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Ford Fiesta or the Renault Clio?

By raccars Published

By Ryan Child for RAC Cars
RAC’s Verdict Exterior styling Interior design Ride and Handling Value for money Best engine
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Renault Clio star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi star-orange-hi

Used Ford Fiesta - What Do You Need to Know?

The Ford Fiesta has reliability stamped all over it. It is instantly recognisable as a Ford with a safe, yet slightly uninspired design and ticks all the right boxes when searching for a solid, richly equipped and practical supermini (small family car).

  • Small boot compared to clio
  • Comfortable for longer, family drives
  • Some models are looking dated
  • Economic runners
  • Strong build means they're made to last
View all of the used Ford Fiesta models on RAC Cars.

Used Renault Clio - What Do You Need to Know?

The Renault Clio is the epitome of French panache and chic design, with its curvy body lines and modern styling. These days the Clio looks more athletic than the Fiesta but it can be let down by some rather cheap interior materials.

  • Excellent boot space
  • Average interior materials
  • Racy exterior design
  • Base models struggle on fast corners
  • Economic and reliable engine
View all of the used Renault Clio models on RAC Cars.

A Short History of the Fiesta and the Clio

The Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio have both become part of the supermini lexicon in the UK. Both vehicles have outstanding pedigree bred through years of refinement, beginning in 1976 for the Fiesta and 1990 for the Clio. At first, Ford wanted to call their car the Bobcat, but that was thrown out when they found how much fun it was to drive.

In addition, while the Americans were having their party, the designers at Renault, some years later, decided it was time to replace the Renault 5. In the 26 years since that day, the Clio has sold more than 13 million worldwide.

The Fiesta has only managed around 4 million, but then that is the figure for just the UK. That’s the most by any car in this country, ever.

Design

There was a straighter, more breadbin shape to both of these supermini’s when they first came to market. The Fiesta Mark 1 was a brilliant shoebox of a car that reminds you of the early VW Golf’s, with all-rally wedges and style. From there, nothing much changed until 1989 when the Mark 3 brought with it far better suspension and a newer, more modern look.

At around the same time, Renault finally brought us it’s Clio, essentially rescuing the company, and immediately winning European Car of the Year in 1991. After that, the Fiesta Mark 4 sold more than any other car between 1994-99, which means you’ll find plenty of well priced options available on the market today. It has to be said, though, that the Mark 5 is where the Fiesta went right again in terms of looks. We got our racy, styled Fiesta back.

While that was all happening, Renault made a bulbous masterstroke, releasing the Clio 2 to much acclaim. This more rounded design was raced up in 2001 with sharper headlights and added lines. If I was buying a second hand Clio, this is the year I’d be starting from, unless we go back to the early original. In 2005 the third Clio came onto the scene, wowed everyone with it’s sportier feel, and duly won the European Car of the Year in 2006.

Since becoming the only model to win the award on separate occasions the Clio has, like the Fiesta, become more angular and racy again. It starts lower to the ground now and still holds that playful, rallying attitude it did back on day one.

Fiesta - What Should You Look Out For?

white-ford-fiesta

 

Every warning light should come on when you start the car, then go out straight away.

Listen for noise when you drive over speed bumps (pull up onto the kerb when you park if there aren't any bumps). The creaking noise means the front suspension drop links will need to be replaced.

Damp front carpet could mean an air conditioning leak or water seal leak. In the worst case scenario it’s a £300 fix, but make sure to ask for the issue to be fixed or if not, ensure you negotiate a better deal.

Clio - What Should You Look Out For?

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Check the car service and maintenance history for suspension, brakes and electric problems. These are the three most commonly recurring issues.

If the particular vehicle is before 1998, make sure it was called back to fix the accelerator cable. This was a nationwide recall in 2001.

The boot release catch can come off and cause damage to the windscreen. Have good look at it and ask about it.

How Do They Compare On Driving Dynamics?

Both the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio have a solid reputation when it comes to driving dynamics and the high-end models in each line-up offer the truly exhilarating, edge-of-the-seat driving experience. For example, the Fiesta ST200 can race from 0-62 mph in just 6.7 seconds. The Clio Renaultsport is even faster and completes the same dash in 6.6 seconds.

Both cars are exceptionally comfortable with a near-perfect driving position which allows the driver easy access to all controls and instrumentation. This is one of the reasons why both the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio are excellent cars to learn to drive in.

Practicality

The interior of the Ford Fiesta will be looking forward to a refresh in 2017, although we don’t think the current offering is too bad. There is quite a lot of hard plastic within the cabin, however, which can easily be scratched. The steering is chunky and informative, the seats are fabulously comfortable, the interior trim is well-made and feels upmarket and all the pedals feel light but responsive. It’s a great car for the younger generations, parents and pensioners.

The Renault Clio is more modern and fresh in appearance and the quality within the cabin also feels superior. However, the Renault Clio MK4 models that were built from 2012 to 2014 experienced two recalls in 2014, due to brake fluid leaks, therefore Renault has experience reliability issues with older models.

Both cars offer good storage options. The Fiesta boot has a capacity ranging from 290 litres to 974 (with the rear seats folded). The Clio boot is larger and ranges from 300 litres to 1,146.

New Ford Fiesta And Renault Clio Models

Engines and gearboxes

The choice of engines for both the new Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio is extensive.

One of the stand-out engines on offer in the Fiesta is the award-winning three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine or, for diesel fans, the 1.5-litre Zetec ECOnetic can deliver up to 88.3mpg on a joint run. Similarly, the Clio has a 0.9 litre turbocharged petrol engine and an economical 1.5-litre diesel option that can also achieve a combined 88.3mpg.

Ford Fiesta models are available in four richly equipped trim levels called Zetec, Titanium, ST-Line and ST. Prices new range from £13,545 to £22,895, whereas used prices range from as low as £200, up to £18,000.

Renault Clio models are on offer in Expression, Play, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Renaultsport. Prices new range from £11,815 to £22,425, whereas used prices range from £400 up to £15,000.

Used Prices And Key Facts

Model Used Price (From) Insurance Group EC Combined MPG CO2 Emissions
Ford Fiesta '09 1.4 Zetec (p) £4,995 6 49.5 133g/km
Renault Clio '09 Dynamique 1.6 (p) £4,495 12 64.2 115g/km

*Used prices are from RAC Cars 2016

The fuel types in this table are shown with the (p) for petrol, while the combined MPG is calculated by including motorway and urban driving. That way the number is a more accurate reflection of your driving habits. To the right of the table is the CO2 emissions, a number that could affect how much you pay for tax. The number shows how many grams of carbon dioxide the car emits per kilometre.

In regards to insurance groups, there are 50 car insurance groups that are determined by the Group Rating Panel. The particular car insurance group that a car is placed in will be used to calculate the premium. These groups are used as a risk indicator for insurance companies, with group 1 being the lowest risk and therefore being the lowest premium group, and group 50 being the highest.

Using the above emissions, you can view the tax band and annual cost of the above models in the table. Alternatively, if you know the registration number there are tools available to check the tax such as the gov.uk tax rate calculator.

View our full range of Used Ford Fiesta and Used Renault Clio models and find your next car today.

Alternatively, view our full review of the Ford Fiesta and the Renault Clio on RAC Drive.

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