The Renault Clio has managed to conquer a lot of fans, mostly thanks to its affordable price and the low costs of ownership. The vehicle was available with a wide range of engines and apart from the standard version it was also offered a van model.
But, while the passenger version of the Clio was received with open arms by the market, the van (based on the Clio coupe) didn’t receive the same treatment.
The Renault Clio Van was sold between 2001 and 2005 and was offered with a single diesel engine which developed a maximum output of 65 hp.
The Renault Clio Van shared the same front exterior design with the passenger version. Around the back however, the lateral windows were replaced with metallic panels giving the vehicle a typical van look.
The front end received a thick radiator grille split in two sections by the company’s badge. The headlights are big and simple and look pretty dull without having the potential to stand out from the crowd.
The bumper has a nice rounded shape and hosts two round fog lamps and a central air intake. On each side of the car there is a thin rubber molding. You can access the load area fairly easy, by means of a roof hinged rear door which has a wide opening angle.
As it was expected, the Clio van is more practical than the standard passenger version, offering one cubic meter volume and a payload of 535 kg. The load bed length is 933mm with a maximum width of 989 mm and 933 mm height. The load area and the seats are separated by a solid half height bulkhead.
Due to its compact dimensions, the interior space is a bit cramped. The dashboard has a basic design without any fancy lines to break up the monotony. As it was expected, the plastics are part of the third class, while the build quality could’ve been better as well. However, we like that there are enough cubby holes, pockets and storage places to keep us satisfied.
The three spoke steering wheel looks dull and isn’t offered with any kind of adjustments. At least it offers a confident grab and it’s not intrusive. The center console has an intuitive layout, but we find the HVAC controls a bit lower which makes them hard to reach.
The instrument panel consists of two big round gauges and a small center information display which keeps you posted on various vehicle stats.
The seats are pretty comfortable and also come with a few useful adjustments which will make your life on board easier. The outside visibility isn’t the best you’ll find around, but you won’t have any huge complain about it either. The lateral mirrors offer a proper rear visibility and we also like the big door windows.
Given the utilitarian nature of the Renault Clio Van, equipment levels are pretty generous. The standard model gets a multi-function trip computer, twin front airbags, ABS with EBD, remote central locking and the RAID anti intruder device that locks all the doors once you reach a speed of 5mph. The optional features include a CD stereo audio system, air-conditioning and fog lamps.
Engines and performance
Under the hood you’ll find a 1.5 dCi common-rail diesel engine which is more than enough to keep it up with the necessities of light commercial transportation. The diesel unit offers a modest output of 68 hp with 160 Nm of torque achieved from as low as 1700 rpm.
This is the same engine found in the passenger car version which is slightly heavier than the van. This means that the Clio Van has a surprisingly lively acceleration despite the relatively weak engine. Unlike other big vans which offer a boring experience behind the wheel, the Clio offers pretty dynamic performances which can be rarely seen at the bigger LCVs.
The Renault Clio Van’s engine is fairly efficient too, being able to score an average fuel consumption of 65.7mpg along with emissions levels of 115g CO2/km.
Renault Clio Van Engines Specifications
| Engine || hp @ rpm || Nm @ rpm|| Fuel |
| 1.5 dCi || 68 @ 4500 || 160 @ 1700|| Diesel |
Ride and handling
Thanks to its passenger car origin, the Clio Van benefits from a good ride quality. With a wise suspension configuration the vehicle deals well with road bumps and at the same time it’s able to carry big loads without any problems.
The Renault Clio Van’s handling it’s also surpassingly good and the body roll is well kept in check as the car’s center of gravity is pretty low.
On the other hand, the power steering is more on the light side, so don’t expect to any significant feedback.
Luckily you can rely with confidence on the stopping power, as the vehicle is fitted with ABS with brake force distribution and brake assist included.
With a starting price of $ 10.500, the old Renault Clio Van represented strong value for money. The load volume may not be as generous as its bigger siblings, but the interior is decent and the standard equipment list is among the richest you’ll find in the super-minis segment.
We especially liked the punchy diesel engine which will help you deal effortless with city driving, while the fuel consumption won’t leave you broke either. We also need to send a shout at the capable ride and handling performances which are definitely part of the first class.