Renault Clio III, one of the best cars that went under the radar of the europeans but was quite a hit on other continents. Renault Clio III, the official car of “the eastern european is too poor to buy something cheap”.

Launched in 2005 to replace the old Clio II, the Renault Clio III has remained a forgotten car in Renault’s history and definitely a car avoided by most people back in it’s day, because in 2005 we europeans were not fans of cheap, basic supermini cars. And it wasn’t just the issue with the Clio, as the Polo was the best case-in-point, which was the biggest supermini flop of it’s day.

The issue here is simpe. If you have 3000 euros available for your next chariot, why buy a modest 2010 Renault Clio III when you can buy a 2005 BMW E46 or a 2006 Skoda Octavia II? Yes, it costs the same to buy them, but the maintenance costs are a totally different chilli con carne.

And the Renault Clio III is not a cheap car to maintain just because it’s newer, the Renault Clio III is a reliable car full stop. In fact, it’s so reliable that it’s where Dacia Logan, Sandero, and Duster were born from. Yes, it’s not as good-looking as a Fiesta and not as luxurious as a Polo or an Audi A1, but the Renault Clio III is the most reliable, simplest, and cheapest of them all. Plus it came with engines with above-average power output.


So why we didn’t line up to buy one? Options such as satnav, leather, or panoramic sunshine roof are all but impossible to find on the Renault Clio III. Moreover, you won’t impress anyone by saying you own a ClioIt wasn’t even a popular fleet car, so the third-generation Clio remained a car for those private buyers who couldn’t afford more. And for that, like a shy girl in public but who’s an amazonian when it comes to under-the-belt stuff just because you say nice words to her every now and then, they were rewarded with a really, really good car.


Renault Clio III Engines


  • 1.2 MPI of 75 horsepower  – This engine gets to be standard on the Logan II and feels very much like soup. It gets the job done, it’s there. It doesn’t annoy you, it doesn’t excite you. It’s there. Oh and sometimes this engine tends to mix engine oil with the soup.
  • 1.2 TCe of 100 horsepower  – The turbocharged version is already something else. Now someone’s dropped a bag of chili peppers in the soup, as you eat it you go “oh that’s good food!”. And no, this isn’t the oil incontinent engine, it’s the Nissan version that does it.
  • 1.4 MPI of 98 horsepower – I have co-workers younger than this engine. Launched in the early ’90s, this engine is not remarkable for anything. It doesn’t even have any specific issues. He’s some kind of grade B student who went through life anonymously and now works as a clerk at a mall store. He doesn’t bother anyone, has a decent job, and has a simple life that doesn’t stand out. He goes for barbecues on weekends. Talks to his friends on the phone about football. He has a notebook in which he writes down the birthdays of his relatives and friends. He would discuss politics over a beer but he knows nothing about politics so he keeps quiet and listens, without bothering.
  • 1.6 MPI of 110, 112, and 130 horsepower – Clearly, if you want to have fun on a budget, the 130 horsepower is an excellent engine for the Renault Clio III. What’s more, it has more power than VW’s 1.6 FSI, but without the minuses.
  • 2.0 MPI of 138 horsepower – You know that friend who always rides with the group because he’s bored at home? So is this engine. It doesn’t make sense for this engine in the Renault Clio III, but it’s good to know it exists.
  • 2.0 Tce of 197 and 204 horsepower – The old Clio 182 becomes the Clio 200, in Sport, GT, RS, and RS Gordini versions. It’s a car where you buy the engine and you kind have to receive the rest because you have to.


  • 1.5 dci K9K with 68, 86, 90, and 105 hp – The legendary 1.5 K9K that’s been put in everything from the Logan to the Mercedes A-Class and Infiniti Q30. Watch out for the sub 90 horsepower versions because they have injectors made in between 5 beers and a bottle of surgical spirit, in Romania. Also, watch out for engines up to 2011 because they have issues with soot contamination from diesel of a quality worthy of morning TV shows that respect scantily clad women. 


Renault Clio III  General Issues

  • Petrol engines tend to eat up on coilpacks and need the timing belt replaced every 50,000 km. It must cost you something, you can’t really have a maintainance free car.
  • The suspension on the Renault Clio III is made of chewing gum and is sensitive to bad roads. Fortunately, this information has no relevance in Europe, where the roads are absolutely flat and impeccable. 
  • For those of you who own a Clio III with an automatic gearbox, I must remind you that the oil has to be changed every 50.000 km. And for the one owner of a Clio III with a sunroof must warn him of water leaking from the hatch.
  • Renault Clio III eats headlights like a Romanian at an all-inclusive in Bulgaria or on holidays. But that was a issue with the Megane II too, so nothing new under the sun for onion-eaters with ambiguous sexual orientation.


Renault Clio III Verdict

A reliable Renault? A cheap car to buy and maintain? Seriously now, the Renault Clio III is one of the few cars you can buy for 3000 euros that is Euro 5. Yes, it’s a simple car with no flamboyance, but it’s an honest car. Like a cheap kebab that you eat at night after you’ve left the pub and had too many beers. It’s not like you’re buying expensive food because you spent all your money on beer. Same with this car, it’s a cheap car you can always get, especially if you’re looking for a cheap and good car. But you’re not gonna look for cheap and good. Because you won’t impress anyone by saying you’ve just bought a Clio.


Which engine do I recommend? Definitely the 1.2 TCe with 100 horsepower. The diesel engine doesn’t really belong in a small city car like the Renault Clio. Otherwise the good old 1.4 NA is fine aswell. As for the diesel, you got the 1.5 dCi K9K anyway, but that’s all the engine you would need.