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 ) 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!