I could probably copy-paste the Renault Clio article and rename it Renault Clio Symbol and then I could happily go to a pub because look what a good job I did. But then again, someone asked for an article about the Renault Clio Symbol so here we are.
That’s because the Renault Clio Symbol is effectively a Clio with a boot, just like the Jetta is a Golf with a boot. And with that, I could congratulate myself on this article and say that it’s just a Clio with a boot.
Is that so?
The Renault Clio Symbol has been far more successful than the Clio on which it is based, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the Clio Symbol was a simplified version of the Clio, lacking many options and engines available on the supermini which meant that it was significantly cheaper. Only 3 engines came, 2 petrols and 1 diesel, and all 3 were reliable enough to keep you happy.
And here comes the real success of the Renault Clio Symbol – in its day it was a low-cost car, a low-cost version of a car that was already low-cost. Except this is the early 2000s and at that time the saloon was the word of law. SUVs were just coming on the scene but they weren’t yet in full force and Clio or Polo class cars weren’t popular because they were seen as for the poor. And the Renault Clio Symbol came in at the right time and presented itself as a car for those who wanted a saloon but didn’t have the money for a saloon. Sorry, “limousine”. And just like that, the Clio Symbol became an extremely popular car overnight, because it was one of the cheapest sedans on the market. And that’s what we in Eastern Europe have always looked for, cheap and good. It was built cheap enough that anyone could afford it, but it wasn’t so cheap that you were bothered by the lack of fundamental features. It cost a bit more than a Logan, it was built with parts in common with a Logan, but the sheet metal and performance were above Logan. In today’s money, a Renault Clio Symbol started at around 8500 euros without discounts or any of that nonsense and that’s how many people flocked to buy them, either on a personal or fleet basis.
Renault Clio Symbol Engines
- 1.4 MPI of 75 and 98 horsepower – The legendary 1.4 from the Logan is also found here on the base model Clio Symbol. Apart from the stepper motor, this engine will rev to infinity. Some people boast that their cars reach 400,000 km (like the Passat B6), but the old 1.4 MPI easily reaches the 1 million km mark without much trouble. Sure, it’ll take a million years to get 1 million km, but it’s good to know you can. Oh yeah, it was also the only engine that had an automatic transmission but there’s nothing wow about it so you can say pass anyway.
- 1.6 MPI of 105 horsepower – I normally recommend bigger engines, but the problem is that for the Clio Symbol this engine also comes with such a high price tag that it doesn’t justify the car and that’s why it’s rarer than my moments of lucidity.
1.5 dCi of 65 horsepower – This was the engine of choice for fleet cars and sales agents, the K9K engine needing no introduction. Yes, there were some injector issues in the beginning but most likely they have been changed already so not much to change on it.
Renault Clio Symbol General Issues
- That 8500 euro price is reflected in the quality of the car. It was only in 2006 that air conditioning and CD players become standard equipment, and the overall quality of the interior materials is just as you imagine it to be. But at least it did decently in NCAP tests.
- It was a cheap car to buy new and very cheap to buy used, and cars like this don’t get much love or maintenance because if it breaks down anyway the owner won’t cry for it. In other words, you’ll have to search and sort. Good luck!
- The hood latch should be caressed, tightened, and greased from time to time so it will punish you and not hold on to your hood or windshield WHEN THE BONNET OPENS WHEN DRIVING.
Renault Clio Symbol Verdict
A car stuck in time, just like reality shows. You can tell Renault didn’t put much effort into this car, and after all, why would they? The Renault Clio Symbol practically sold itself. And is it worth 1000 euros? As long as it’s working, then it’s definitely worth it. Because this car runs on the “it doesn’t break down because there’s nothing to break down” philosophy.
Which engines do I recommend? For the petrol 1.4 MPI 75 horsepower because it’s in common with the Logan and you can find parts on every fence. As for diesel, the 3.0 TDI 245 horsepower is the pick of the bunch.