I recently returned from a trip to Croatia where I rented a Renault Clio from Sixt. The process with Sixt was very easy and affordable, I would use them again. They had a strange policy where they wanted us to return the car with an empty as tank as possible. I think they said it had something to do with taxes.
I always get the smallest class available when driving in Europe, I would be terrified driving a large car/truck through the cities. There were times when my Clio was almost too big for some streets/parking.
Drivetrain: This car has a petrol engine and 5 speed manual. I’m not sure on the engine size but itwas never lacking for power, and 5 speeds is the perfect number for this car. I avoided toll roads and stuck to small country roads so I mostly used 2-4 gears. For such a small engine it had plenty of power for passing all the slow tourists and busses.
Ride & Handling: I’ve never cared much for fwd, this car makes me reconsider that. I pushed it hard through the mountain roads and barely ever got a whiff of understeer or torque steer. The chassis was well balanced and rotated better than almost any car I’ve driven in the past few years. Steering feedback was better than expected. The ride was decently quiet and comfortable.
Interior: The interior was very basic as I expected but a pleasant place to be. The seats were better than anything I’ve driven in a long time. Even better than those in a Porsche Boxster I rented earlier this year. They were well bolstered and very supportive with fantastic lumbar support. The seats were all manual, which I find way easier to get comfortable with. The steering wheel was great and the gauge cluster easily visible. There was an abundance of interior charging options.
I do have a few gripes with the interior though.
1. No button anywhere to change the radio station as the passenger, only the touchscreen. They have buttons for it on the wheel.
2. The tachometer and fuel gauge are the only two physical gauges, everything else is done with idiot lights.
3. The glare from the dashboard and the drivers side dash vent in the mirror was constantly obnoxious. I noticed this in a Rav4 recently as well. Stop putting shiny shit on the dashboard!
4. I hate keyless start. I find it to be more annoying than ever using a key was. Just to put down the windows I have to turn the car on for a second and then turn it off to get accessories to work vs. just turning a key to the correct position. The key fob that comes with the Renault is a joke.
5. The cup holders were small, with one being smaller than the other. Definitely can’t fit a big gulp in there.
Other things of note:
1. The color is fantastic. These red Clios were every where. I like the design too, fairly simple and curvy. Not too many unnecessary details.
2. The low beams weren’t very good, but the high beams were fantastic. Driving around almost every night in Croatia, I only got blinded by an oncoming car once. So much better than in the states.
3. Fuel consumption was fantastic. I drove a little over 2100km and averaged 5.5l per 100km. I was very happy with that considering fuel is expensive and I was driving pretty aggressively almost all of the time and that is with never using the eco setting.
4. Luggage space was great with a covered hatch area.
Overall 8/10, I would love to rent one again. I expected to get a Fiat 500 but this showed up instead, probably for the better. Maybe I’ll have to try out one of the hotter Clios at the Nurburgring someday.
PS: Don’t let a fire extinguisher roll around in your hatchback for a week, it will eventually pop when driven aggressively.