Everything wrong with the Renault Clio Mk.II
A short tale of woe. Looking back at my first car, a Renault Clio Mk.II 2004.
Typically I'd start by telling you some fascinating performance figures of the newly released Porsche 911 in this part of a car review, if that's what this even is. However, the car in question isn't quite a 911, it is, in fact, a fifteen-year-old Renault Clio Mk.II. Now I would bore you with the figures, but that would be pointless as it's about as welcome on the track as a flatulent is in an elevator. So instead, I'll start with everything that's wrong with it.
Big Mac meal with a large Fanta you say? I'll tell you something, that large cup won't be fitting in those cup holders, and nor will the medium. To say they're nearly impossible to both use or access wouldn't be too far from the truth. It's also probably worth a mention that they're famously renown for a sunroof that'll leak like your mother's colander. That being said, I've seemed to end up with the only one that doesn't.
There is another fairly large talking point and unlike the others, it's rather unfixable. It's French - a byword for half-hearted and over-complicated engineering. For example; your trusty Clio has reached fifty thousand miles, and it's time for a cam-belt change. The part itself will cost about the same as a family takeout for four. But to reach the bastard, well that'll take north of £250. The French did invent FWD, however, they've seemed to have stuck with it ever since. Consequently, at 'high' speed, it'll scrabble for grip like a spaniel does on ice, usually giving up and understeering like the QE2.
So it may come across as I hate the little french car. But despite all the above, it's quite the opposite. I bloody love the thing. I've even named him, Huckleberry. So there must some good parts? You may be glad to know, there is a few.
It doesn't have any horrific Corsa-esc styled stereotypes attached, which is a good start whichever way you look at it. If I were you I'd buy one just because of that. Buy one second hand and you won't be short of choice. They're cheap, cheerful and not short of character either. It has plenty of boot space, with the back seats folded down it'll fit an adults bike in the back and still do 44.7mpg. Insurance is affordable for both young and new drivers too.
In the winter it'll confidently tear around using it's two front legs during a certain 'Beast from the East' on the snow and ice, showing up it's tougher AWD brothers and sisters. And during the summer - with a little DIY tweaking involved - it'll make a comfortable home for a two week, three thousand mile extravaganza around the Alps.
So all in all, it boils down to one question. Would I change starting my life on the open road to something other than a Renault Clio Mk.II? Amazingly, I've come to the bizarre conclusion that no, I wouldn't.