After the impressive 79mpg eco-run I reported on last month, the Clio’s fuel economy has plummeted somewhat of late. I fear it’s my driving, rather than the car’s hypermiling potential that’s to blame, as I’ve been rather enjoying exploring the Clio’s chassis. There have been precious few motorway runs, so the soft blue car has been nipping here and there, and taking in some of the Peak District’s famously hilly and twisty roads.
The verdict is that the Clio is really rather talented if you ‘push on’, but as with virtually all new cars, the electric power steering doesn’t offer up much feedback. This makes the learning process longer, as you have to gradually feel out the Clio’s behaviour in corners, rather than sensing it through your fingertips. Even in our Iconic model the suspension is plenty firm enough, with very little body lean in corners and masses of grip. I haven’t driven one yet, but I can’t help but wonder if an R.S. Line Clio with larger wheels and firmer suspension will feel too stiff on UK roads. Another nagging thought is that the Clio feels so grown up along a demanding road, it would be even better if there was some extra power. Perhaps the 1.5-litre unit with 113bhp that’s fitted in the Captur would spice things up a bit, for keener drivers? (It’s an option in France, but the UK is denied it, Ed)
Back to reality, and with the lockdown easing, I can also vouch for the Clio’s performance as a family car. On a recent trip out, we fitted an Isofix child-seat in the back and took the newest member of our family for a spin. Despite the Clio being fairly large for a supermini, there was only just enough space, and I actually had to slide the driver’s seat forward a few notches to get the seat installed. Once in position, I could put the seat slightly further back again, and I’m happy to report the Clio passed the most important test – rocking a baby to sleep within a handful of miles. There was also plenty of space in the boot for the pram, although it’s a shame that there’s such a high loading lip. This not only gives your arms a workout, but will also be prone to getting scratched.
Other observations this month included a rather odd experience with the infotainment system. While I was driving home from the supermarket, I noticed it was performing a software update. At first I was rather impressed, as I didn’t realise the Clio could receive software updates ‘wirelessly’, but I’m afraid this was quickly followed with confusion. Once I parked up on the driveway, I wasn’t really sure what to do… sit in the car and watch the progress bar… or get out, potentially stopping it in its tracks. I ended up leaving the car with the door open and the ignition on, but after 10 minutes of not a lot happening, I gave up. Fast-forward a few days and perhaps it did work after all, as the navigation now displays distances in miles instead of being stuck on kilometres – eureka!
Date arrived 23rd March 2020
Fuel economy 67.2mpg (WLTPcombined) 68.5mpg (on test)
Less money spent on fuel means more money for holiday fun.
The glovebox is only big enough for some Tangfastics and a face mask.