The 2019 Renault Clio is completely re-engineered and it comes with hybrid propulsion

The much anticipated new 2019 Renault Clio city car finally showed its face. In an effort to move towards the premium spectrum of the city car segment (you know, where the A1 and the Mini reside), the new Renault Clio gained many of the design traits from the latest line of Renault vehicles such as the Talisman sedan and the Megane hatch. It showed its face before the imminent reveal at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year and it is a fundamentally better car than before. Yet, with the new platform, new engines, new interior, and new dimensions come new thinking as well. The new Clio is actually shorter compared to the predecessor. Lower too. But roomier inside. Somehow, Renault engineers achieved the Tardis effect with the new Cio and I will tell you how. First things first. Why the hell does it look so similar to its predecessor?

Updated 03/14/2019: We’ve updated this review with fresh images of the Renault Clio that we took during the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Check them out in the gallery below!

2019 Renault Clio Exterior

2019 Renault Clio
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The new, fifth-generation Clio is the first Renault built on top of the CMF-B platform. That platform enabled the engineers to prepare a hybrid, lower the weight and tweak the design in a way that simply could not be achieved previously. I know that the new car looks a lot like the old one, but that is for a very good reason. Sales for The Renault Clio IV grew every year since its introduction in 2012. Renault did not actually have any incentive to change it much, but even if the exterior design of the new model seems similar to that of the outgoing model, I looked closely and noted some striking differences.

First of all, the new 2019 Renault Clio V is half of an inch shorter than before, and depending on the trim, more than an inch lower.

And, on top of that, Renault managed to shorten the wheelbase by exactly 0.23 inches. Kind of strange, don’t you think?

Well, city cars have grown at an exponential rate since the Nineties, and I am actually fully behind the Renault designers and engineers that managed to keep the length of the Clio in check.

2019 Renault Clio
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The design obviously leans toward the new Talisman and the Megane. Actually, the new Clio looks a bit like the baby version of the Megane. That’s a good thing as it also kept the basic shape from the beloved Clio IV’s “handleless” rear doors and classic French charm. Especially with the Initiale Paris trim. That’s like Denali within GMC or the Luxury line within the BMW world. Ok, I know, I reached too far with this comparison, but I did it on purpose.

Renault really wants to move the Clio into the higher echelons. It has to do it as the car attracts ever wealthier peeps in the showrooms. The RS Line and the Initiale Paris proves its intentions.

“The top reason buyers give for choosing Clio is always design,” said Vincent Dubroca, Clio’s Product Manager. “Way more than in other market segments, but also against its direct competitors.”

This is why it has to look as posh as it does.

The main, clearly visible changes include the integration of new headlights and taillights in line with the rest of Renault’s lineup. Two different versions - the R.S. Line and the Initiale Paris - represent the most that Renault can offer with the Clio for now, and they do look the business. All with special 17-inch wheels and unique style details - chrome details for the Initiale Paris or carbon-inspired inlays for the R.S. Line.

Another exterior fact that had me spin my head in disbelief: All-LED headlights are available across the range! I like that a lot!

2019 Renault Clio
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Length 4,048mm
Width 1,798mm
Height 1,440 mm

2019 Renault Clio Interior

2019 Renault Clio
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“The Clio 4 instrument cluster was rich on decoration but not information,” Laurens Van den Acker, Renault CEO said. He added that the “designers like the idea of getting rid of buttons because Apple takes buttons away. But in a smartphone, you’re concentrating, and in a car, you’re doing 120km/h.”

This is, ladies and gentlemen, the single best sentence I’ve read in a press release for a long, long time. Actually, I’ve shared this over at LinkedIn with a hash #bringbackbuttons. Only to find out later that the hash is used more for phones, but what the heck? The reason I write all this gibberish is a simple one - the 2019 Renault Clio’s interior is completely redesigned compared to its predecessor.

The most important novelty, for me, at least, is the return of proper air conditioning buttons under the massive central screen.

And they do feel big enough for “no-look-operation.” I like that a lot. Toyota did the same with the new RAV4 air-con controls.

Apart from this simple, yet awesome change, the new Clio received the biggest centrally positioned screen ever installed in a Renault car. The 9.3-inch screen is the centerpiece of the so-called Smart Cockpit in the new Clio. It’s tilted towards the driver and installed in a portrait position. Coupled with the massive 7-inch or 10-inch digital display behind the steering wheel, the Clio offers biggest displays in the segment. It’s no wonder that Renault equipped it with the newest Easy Link connected systems. This is a new Renault technology revealed in 2017 with 5 pillars of innovation:

2019 Renault Clio
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  • Creating a seamless smartphone-car connection, to easily access online content & services on the big screen
  • Facilitating the interaction between the driver, his car and Renault with MY Renault application
  • Creating smarter interactions between the connected car and the connected home
  • Connecting the car to the road and city for smarter journey experiences
  • Bridging everyone’s connected car with leading car sharing and ride sharing providers

The new Clio enjoys all these improvements that were actually polished up previously with Easy Link installation in the Talisman and the Megane.

2019 Renault Clio
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Now, apart from the important new technology, Renault considerably improved the ergonomics as a whole.

And that comes despite the fact that the car has a shorter wheelbase and is shorter in length. The thinner front seat, as well as the completely redesigned dashboard, freed up enough space in the cabin for the integration of the front seats with longer seat base. Passengers on the rear bench now have a centimeter or two more for their knees compared to the Clio IV. All inside, however, enjoy a far greater sense of luxury. Hard dashboard plastic (the main shortfall of the Clio IV) has been completely replaced by soft-touch materials. The door panels enjoy the soft coat as well, but only as an option. With my extensive experience with the Renault Clio, I can tell you right away that the difference between the entry-level models and upscaled ones will be considerable.

Personalization is also a big deal with the Clio. Renault designers thought about it hard, as the new car offers serious customization options for the central console, dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, and armrests. Plus, you can choose between a few different ambient light colors, eight different design schemes for the cabin, and even the color of the decoration on the vents.

I told you. Renault will try to go upscale with the new 2019 Clio.

2019 Renault Clio Drivetrain and Performance

2019 Renault Clio
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One glance at the new Clio will not reveal the scope of the changes Renault did to it. While it does look really similar to its predecessor, this is a fundamentally different car. It’s a car that is lower, almost 50 pounds lighter, and one that will sport a freaking hybrid propulsion system by 2020. I challenge you to find another small city car with hybrid propulsion. Save for the Yaris Hybrid, of course. Maybe that Suzuki Swift Hybrid can compete with it although that one has a mild-hybrid setup only.

The hybrid, however, isn’t available right now.

The backbone of the Clio hybrid setup is a small gasoline engine with 89 horsepower and an electric motor that produces additional 40 horsepower.

Fed by a 1.2-kWh battery, the hybrid setup will actually behave like an EVnmost of time. That’s exactly what Renault officials suggest, although I cannot actually see how such a small battery can provide enough electrons for the Clio to act as an EV. Previous reports suggested that the Clio will have an all-EV range of a bit more than 3 miles. That isn’t its main forte though. The electric motor is there to cut the fuel consumption by 40 percent. Fuel consumption of what, you may ask. By all chances - of a Nissan-developed, 1.6-liter naturally aspirated, gasoline engine. Combined, the 40-horsepower electric motor and the 1.6-liter will develop 128 horsepower.

2019 Renault Clio
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Despite the hybrid, that is a nice addition, but definitely won’t be as big a seller as the ICE-powered Clio.

For the start, Renault offered six different engine options for the new 2019 Clio:

  • 1.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine with 65 horsepower
  • 1.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine with 75 horsepower
  • 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 99 horsepower
  • 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 129 horsepower
  • 1.5-liter turbodiesel engine with 84 horsepower
  • 1.5-liter turbodiesel engine with 114 horsepower

I know you want to know more about the Clio GT and the Clio R.S. Nothing is official as of yet, but I do think that this will be all the jazz about them:

  • 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 150 horsepower for the Clio GT
  • 1.8-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 225 horsepower for the Clio R.S.
2019 Renault Clio
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That makes a lot of sense actually!

Engine Horsepower
Gasoline
1.0-liter naturally aspirated 65 HP
1.0-liter naturally aspirated 75 HP
1.0-liter turbocharged 99 HP
1.0-liter turbocharged 129 HP
1.3-liter turbocharged 150 HP
1.8-liter turbocharged 225 HP
Diesel
1.5-liter turbodiesel 84 HP
1.5-liter turbodiesel 114 HP

2019 Renault Clio Competition

Ford Fiesta

2017 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior
- image 699484

The Ford Fiesta may well be the inspiration behind the Renault Clio upscale move. The new Fiesta feels far more grown up and posh compared with the previous generation. Yet, it lacks some features compared to the new Clio. Honestly, I did not expect the new Clio to be so tech savvy, but it is. Nevertheless, the Fiesta is still its main competitor regardless of all of its somewhat questionable modernity!

Engine Size and Type 1.6-liter Turbocharged 16-valve I-4 With DOHC, Direct Injection And TI-VCT
Bore x stroke 3.11 x 3.20 in./79.0 x 81.4 mm
Displacement 97.4 cu. in./1,596 cc
Compression ratio 10.0:1
Peak power (Horsepower) 197 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Peak torque (Pound-feet) 202 LB-FT @ 5,000 RPM
Transmission 6-Speed Manual
0-to-60 mph 6.8 seconds
Top Speed (mph) 130 Limited, Est
EPA Fuel Economy MPG (City/Highway/Combined) 26/35/29

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Fiesta.

Volkswagen Polo

2018 Volkswagen Polo Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
- image 720717

The Clio may be Renault’s biggest seller, but in Europe, it is in an everlasting chase after the no-nonsense Volkswagen Polo. The latest Polo isn’t as good-looking as some may want it to be, but it does come with a modern turbocharged engine, it can be had with a fantastic DSG transmission, and, in its top form, it comes with a 2.0-liter TSI engine with 200 horsepower. Along with the Skoda Fabia, and the Peugeot 208, it is the most direct and the most honest competitor to the new Clio.

Engine Horsepower Transmission
Natural gas
1.0 TGI 90 PS 5-speed gearbox
Petrol
1.0 MPI 65 PS 5-speed gearbox
1.0 MPI 75 PS 5-speed gearbox
1.0 TSI 95 PS 5-speed gearbox / 7-speed DSG
1.0 TSI 115 PS 6-speed gearbox / 7-speed DSG
1.5 TSI 150 PS 6-speed gearbox / 7-speed DSG
2.0 TSI 200 PS 6-speed gearbox / 7-speed DSG
Diesel
1.6 TDI 80 PS 5-speed gearbox
1.6 TDI 95 PS 5-speed gearbox / 7-speed DSG

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Polo

Audi A1

2019 Audi A1 Exterior
- image 784071

Ok, the Clio and the A1 still cannot fall under the same roof. One is an expensive Audi with clear premium heritage and some ridiculous options like the S1, but I list it here intentionally. You see, if the 2019 Renault Clio really wants to move past the conventionality of the City car segment, this is what it needs to beat. Or at least it needs to reach the market stature of the Audi A1. And this one is, I am sorry to say, a long way ahead.

Engine Horsepower Transmission
1.0-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder 94 HP six-speed manual or an S-Tronic dual clutch
1.0-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder 114 HP six-speed manual or an S-Tronic dual clutch
1.5-liter, four-cylinder 148 HP six-speed manual or an S-Tronic dual clutch
2.0-liter four-cylinder 197 HP S-Tronic dual clutch

Read our full review on the 2019 Audi A1

Final Thoughts

2019 Renault Clio
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With 15 million units sold since the introduction of the first Clio in the early Nineties, Renault definitely moved to the premium side of things over the years. Especially with the new one that boasts features like:

  • Hybrid option
  • Largest digital display and infotainment screens in the business
  • Numerous personalization options
  • Standard All-LED headlights
  • Posh exterior design of the high-end models such as the Initiale Paris and the R.S. Line
  • All in all, the new Clio maybe does not feel to be completely re-engineered, but it really is and only a peek inside, or a test drive can reveal to what extent.
  • Leave it
    • It will be more expensive than before
    • Entry-level models won’t look as dashing
    • I’d like it to be a bit more differentiated compared with the Clio IV

Further reading

2017 Renault Clio High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 679504

Read our full review on the 2017 Renault Clio.

2019 Renault Clio SUV
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Renault Clio SUV.

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