Duel of two generations
Clio has been the
leader in its class in France since 1991 and has got very good selling record even outside
the country of its origin. Almost four millions of these small cars were manufactured
during this time. New Clio II, which should continue in successful tradition, was
presented in spring this year. Test of both old and new Clio models should show us, if
Clio II is distinguished successor of its older brother.
It is apparent already at the first
sight, that Renault constructors invested a lot of work into designing of new Clio. Modern
shapes of the coachwork are undeniably inspired by the prototype of city car LUDO,
especially regarding the rear part.
Because the strengthening of safety factors lead to
considerable increase of weight, constructors tried to reduce as much as possible weight
of parts that are not directly connected with safety. Front plastic mudguards are
especially remarkable. They are not only very light, but if deformed, they automatically
return to the original shape. This fact will probably displease tinsmiths. If it had been
necessary to dab the damaged part or even to buy a new one, nowadays a repair of paint is
Regarding the interior design, new Clio is
already one generation ahead. Soft edges are dominating all visible space, while interior
of older Clio is marked by the era of its origin, the end of 1980s. Angular control panel
corresponds with currents of that time. In both cases, all controls are easily accessible
and well arranged. New Clio pleased us by transfer of radio over the heating controls, but
on the contrary disappointed us by placing of window control buttons. Instead of usual
position next to each other, they are placed in line, so it is not clear, which button
activates appropriate window. It often happened, that we pulled down the passenger window
instead of the drivers one and vice versa. Seats are in both types of cars are very good
as well as in size, solidity and side leading.
Both models use well tested
fourteen hundred cubic cm E7J engine. The only difference consists in the type of
injection. While older Clio has got single point injection Bosh, new one is equipped by
Siemens multiunit injection. It also has got 7 Nm higher rotative moment with improved
course in the whole rounding specter.
We had been driving in both
cars a route 2500 km long under the absolutely same conditions - from Prague to Copenhagen
and back. During the whole test cars were going closely one after another, regularly
changed positions, the speed had been the same and particular stages had been finished by
difference of few seconds. The crew consisted of two drivers. In the whole time both Clios
carried identical standard test weight of 175 kg including the fuel. During the test there
happened two defects on the older one: broken stop of headlight washer cycling switch and
unidentified creaky noise coming from exhaust pipe holders that was perceptible in going
into left curves almost beyond the adhesion level. We have no special remarks regarding
the behavior of both cars. Thanks to its relatively long wheel base Clios were going over
lengthwise protuberances very elegantly and were only very little troubled by transverse
ones. Both cars displayed little understeering but were easy to control and with a bit of
sensibility it was possible to generate also the oversteering.
Consumption of fuel is one of the most observed
factors. We were very curious as well about the result of the challenge of generations. We
were surprised in the best sense of the word, because fuel consumption differed by mere
0,04 l/100 km! Difference in consumption during 2566 km was 1 l only. The average
consumption of the older Clio had been 6,83 l/100 km and the newer one 6,79l/100km while
driving very dynamically. Average speed had been 101,3 km/h.
Besides this long test we subdued these two Clios to
two shorter tests, aimed especially at fuel consumption under standard conditions in the
city and off the city. The older Clio, respecting set speed limits, consumed in our test
city Prague 6,4l/100km, the newer one 6,6l. Both values were lower, that declared by the
manufacturer. During the ride outside the city on the route, consisting of 27% of highways
(130 km/h), 69% of first class roads (90 km/h) and 4% of inhabited areas (50 km/h), the
consumption of older Clio reached the level of 5,2l/100 km and the newer one 5,1l/100km.
It seems that test shows, that there are no
substantial differences between both Clios. Clio II had inappreciably lower fuel
consumption and bit more boosted brakes. Noticeable financial difference appears only
during regular service checks that are regarding the new Clio prolonged to 20.000 km.
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