Renault small sporting estate

So well known is the Renault Clio that its estate car sibling, the Clio Sport Tourer, is a little in shadows. I coaxed it out to give it the chance to prove itself on a five-day test as my everyday transport.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Renault started taking orders for the new Clio Sport Tourer. It may be one of the smallest estate cars on the UK market at just 4.2 metres long, but – as we proved on a long weekend tour of the garden centres (where our wallets grew lighter as the car grew heavier) the Clio Sport Tourer can carry quite substantial loads.

Renault Clio Sport Tourer hatch

Yes, I can officially confirm this really is a flexible load carrier. Boot space with the rear seat in place, at 439 litres – is more than 50% greater than the hatchback. With the seats folded down, this extends to 1277 litres – up 23% on the hatchback. But, more importantly, is usable space with a good, flat load floor.

There is also a useful space hidden below the boot floor. This is also where you can stow the parcel shelf when the seats are down. Well done Renault – other manufacturers please note!

Renault Clio Sport Tourer

The fact that Renault put the word “Sport” into the title suggests that this new car is more aimed at customers who want to carry sports gear, than those who frequent garden centres. But, the load carrying abilities were equally well proven!

The cost of the additional load-carrying ability is £850, when you compare the Clio Sport Tourer with the five-door Clio hatch. Prices range from £12,095 for the 1.2 16V 75 to £14,495 for the dCi 106.

The test car was the latter – the diesel 106. Its 1.5 diesel proved gutsy, but pleasantly quiet and refined. Fuel economy was good, easily topping 40 mpg in a range of driving conditions.

The interior is pleasant and quite well laid out, although I was slightly amused at the desperation of the designers to avoid conventional controls, like knobs that you turn. Instead, the Clio Sport Tourer utilises roller ball controls wherever possible, sometimes with less easily controllable results.

The only other thing I noted about the controls was the very high bite point on the clutch pedal. This took some initial getting used to, but once accustomed, proved no problem.

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