox options taller gearing than the petrols for gasoline financial system nudging 90mpg at a gradual cruise. There’s additionally a hybrid ‘E-Tech’ Clio due alongside in 2021 – it’ll pair a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a clutchless gearbox fitted with a pair of electrical motors. In metropolis driving, gasoline consumption is claimed to be up virtually half once more in comparison with that of the petrol engine alone.As for practicality, the Clio would appear to attain nicely. At 391 litres, boot area tops even that of a Polo, which at 351 litres has thus far been untouchable within the B-segment. The backrests of the entrance seats have additionally been slimmed down, successful a substantial 26mm of additional legroom for backseat passengers, and there’s extra rear headroom within the Clio than in even a Jaguar XE, based on photographer Luc Lacey, who is not particularly quick.