1999 Renault Clio RN 1.2 from UK and Ireland
An excellent all round car
The only problems that I have found with this car so far have been a faulty sunroof. The sunroof didn't leak, it just squeaked which was annoying when driving! This was a general Clio problem and was repaired free of charge after several visits to the dealer and complaints which took about 5 months to sort out.
When first purchased the gearbox was hard to put into 1st gear and 2nd gear, but the dealer sorted that out quickly with no problems.
I have been driving this car since December 2002 when I past my driving test. I find this car brilliant, despite the sunroof problems. This is one of the only things that I can fault with Renault. The customer service isn't all it's cracked up to be. I was getting told that the sunroof problem was a common problem and would get sorted under warranty. This is fair enough as it was like it then when I first got the car, but the car went in three times for repairs and I got charged. I complained and got this money back, reluctantly might I add.
Although the car is used all the time and has done 34000 miles plus, the interior doesn't make a single squeak, which makes the drive pleasurable. I like the interior, as for a small car it looks substantial, making it seem like a more expensive car. The interior of the car is also very spacious for the driver and front passenger. Unfortunately the rear passengers don't have quite so much room, which is strange considering it's a five door. Luckily I don't carry lots of passengers, as the car doesn't like it. The boot space is ample. You can't expect a Volvo sized boot space from a car like this, but the size that Renault does give you can easily handle a weekly shop with room to spare. I'm don't think it would cope well with a trip down to MFI as even with the seats collapsed it isn't extremely spacious, but you can't expect much from a small car like this.
The exterior is again substantial it is also modern looking. The look of the car is one thing that has attracted me to the Clio's. The look like they can withstand an accident well.
The safety features in the Clio's and other Renaults as superb. I haven't been in an accident so I can't tell you how well they work out, but even the standard cars like mine come with airbags and impact bars as well as ABS.
The performance of the Clio is good. High speeds in it are unfortunately aren't as pokey as the lower speeds, but it still manages more than well down motorways even if the engine does sound quite loud, although this isn't as noticeable inside the car as it is quite air tight. Considering the standard 1.2 engine, the acceleration in this car is very good and when you need to pull out onto a main road it can cope with it well. When overtaking in the car it seems like you need a diary to plan it out, as the car hasn't got the poke for this. I have found that when the car is loaded with three or more large people plus luggage the acceleration suffers as you can expect in a small car. Despite this it still manages well.
Overall I feel that this is a superb car for first time drivers and experienced drivers. The engine is brilliant and the gearbox is a pleasure making it so easy to change gear quickly and smoothly. The safety features, looks and the comfortable, spacious interior make the car wonderful and brilliant to drive. It seems like I can drive forever with no problems, and the car feels like it will go forever with ease as well. Despite the problem with the sunroof the general customer service of the dealer is brilliant which is why I have gone back to them to buy my own first car, as this Clio is my mum's. The car I am buying is a new (03 reg) Clio 1.2 16v 3dr Billabong, which is being delivered at the end of May so look out for a review of that on this site when I get it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th March, 2003
That is good to know about Clio as I should be getting my Billabong the end of this month (March) - although I won't be putting up a review yet as I am a new driver and will need to drive for a few months to actual comment on it.
What did attract me to the Clio was the new dynamique look on the outside and the billabong look inside (probably bit put off by the Billabong badge). It also comes with a generous helping of standard equipment compared to other cars of this class.
It would be nice to see more Billabong reviews though, although it is basically the same as the dynamique.
Further to the comment above, you can get the Billabong badges removed from your local Renault dealer. I know this as my brother bought a Clio when he learnt to drive. This was a special edition MTV version (rather like the Billabong, but with a lot less extras). He got the badges removed as he didn't like them. My dealer did it free of charge and I'm sure your dealer will too. Good luck with your new car when you get it.
I also own the same car; mine is a 1999 and only done 34,000 miles. But once again as you just stated above with the gearbox problems, mine will refuse to go into 1st and 2nd every now and then. But what did Renault actualy do to repair this? But overall, everything is the same: good power around town, good mpg, and fairly modern looks. I would recommend!