Please note: Torque incorrectly given as 135Nm. Should be 190Nm
Renault Clio Intens and Zen
What we like: fabulous looks, comfort, loads of tech, walk away locking
Not so much: jerky DCT, manual only in base model, no CarPlay
Silly names, but great cars, Renault’s Zen and Intens are brilliant city car packages.
A 2,589 wheelbase isn’t huge, and with a torsion beam rear end, and rear drum brakes, we expected to be a bit disappointed. But, not a bit of it.
First, there’s the look.
Cute as a button with big bright Pure Vision headlights. They’re highlighted by massive LED daytime running lights for added safety. The rear LEDs are just as bright, and give the exterior a premium touch.
Depending on the model, you get either 16” or 17” wheels. The brochure says there is a space saver spare, but our cars only had the inflation kits.
I particularly like the body coloured trim accented with chrome on the grille and side panels.
The rear doors have concealed handles, and privacy glass in the top two models. There is smart entry and start, so the card/key can stay secreted about your person.
Clio seats 4, but rear passengers are going to be cramped if there is someone tall in front. You can fit 5 adults if they’re very, very, good friends.
That’s true of almost all city cars, and since you’ll be doing short trips, it won’t much matter.
Seating is super comfortable.
Upholstery is a combination of leather, leatherette, and cloth, and differs between models. It looks good. I tried to pick what was real leather and not. And, I couldn’t tell the difference, and decided it didn’t matter.
In most models, the lighting inside is LED, and includes mood lighting.
As usual, the main cruise control switch is on the centre console, a fact that continues to annoy me.
The infotainment system is a fast responding 7” LCD, with additional steering wheel, and stalk, controls. The stalk controls are behind the wheel, and are blocked when the wheel is in its home position. It’s annoying, and unnecessary.
I’d rather the audio controls on the front of the wheel like every other car.
Although the standard speakers are excellent, there is an optional Bose fit out that can be specified on Intens and GT-Line. The top 3 models get voice control, with the top two getting R-Link navigation and multimedia as well.
The sound is amazing, especially given the relatively low asking price.
Bluetooth pairing is simple, and can be done by pressing the phone button and following instructions. We did it in under 10 seconds, as is the case with most new cars.
Always try pressing the “phone” button first when trying to pair. A car’s system will usually say there are no phones paired, and ask you if you want to pair one. You can also go into the Bluetooth menu, and do it from there.
Self-parking on the Zen and Intens is easy to use, and will do parallel, angle, and 90° parking by selecting the option you want on the touch screen.
The DCT dual-clutch automatic isn’t as smooth as in the Megane. It tends to be a bit “grabby”, with surges especially at lower speeds. You can learn to get around it fairly quickly. Other than that, gear changes are reasonably fast, and manual changes can be made via the floor shifter.
The drive is utterly divine. The ride is as smooth as s