The Good, The bad and the Ugly: The Renault Clio

The Good, The bad and the Ugly: The Renault Clio

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

An irreverent look at a certain car.

The Renault Clio 2.

The 1998 – 2005 Clio in almost all of its guises was a sensational little car. Even now, some 20 years later, they are still fun to drive.


Nicole and her Papa were onto something with the pretty Clio 1. Clio 2 changed a few things like the fitment of plastic front wings and the use of materials inside to make it lighter and cheaper to repair.

I’ll grant you that Clio 2 wasn’t as pretty as Clio 1 but then again it was still far better to look at than Clio 3.

Borne out of Clio 2 was the crazy and short-lived, three litre V6 mid-engined monster using a modified V6 from the Laguna that was a part development engine with Peugeot/Citroën. Two seats and no luggage space in a widened shopping cart from France. Just 2822 road going versions were made.

So I’m taking the 1.2 16 valve as the Clio 2 to get. It’s not a fireball to drive with just 74bhp but this enables you to be enthusiastic in your approach to where you point Clio 2 at and plough on. It’s still a fun car to drive.

Admittedly, the clutch on a high mileage car will become heavy and city traffic will kill your left leg. Or it’ll encourage you to take up the gym membership and work on that right leg that in comparison would have become lazy and weak.

And then there are the mechanical failures that are the Clio 2 Achilles heels. Ignition coils will fail and rocker cover gaskets leak. Simple fixes in the big schemes of things. My niece has one as her first car. I said it would breakdown. It broke down. It was a coil pack.

Interior trim, made light to save weight, will by now, be rattling around with some, if not all, clips broken. You learn to live with it. What you won’t though is the rattle from the optional sunroof. Opening it usually solves the problem.

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And who could forget the “bonnets up” controversy where the bonnets would flip up at high speed! Lack of maintenance on the bonnet catch was the culprit here. So lubrication once again saves the day.

So should you buy one? Yes. They are cheap cars, cheap to run, fun to boot around and are still pretty to look at.

And that is why the Clio is a “good car”


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