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Renault unveiled its new Clio here this week amid signs that more people are downsizing to smaller hatchbacks from larger saloons.

The fifth-generation Clio (it insists it is “100pc new”) looked and felt fresh and smart as I sat in for a lively, taut drive during a brief spin near Castledermot on Monday.

The sharp drive is due, in part, to a decent suspension, but also to the new 100bhp petrol engine under the bonnet (up 10bhp on the TCe 90 it replaces).

The new car will cost from €16,690 for the entry-level Expression. Standard spec includes EasyLink, 7ins touchscreen (9.3ins with higher spec), LED headlights, air con, electric windows and a spread of ADAS elements. ADAS (Advanced Driver’s Assistance Systems) includes Automatic Emergency Brake System with pedestrian protection and Lane Keep assist.

They are essential if a car is to be awarded five stars, as the Clio has been, in the EuroNcap tests.

It reckons most buyers will opt for the Dynamique trim level; it has the new EasyLink system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. It costs from €18,690.

Or you may go for higher Iconic spec (plus €1,300) with EasyLink, built-in navigation, Google address search too. Between the two trims it anticipates 90pc of sales.

Range-topping RS Line gets exterior glitz treatment (17ins alloys and 9.3ins EasyLink screen).

The car overall has a better-quality interior while the exterior looks have been tweaked a little.

It’s a tad shorter (yet roomier inside) and a little wider.

It reckons there has been a Clio sold every minute since it started making the car back in 1990.

With so many dipping into the supermini market from larger saloons that frequency of purchase looks assured.

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