Provided by Independent.ie

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.

Provided by Independent.ie