If you are a family man and you want a car that isn’t too big or too small, one that isn’t too cheap or too expensive, or one that isn’t overly luxurious yet not cheap-feeling either, you should focus your attention on compact hatchbacks. The reason why we say hatchbacks is because these small, yet spacious cars are the perfect blend of everything in a single package.
This is the reason why hatchbacks have become so extremely popular and why almost all reputable brands (outside the US) still offer many hatchback models. The sheer progress of the automotive industry enables us to enjoy a hatchback that feels like a much bigger car on the inside, but still retains all the benefits you’d usually associate with a hatchback.
In this article, we will compare two fierce rivals in this segment, the Hyundai i20, and the Renault Clio. The i20 has been around for about 15 years and is now in its third and much-improved generation. The Renault Clio on the other hand has been around for more than 22 years and is in its 5th iteration which means that this should be a good one.
We will put these two hatchbacks through an extensive head-to-head test and tell you why you should go for one over the other. So, Hyundai i20 vs Renault Clio – Which is better?
Price-wise, the current Hyundai i20 isn’t one of the cheapest hatchbacks in this segment which comes as a surprise to many, but it actually is worth it. For starters, the i20 gets two engine choices, a smaller 1.0L 3-cylinder engine with 100hp or a 1.2L 4-cylinder engine with 87hp. FWD is the only option for the i20, a manual is the standard gearbox while an automatic is available as an option.
If you really like the i20, but you aren’t too sure about the performance, you should focus on the i20 N. The i20 N costs a lot more money, but it gets a really powerful 1.6L 4-cylinder with 204hp and with a 0-60mph time of 6.7 seconds. Even though normal i20 models are nothing all that special to drive, the i20 N sure is.
The exterior design is much improved over the previous model, but the i20 isn’t going to wow anybody. The interior is modern-looking and really logically laid out which makes it easy to understand and use while driving. Reliability is excellent as Hyundai almost always manages to deliver on that front these days.
Practicality is okay, nothing special for the class which means that you can pack an adult in the back, but it’s not something you ought to do often. Visibility is good, trunk space is fairly large, and the overall equipment list is adequate.
The Renault Clio costs a few thousand dollars/euros less when compared to the i20 which does not come as a surprise. However, the Renault Clio offers a much broader engine palette starting with the 1.0L inline 3-cylinder engine with either 91hp or 100hp or the more capable 130hp 1.4L 4-cylinder engine. The Clio also comes in diesel form thanks to a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine with 85hp.
The latest Clio is also available as a hybrid which means that you can get it with a 1.6L 4-cylinder gasoline engine in addition to an electric motor for a combined output of 144hp. At the top, sits the Clio RS/Trophy, a 200hp/220hp 1.6L 4-cylinder hot hatchback that can do 0-60mph in 6.9/6.6 seconds which is almost identical to the i20 N.
Design-wise, the Renault Clio looks really good these days, both inside and out which is a huge improvement over older models which often seemed a bit undecided. The driving experience is fairly normal, except for the Clio RS which does feel like a blast to drive.
Reliability is okay, but there is much room for improvement here. Practicality is really good for its class because the Clio offers a large second row of seats and a decently sized trunk.
Verdict – The Renault Clio is better
Even though the Hyundai i20 is a really good car overall, the Clio takes it because it offers both a hybrid and a diesel engine while the i20 does not. Secondly, the Clio offers more space in both the trunk and rear seats which means that it is the better family car overall. Design-wise, the Clio also takes it both inside and out, but the i20 also looks good, especially on the inside.
Reliability is where the tides seem to turn as the i20 is a noticeably more reliable car. If you like a more dynamic experience, I’d say that the i20 is better at that while the Clio is more comfortable. All in all, both of these hatchbacks are good, but the Clio simply has more things going for it.
Is the Hyundai i20 more efficient than the Renault Clio?
When it comes to efficiency, these two are almost identical as you can expect to get around 48MPG with comparable gasoline-powered models. However, where the Clio does take the edge because it is available with a diesel engine that can return up to 65MPG which is much better than anything you can get with the i20.
Also, we can’t forget that the Clio is also available as a hybrid which can return up to 65MPG combined as well.
Is the Hyundai i20 safer than the Renault Clio?
The Renault Clio also seems to be a safer car because it was rewarded with a Euro NCAP 5-star rating while the i20 got 4 out of 5 stars. The reason why the i20 never reached its full potential is that it does not deliver enough in the safety assistance category where it only scores 67% while the Clio scores 75%.
Also, the Clio is better with both adult and child occupant safety while the i20 is slightly better when it comes to pedestrians.
Is the Hyundai i20 N better than the Renault Clio RS?
Both the Renault Clio RS and the Hyundai i20 N are great cars which means that choosing the winner is fairly difficult. I’d say that the regular i20 N is better than the Clio RS, but if you upgrade to the Clio RS Trophy model, you are going to realize that these two can trade punches for days.
The i20 has a quicker 0-60mph time, is lighter, has more torque, and tends to have quicker lap times. On the other hand, the Trophy RS has a higher top speed, it seems to have better brakes and a bit more power at 220hp.