The figures alone can’t convey the strength and flexibility on tap. Maximum torque arrives at 3,000rpm, but it feels as though it’s available between 2,000rpm and 5,500rpm. And the benefit of the small capacity is that potent performance is backed up by impressive fuel economy and CO2 emissions. So, despite offering 27bhp less than the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre in the GT, this model is more fun to drive. And if beefed-up looks are essential, there’s the optional Sport Body Kit.
Soft suspension settings give the Clio a supple ride, but thanks to its excellent chassis, it will still dive into corners with enthusiasm. Our only niggle is with the overly assisted steering. It’s perfect for manoeuvring in town, but refuses to self-centre and feels numb in your hands.
Yet the Clio is still a class act. The refreshed styling will keep customers interested until the end of its production run, while cabin quality is improved. This is a car that punches well above its weight when it comes to refinement and performance.