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Today, I have mainly been wanging about in...

Discussion in 'Motors' started by DRZ, 12 Apr 2006.

  1. DRZ


    Joined: 2 Jun 2003

    Posts: 6,861

    Location: In the top 1%

    A 55 plate Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 65 Dynamique!

    Got to the forecourt of the courtesy car place hoping for something petrol and fun but was HUGELY dismayed to find a fleet of Renaults. The chap took my car keys off me and handed me some keys and pointed at a silver 1.5 dCi - "Oh no, not a diesel!"

    I got in and the first thing that struck me was just how uncomfortable it was - cue a literal 10 minutes of fannying about with the seat position until I was happy. Once used to it, its not THAT bad in truth, although the pedal angles are a bit steep (compared to the Ka, anyway).

    Started the engine and yep, it sounded like a tractor :( Obviously I didnt wait to wam it up and rammed it out of the garage onto the road - loads of torque, bugger all power.

    The gearbox is like stirring porridge - its nowhere near slick, there is LOADS of play in-gear and the stick moves about an inch depending on if you are on throttle or not. 1st gear is pathetically short, 2nd and 3rd gear are MUCH better, 4th tops out at not much over 80 it seems and 5th gear is good for 100mph after a couple of years on the motorway. The single most annoying thing about the box is when you are trying to press on - changes up the box between 2nd, 3rd and 4th are OK - changing down isnt so good. Between 4th and 5th is a joke. On more than one occasion when I had to change down from 5th to 4th for a corner or whatever, I have hit the gate rather than going through it - this simply should not happen IMO!

    The engine isnt bad for a diesel I suppose. 65bhp seems about right, although a pedestrian 15s to 60 makes for a fun ride joining motorways etc... The enging makes itself felt at about 2k rpm (before that and you may as well push), reaches full beans between 3500 and 4200ish revs and has died a death long before the red line at a shade under 5000 revs. It is fairly smooth though - a lot nicer drive than the 1.3 engine in the Ka gives, even if the low-revving nature of it is VERY irritating out of the bends. I dont like hitting the limiter unexpectedly!

    Handling is amazing compared to what I was expecting - it does hold the road rather better than I thought it would. I started off tentatively entering corners that I would normally take at 50+mph at about 30mph expecting bad things but was suprised when it gave me much more confidence than I was expecting! In fact, despite 60 miles of a bloody good thrashing (my side of the road only though, so you have an idea :p) I never had an "oooooh, maybe a bit slower next time" moment.

    The brakes are assisted so coming from the Ka I was braking far too hard just trying to shave off a few mph. After 20 miles or so I was used to it. ABS kicks in a little early too but its not as bad as the focus ABS cut-in, it seems to gently ease itself in and out, which is a nice touch I think.

    The automatically controlled headlights confused the bejesus out of me at first but once you are used to the car doing stuff like that for you, its alright. Bit irritating when you are stuck under a bridge, but there we go.

    When I got in this car, I absolutely hated it. About 20 miles later I still hated it. 60 miles on from that, and I am starting to grow quite fond of it :(

    I have it for a while, so I can keep you posted on the joys of clio diesel powah!
  2. Firestar_3x


    Joined: 11 Mar 2005

    Posts: 30,512

    Location: Leafy Cheshire

    Good review, feel sorry that you only have the 65bhp version bet the 100bhp one is half way good tbh!
  3. Stellios


    Joined: 27 Aug 2004

    Posts: 17,023

    Location: Geordieland

    My dad took the 1.6 petrol and the 1.5 diesel on a test drive the week they were released. I wasnt impressed with the ride in either of them, the suspenion was 'sporty' as the dealer said it, but it didnt have the go to match which gave the feel of it being a bit limp, and for a decent specced one your looking at second hand Honda CTR prices (and i knwo what id take). The 1.6 he took out was £12K, which i actually choked when the bloke said and actually reponded by saying "are you kidding". The 1.6 pulls no better than his current 1.4 dynamique due to the extra weight (was a bit more torquey though), and the diesel pulls well, but has very little acceleration.

    The car is definately quieter then the old Clio, but as said i found it difficult to get comfortable as the seat were quite hard and not as supportive as the ones in his current clio, but due to it being a test drive i just put up with a numb arse.

    Inside they certainly are bigger as i didnt need a shoe horn to get in, but its certainly not that much bigger.

    Overall it is a nice car, but for a good specced one they are just too expensive for what should be a cheapish car.
  4. Nozzer


    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 9,495

    Location: Sunny South-East

    Sounds to me like your gripes are with the usual downsides of diesels (short 1st gear, hitting the limiter quickly) than the Renault itself... Although you do say you're warming to it :).
  5. TomO


    Joined: 28 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,303

    i had one as a hire car when i was in corsica and i was reasonably impressed by it. i certainly think it was better than a 1.3/1.4 petrol in the circumstances. the decent torque meant i didnt have to keep swapping cogs on the inclines /declines - think of the corsica rally and thats most of the country. handling was respectable. sure it was going to win any speed trials, but i think the torque of the diesel was really useful.
  6. energy

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 22 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,298

    Location: Chingford

    I rented one of these about 3 years ago from Easycar but in 80hp Dynamique trim, they are reasonably decent with good handling and steering feel, but other than that, not much going for them - overservoed brakes & vague gearbox, I remember 3rd gear in particular would need a slightly lopsided approach but these issues I've found on several Renault cars (Megane both new and old, several Clios, 19).

    I did think the engine was very good though, that said I've not driven many diesels. You just need to get used to the fact that diesels don't like to rev - power doesn't last very long and the heavy flywheel hinders response, but thats diesels for you.
  7. DRZ


    Joined: 2 Jun 2003

    Posts: 6,861

    Location: In the top 1%

    Just got in from the pub - afterwards I went for a bit of a drive ;)

    5 miles of open road later and I had an average of 20.8 mpg showing on the onboard computer :D

    15 miles inc about 7 miles of motorway and some granddadding about town got me 75ish mpg

    10 miles of motorway at 60mph returned a tad over 80mpg, depending on how level the road was.

    Average MPG when driving like I do in the Ka "about town" returned 50mpg - far, far, far more than the Ka could ever do in the same situation.

    Im quite impressed by that! I actually quite like the car, despite its niggles.

    Pics of it shall be posted tomorrow if I can be arsed :p