Category Archives: car reviews by women

Women Talking About Cars

screenshot-14At last. A programme where women talk about their cars putting people and lifestyle first for a change.

If you haven’t caught this yet, please do. I’m talking about Victoria Coren Mitchell’s new Radio 4 series, Women Talking About Cars, where she chats to women with attitude about the cars they’ve owned, how they affected their lives and what they thought of them.

Deliciously un-PC about things like accidents, driving too fast, competitive male jibes and embarrassing moments this illustrates major gender differences when it comes to motoring. Women are simply more honest about our motoring failings. And this approach makes us laugh because we’ve all made mistakes too.

Anyone who thinks men and women are the same when it comes to cars needs to stop, listen and learn about a completely different motoring mindset.

Victoria’s first interview was with Dawn French who modestly claims to be ‘the most excellent driver you’ll ever meet’ – despite failing her first driving test through nerves or (much more likely) inappropriate humour.

Whereas Victoria’s driving test was the more memorable occasion when she crashed her car into roadworks…

The Women Talking About Cars Formula

Cleverly thought out, the Women Talking About Cars programme includes a live audience with females adding their car stories (mostly lifestyle driven or self critical) plus hilarious blokey-written new car sales blurb ie tech commentaries about cherished cars of yonder years,read by a female for a change. The show ends with the interviewee’s choice of music to drive by.

This formula is eminently capable of transferring to TV and Victoria Coren Mitchell is the no nonsense high brow female to do this, challenging all petrol heads who imagine we should be like them (but can’t explain why…).

Between Victoria and Dawn they unpeeled the motoring formula and why so many women love and rely on our cars. Cars for women are all about being safe, feeling independent, having adventures and having a virtual home on wheels (with blankets, sweets, drinks and a shovel, just in case).

And let’s be quite honest, we’re great drivers and better navigators apparently. For example, Dawn is a better driver than Lenny Henry (she then tries to soften this statement due to his lesser experience), Victoria’s husband David doesn’t drive at all (why would he with a chauffeur) and Dawn’s second husband gets them lost because he can’t find destinations on paper maps.

Totally credible observations I’d say.

Dawn French’s Motoring Career

Told in chronological car order these are the cars Dawn has owned.

A black Morris Minor – practicality over performance – top speed 74mph
Now new at the time, this was Dawn’s first car when she was 17 and at a posh boarding school. She painted The Bomb on its back to give it character compared to other pupils’ brand new cars.

A Rover 2000 (1963) – an ‘iconic sports saloon’… plus self cancelling indicators.
Her parents were allergic to fresh air and fogged up the inside of the car as chain smokers. Whilst she and her brother fought on the back seat.

A Ford Cortina – called after an Italian ski resort to give it an ‘air of European glamour’… plus cigarette lighter

A TVR Cerbera – a big league V8 performance car that’s dominant and curvacious with ‘hellish technical faults.’
Recommended to Dawn by Jeremy Clarkson when she wanted something ‘irresponsibly fast’ who’d have guessed that TVR stood for Trevor? Dawn had to have her bum measured for tailor-made driving seats at Trevor’s factory in Blackpool.

And we all sighed nostalgically at the vroom vroom sound the engine made…

A Jaguar XK8 – a sports car that’s ‘tight and taught’ – called The Cat.
Coincidentally her Comic Strip co-star Jennifer Saunders bought the same car/model over the same weekend.

A Range Rover Sport – a SUV with a swagger.

Best feature? A fridge full of Revells.

Best roads? The M4 and M5 until Dawn got fined by both Somerset AND Devon separately for the same incidence of exceeding the average speed in a 50mph limit by doing an average 55mph. Is this fair she asked?

And I felt the audience agreed with her.

But it was Polly in the audience that made us laugh in a shocked way – when she drive her Range Rover through a 5 bar gate, without opening it first.

How many men would own up to such driving ditz I wonder?

The programme ended with a rousing rendition of ‘I’m Outta Love’ by Anastasia – that’s the sort of music that encourages us to floor the accelerator pedal even though we know we shouldn’t. What fun.

That’s what I loved about Victoria’s new Radio programme. It reminded us that motoring can still be fun.

Yes, it was gloriously irreverent and fun in what felt like an all female room.

A case of Vive La Difference in an environment where there was absolutely no need to mention or think about equality.

Because we who know about these things know that men and women are very different when it comes to cars.

So let’s get over this, stop moaning Erin, move on and get back to enjoying motoring and being ourselves.

I look forward to further Episodes on Wednesdays at Radio 4 at 6.30pm. Before it transfers to TV. I hope.


Vauxhall New Corsa impresses

newcorsa1I was invited to test drive Vauxhall’s New Corsa recently, starting in Liverpool and then into north Wales.

As it had been a few years since I’d driven the ‘old’ Corsa I wanted to see whether I was still as impressed as I had been then – knowing just how competitive this small car sector is and how reliant Vauxhall is on the retail and therefore female market.

What interested me most was the promise of a complete makeover involving a new chassis, choice of engines and personalised interiors. Would I recognise the car I wondered?

Why buy a Vauxhall?

Vauxhall is one of the two best known car brands in the UK. A franchised dealership will be near you which is reassuring when it comes to car servicing and any warranty claims. Despite being launched c20 years ago the Corsa brand name still sounds modern and the New Corsa competes well in today’s market on looks and style.

Sadly Vauxhall’s leading lifetime (100,000 mile) warranty ends this year which is a big disappointment. This gave Vauxhall a clear advantage over others with 5 and 7 year warranties. Come 2015 New Corsas will come with a 3 year 60,000 mile warranty instead.


corsa_walesThere’s a choice of three and five door models. The three door (yellow model- see stylish door curves) is aimed at the 25 to 35 budget conscious age group, without children one assumes.

The five door model (see below in grey) can be expected to sell well with older motorists, depending on family size and the practicality of accommodating more than two passengers at any stage.

These cars are best described as sporty (3 door) and spacious (5 door) to distinguish them from each other although you can also add stylish to both.

Note the LED daytime running lights and the glass sunroof option…

Inside, the cabin feels spacious, even in the three door sporty model and there’s plenty of customisation in terms of fabrics and interior colour to please all tastes.


If you like gadgets, there are plenty to keep you happy, designed to make driving easier, safer, more comfortable and more fun.

A City Mode button notably lightens the steering so it’s easy to manouevre in tight spots.

Heated options include the steering wheel, seats, door mirrors and windscreen.

There’s an infotainment system called Intellilink with digital radio, USB and Bluetooth with voice control.

I didn’t need the SatNav because we were using special timed route maps to keep our navigators on their toes.

If you need help with clutch control, there’s a Hill Start Assist.

An Advanced Park Assist will self-steer you into the tightest parking space (and impress any onlookers).

There’s a front camera system that records what’s happening as you drive and clever headlamps that corner to help with better night vision when you need it most.

Most of these are optional extras of course.

The Drive

My test-drive companion was Alasdair Campbell who is taking his Automotive Journalism MA at Coventry University. We each took turns driving and navigating through the busy city streets in Liverpool then along winding scenic roads in North Wales. This was an excellent and most enjoyable route that took the best part of a day and meant we could each test the car in a range of typical everyday driving conditions.

I was particularly impressed by the 1.0i 90PS Turbo Limited Edition three door Corsa we drove. It’s the yellow one in the photo. The drive was smooth, energetic and very quiet.

To begin with I thought the engine had switched off as we waited at traffic lights but the moment you touch the accelerator the power is instantly there, making it eco-friendly and economic.

The brakes were impressive (compared to the ones I’m used to) and cornering and overtaking was smooth, efficient and reliable.

We then switched to the new version of Vauxhall’s 1.4 turbo engine and five door model. That’s the SRi in Shiny Rock ie charcoal metallic, parked outside the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.

This gave me the opportunity to compare the onboard space and whilst the five door didn’t seem much roomier inside it will be the preferred model choice for Mums who need to fit child car seats in the back.

Price and economy

corsa 5 dr New Corsa prices for the three door model start from £8995 (the Sting 1.2i 70PS) and the five door from £9600. The entry price is lower than the current Corsa remember.

There are too many engine and trim combinations to list here so it’s best to go the the Vauxhall website and configure your ideal New Corsa there.

The combined fuel figure ranges from 52.3 mpg for a 1.2i 70PS Manual to an impressive 88.3 mpg for the 1.3 CDTi 95PS S/S eco-FLEX 3 door.

CO2 emissions g/km start at 85 g/km for the 1.3 CDTi 95PS S/S eco-FLEX 3 door – this means zero Vehicle Excise Duty. In fact all manual and Easytronic gearbox models qualify for zero car tax in year one.

Benefit in kind company car taxation rates range from 13% to 18% across the range.

Insurance groups are lower than before, mostly in 2 and 3 which makes this critical cost more affordable for younger drivers in future.

The verdict

This will be a big seller for Vauxhall. The New Corsa has involved changing every car panel even though the end size/dimensions are virtually the same.

We’re talking about a cheaper car (with better residual value anticipated), more efficient engines, new steering/suspension, less CO2 and better onboard equipment.

How can they fail when you spell it out like that?

Yes I’d happily own and drive the five door version with the 1.0i 90PS Turbo engine although I’m disappointed that the lifetime warranty is no more.

To find out more

You can browse the range, check out colours and see typical interiors and trim at

If you’re planning to buy a car in 2015 I’d also recommend reserving a test drive via so you’re one of the first to try it.

I was very impressed and hope you will be too.


Bentley heads off the motoring track, into global boardrooms

Bentley_Continental_GTC_011I was always taught that the last resort strategy was diversification, especially when there was sales scope to sell more of your core product. Unless of course you can sell a new product to your existing customers, in which case it’s a bit less risky.

So I was fascinated to read where Bentley is taking its brand in 2014 – from its stunningly beautiful luxury cars into luxury home and executive furniture.

So for others with a love of curious strategic plans, including MBA students of course, here is a classic case study for you to chew over.

Where Bentley is at in 2013

Bentley Motors’ headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s three model lines, Continental, Flying Spur and Mulsanne.

The combination of fine craftsmanship, engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands, not just Bentley.

However Bentley is a great example of high-value British manufacturing at its best, employing around 3,700 people at Crewe. In 2013 one in every four luxury cars delivered to customers worldwide was a Bentley representing 10,120 cars and an impressive 19% growth over 2012.

The Americas remain Bentley’s most successful sales region, followed by China and then Europe.

We’re talking about a mind boggling global operation servicing 200 dealerships in 54 countries.

Where Bentley is heading in 2014

BE Minster Sofa

In addition to its core automotive business Bentley Motors is now diversifying into luxury home and executive furniture after a trial collection was successful in 2013. This has now been extended, designed and manufactured in collaboration with Luxury Living Group, one of Europe’s leading furniture makers based in Italy.

Subtle, functional, comfortable and luxurious furniture we’re told it oozes sensual quality. If so, this paragraph from their recent Press Release may not do this sufficient justice in my opinion.

“The combinations exalt the use of tactile leather and sensuous textiles. Hints of male attire, pinstripe or houndstooth, are introduced into sophisticated velvets and the lightest of cashmeres, crafted with three-dimensional patterns. Utilised in the upholstery, they are also woven as novel and precious carpets – hand-knotted, made of fine wools, silk or pashmina – as well as refined blankets hemmed in mink. Finely crafted leather upholstery – with its signature quilted diamond pattern or elegant padded texture – further enhances the collection’s pieces.”

Clearly this is a bold strategic move as Kevin Rose, Bentley’s Sales & Marketing Director explains…

“The Home Collection embodies Bentley’s emergence as a modern high luxury brand. It combines sophisticated materials with contemporary design and the ultimate in bespoke craftsmanship. This is an exciting development which captures the shared values of Bentley and Luxury Living, with unrivalled attention to detail and a stunning translation of the timeless style of the brand into home and executive suite interiors.”

Bentley’s luxury furniture range

The range is now on display at the Maison & Objet Fair in Paris and comprises the following pieces, described by Bentley not me.

Harmonious shapes and flowing lines are highlighted through the subtle proportions of the arms with their unique curve. Available in leather or fabric, the body and seat come in distinguished purple-red velvet matched with burgundy velvet piping along the edges.

BE Butterfly Armchair front

Butterfly, the new system made up of sofa and armchair, masterfully interprets Bentley’s style values. The deep, plush seat is encased in a shell quilted with Bentley’s iconic diamond pattern. The geometry of its side neatly reaches outward, providing a contemporary touch that reflects is cosy yet dynamic form. The sofa is in distinguished ivory leather and the armchair in pinstriped fabric, quilted in fine, grey wool.

The Richmond bed exemplifies the supple elements and stylistic principles characteristic of the line. Unrivalled comfort is created by its roomy design in which the masterfully crafted materials play a prime role. The unique and elegant double shell – covered in quilted leather or precious briar root – encompasses the headboard lined with iridescent sand-coloured satin wool. The finish is enhanced by the finely embroidered Bentley logo.

The Ambassador sideboard is shaped in line with modern architectural themes in a majestic design highlighting its elegance and originality. The supple expressiveness of its steel gun-metal structure, matches perfectly the fullness of the container module covered with lava-coloured leather, briar root or Ebony Macassar veneering.

Harlow is the reinterpretation of the iconic film director’s chair, with a sophisticated and firm structure. The linear steel gun-metal base upholds the seating, made of cognac-coloured leather with a tufted manufacturing process in the internal part. The metal buckles with leather bands applied on the armrests references typical masculine style points.

Clearly the early test collection was successful, Bentley employs expert craftsmen in this area and this range is a masculine one so not marketed at women or those who can’t afford to buy a Bentley like me. So I’m a bit baffled by this sideline if I’m honest. But to reflect its ‘to die for’ automotive brand values I’d have expected Bentley to employ more inspirational photography, at least, as part of their marketing campaign to make me want to own a piece one day…

As is, their latest Press Release doesn’t shout Bentley elegance to me but as I’m not a furniture marketer I’ll watch their progress with interest during 2014.


PS: How I’d love to see the research confirming the price these Bentley branded pieces of furniture will command in (male) Boardroom suites in China and the Middle East.

Dacia for frugal, functional and foxy cars

IMG_0005-1To convert a savvy FOXY Lady Driver into a customer, a new car must either be better than the rest in her mind, come highly recommended by her friends or represent a really good deal. The Dacia Sandero scores particularly well on the last count as there isn’t another new supermini out there for as little as £5999 on the road.

I first saw a Dacia at Goodwood’s Moving Motors Exhibition last summer. It was a 5 seater SUV, called the oddly named Duster, for just £8995. It was going down a storm.

For those who don’t know this already, Dacia (said to rhyme with Thatcher I’m told) builds the cars in Romania, is owned by Renault and comes with the latest skills, technology and market insight you’d expect as a result of this parentage.

The car I drove was supplied by award-winning dealership Lifestyle Europe with Dacia dealerships in Brighton, Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells. As you can see from the photograph the car already has a 2013 Best Car Award from What Car! That’s an excellent start…

And with such low prices the Dacia philosophy is clearly ‘functionality over frivolity’ with the invitation ‘You Do The Maths.’ The point they are making is that you get a lot of car for your money for starters but if you’d like to pay more for further options and accessories, you still can.

Good looks and model choices

IMG_0004-1The entry level £5995 Sandero version is called the Access and it comes in Glacier White with 15 inch steel wheels and a 1.2 16v 75 engine.

The Laureate is Dacia’s top of the range (prices from £7995 to £9795) and the Ambiance is the in-betweener (prices from £6595 to £8395) each with their own trim levels, a choice of petrol and diesel engines and accessory options.

The Sandero competes with supermini big sellers the Ford Fiesta and the VW Polo when you’d be paying nearer to £10,000.

That’s a big difference to any motoring budget even after you compare like for like in terms of options.

When it comes to looks, it’s probably fair to say that the Sandero wouldn’t stand out in a crowded car park but it’s still a perfectly good looking car as you can see.

The Laureate model I drove had the frugal TCe 90 petrol engine and came with front and rear electric windows, electric mirrors, cruise control, satellite navigation and air conditioning.

Value for money

This is where the Sandero performs best. It’s such good value. I suggest you drive the basic model for starters and see what you get… then decide what you REALLY need in terms of extras. The basic comes in a fashionable white, you get a comprehensive package of safety features and, if you like, you can save money by fitting your own car radio and audio system instead of buying more expensive branded options.

Both diesel engines are VED/tax exempt, you’ll enjoy combined fuel consumption of 74.3mpg and business drivers are taxed at 13% for Benefit In Kind (BIK).

All Dacias come with a 3 year or 60,000 mile warranty and you can pay to extend this to 7 years/100k mileage for £850. Clearly terms apply but they wouldn’t offer this unless they knew the car to be reliable (see FOXY Facts below for more detail).

Driving performance

IMG_0008I test drove the Sandero on a combination of city, rural and motorway roads in Sussex.

Yes the gear change was a tad sluggish I thought but it coped well in Brighton’s stop start city traffic and flew on the motorway when given its chance.

For the size of the car and engine, the 0-62mph time of 11 seconds is quite quick and at lower speeds, it feels even quicker.

It’s a quiet engine, the steering is light and the suspension made this a more comfortable ride than my everyday car in what I call ‘Pothole Country’ ie where I live in West Sussex.


Once you’re in it, the car seems bigger than it looks. The dashboard is smart (it had the MediaNav fitted) and there were two cupholders and handy storage trays. Ideal for five adults, it’d be a great family car with two ISOFIX child seat fittings in the back. The rear seat splits so you have even more storage space than just the ‘best in class’ 320 litre boot. Good for visits to IKEA, it’ll easily cope with the typical family supermarket shopping run and all the gear you’d need for a camping holiday. The Media Nav was easy for me to use (this is an option costing £225) including Bluetooth connectivity and having got used to parking sensors, I’d probably want these as part of the Protection Pack option adding £225 here.

Sadly, another car with poor handbag space in our quest for safe and accessible storage here. Under the seat again after I’ve dug out the money I need for the Dartford Tunnel…


When it came to test driving this car I had expected to ‘feel’ its cheapness. I quickly realised I couldn’t and neither will anyone else. I enjoyed the drive, appreciated the frugal and functional role that Dacia is filling in these tough economic times and I thoroughly recommend the Sandero as fabulous value for money for a family car.

Providing you do the maths first, pick only essential options and do without ‘nice to have’ bells and whistles, you’ll be buying a reliable new car with a Renault pedigree at a bargain price.

Steph Savill


IMG_0012Model tested: Dacia Sandero Laureate TCe 90

RRP: The entry model, the Dacia Sandero Access 1.2 16v 75 costs from £5995. The Laureate range starts from £7995 and the car I drove included a range of options including metallic paint (£495), 15 inch alloys (£425), a Protection Pack with parking sensors, carpet mats and a boot liner (£225) plus the 7 inch Media Nav touchscreen multimedia system with Bluetooth, USB and AUX connections (£250).

Buying discounts: You don’t get discounts when a car is as cheap as this one but you should expect a good trade-in if you have a low mileage car in good condition to deal over…

Fuel economy: The TCe 90 engine does 44.1mpg (Urban cycle), 65.7mpg (Extra urban cycle) and 56.5mpg (Combined cycle). The Laureate’s diesel dCi90 engine manages a combined cycle of 74.3mpg which is even more impressive.

Insurance group: The cars range from a very low insurance group 2E to a not much higher group 10E depending on the engine and spec.

Road tax/VED: The standard tax rate for the TCe 90 is £30 after a free first 12 months. The two diesel engines are both tax exempt.

Safety: Euro NCAP always tests the basic model and rates the Sandero as 3 stars overall. This overlooks the fact that this car gets 5 stars in the child protection and 4 stars for adult protection categories. Nor does it say that all models in the Sandero range come with ESC stability control, anti-lock brakes and four front airbags as standard.

Reliability: All Dacia models are thoroughly tested so they can cope in different environments and weather extremes. Not just that but Dacia has access to skills and technology from within the Renault-Nissan Alliance. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised to see that Dacia came in second in Germany’s 2010 JD Power Customer Satisfaction survey – behind Audi and ahead of BMW my goodness.

Environmental C02 rating: 116gsm.

FOXY’s all about the VA VA VOOM!

When Steph told me the next car for review was the new Renault Clio, I whooped with delight. Some might say I need to get a life, but you need to understand I already drive a five-year old Clio so I was keen to see how she had evolved.

Renault Clio 3As I went into the smart showrooms of Lifestyle Europe in Brighton I was impressed by the warm and friendly welcome. The service was exceptional and I was shown every gadget and widget the car has to offer. The only teeny issue I had was that the car was to be in the brightest yellow and certainly stood out! I soon learnt that this colour is fantastic when you’ve left the car in a public car park – you certainly can’t miss it!

On the other hand, if you just want a quiet drive and don’t want to be noticed, avoid this colour – as everyone’s eyes are drawn to it! Perfect for lovers of yellow and mini-celebs everywhere!

This model is important as the Clio is the replacement for Renault’s biggest seller.

Good looks

Renault Clio 1The funky-looking new Clio has a diamond-shaped front grille with a huge Renault badge. The Clio only comes as a 5-door now and the rear door handles are ‘hidden’ in the trim by the window. In fact, it looks like there are only three doors – very sleek!

This is a grown-up version, with new glossy exterior trim and ‘dynamic curves’ as Laurens Van Den Acker, Director of Industrial Design at Renault says in the brochure introduction.

The new Clio certainly takes a leading place along with today’s alternatives, while staying true to its original self.

There are four versions of the car: Expression, Expression+, Dynamique MediaNav (which I drove) and Dynamique S MediaNav. My car had 16” Passion alloy wheels, a new dashboard with 7” touch screen access to the onboard sat nav and media centre. The seats were comfortable but no different from earlier models and the same applies to the gear stick and hand brake position. This model had a leather steering wheel with gloss black insert to match the gloss black surround front speakers; electrically adjustable (manual folding) black gloss door mirrors and rain-sensitive windscreen wipers.

Whilst the Renault air conditioning and cabin temperature controls haven’t been updated, there are new personalisation features which mean you can create your own exterior and interior trim colour scheme. Apparently there are 30,000 option choices for trims, add-ons and gadgets! The mind boggles.

The new shape includes extended visibility through extra glass next to the side mirrors which is disconcerting at first but a bonus and easy to get used to.

Value for money

Current offers for the basic Clio range at Lifestyle Europe are between £11,995 and £14,995 depending on the type chosen, and there are finance arrangements available through Renault. The colour scheme comprises Glacier White, French Blue and Inca Yellow for solid paints and Oyster Grey, Diamond Black and Mercury for metallics, although there’s an extra cost for anything other than Glacier White.

The Clio range includes many features not always standard elsewhere such as electric windows at the front (the handles at the back let the car down, it has to be said), central locking via a key card, an excellent MediaNav centre including sat nav, radio, Bluetooth, USB and hands free technology, great sound system and fingertip controls on the right-hand steering wheel stem.

The range of Clios (apart from the 1.2 16V 75) has Renault eco² technology which means the vehicles emit less than 120g/km of CO² and is manufactured in a plant that has been certified ISO14001. The car can be 95% recoverable at the end of its life cycle.

My model has CO² emissions of 104 which makes it road tax exempt, a particularly attractive point for environmental and budgetary reasons. The 5-gear speed box gets a fuel consumption of c51.4 for urban driving and a combined consumption of 62.8 which makes it a good economic proposition.

Felicity enjoys a ride

Driving performance

I chose the petrol version rather than diesel simply because that’s what I currently drive so I could equitably compare.

Although this version had an 898cc engine, this wasn’t noticeable once the car was in third gear and above.

I was a little disappointed to see Renault haven’t tackled the problem of sluggish performance while going uphill, but the small engine size certainly didn’t make itself known on the motorway. My Yellow Peril positively purred past other drivers with a happy-go-lucky backward wave!

I found it nimble on a combination of dual carriageways and rural roads in Sussex. The 16 inch alloys meant it was quiet over bumps and it cornered fairly well. As with eco-version cars these days, when the engine was running, you couldn’t hear it. Switching the Eco mode on meant I was using less petrol too.

The practicalities

The back seats fold down easily to allow for extra space when needed and the usual good size Clio boot is still there, although it seemed more basic than on earlier models and you have to pay extra for a 15” spare wheel.

There was plenty of legroom in the front but because the new Clio has a more aerodynamic design, space at the rear seems to have suffered slightly, as has the rear window size.

The MediaNav is simple to use, especially if you’re used to sat navs, computers and technology generally. But – consider the usual disadvantage with touch screens: finger marks which certainly show up in the light.

A slight disappointment is the smaller glove compartment size which is due to a storage shelf above. Also there are two cup holders, one larger than the other, but they’re next to the handbrake which seems really awkward to use. There’s another cup holder for back seat passengers. And once again – no secure handbag storage area!

But I loved the hands free key card and stop/start button; also the useful placing of the hazard light and door locking buttons at the top of the dashboard panel. And the car has that satisfying ‘thunk’ sound when the doors close too!

The seat controls were the same as earlier models, basic but practical and easy to adjust.


Renault Clio 2Renault certainly hasn’t lost its Va Va Voom with the new Clio.

There was a certain French quality feel to the car and the thought of 30,000 options is impressive.

As a best seller, I would have expected little things like electric windows at the back, a full size spare tyre and a slightly quirkier dashboard, but the new Clio is still a highly functional, fun and enjoyable drive.

The Renault 4+ package is comforting too – it includes 4 years’ warranty, 4 years’ roadside cover, 4 years’ servicing and 4 years’ finance package if needed (Ts & Cs apply).

So, would I upgrade to the new version?

Mais oui, naturellement!

Jill Woolf


Model tested:
 Renault Clio Dynamique MediaNav TCe 90 S&S petrol engine, 5 door, 5-speed manual gearbox.
RRP: The new Clio range starts from £10,595. The Clio Dynamique MediaNav TCe 90 S&S petrol engine costs £13,345. Metallic paint adds £495.
Buying discounts: Current Lifestyle Europe offers from £11,995 to £14,995.
Fuel economy: MPG is Urban 51.4, Extra Urban 72.4 and Combined 62.8 which means it’s an economic car to run.
Insurance group: 8 ie should prove fairly cheap to insure.
Road tax/VED: 0
Safety: Scored 4-5 stars on the European New Car Assessment Programme
Reliability: A mid-range number 101 in the cars chart in the Reliability Index – this is based on claims made under warranty so again, it’s based on older models.
Environmental C02 rating: 104gsm.