As the second lightest car in this year’s tests, the Clio is quite limited in the tourers it can tow sensibly. It’s also worth noting that if your car is loaded to its gross weight (the maximum allowed) then the towing limit falls from 1200kg to 900kg.
These limitations aside, the Clio is a capable small tow car. We found the Renault stable at the legal limit, and it easily bettered the Skoda Fabia Scout in the lane-change test. Even on high-speed runs the Clio stayed on course and quickly dragged the caravan back into line.
The Renault out-performed most small cars in the hill-start test, too. The handbrake held without undue force, and although plenty of revs and clutch slip were needed, the outfit soon reached the top of the slope. The Clio also coped well in reverse.
Better ride comfort and quicker acceleration would have improved its scores. With 148lb ft of torque, the Clio’s 1.5-litre diesel engine is strong enough to pull a lightweight tourer up to 60mph, but it takes its time.
If you don’t mind a leisurely pace you should be rewarded with excellent economy. Official figures promise 70.6mpg on the combined cycle, so running costs should be low. The What Car? Target Price shows healthy discounts are available, too.