Menu

Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Renault Clio vs Suzuki Swift


France takes on Japan in this battle of the city runabouts. Craig Duff referees.

value

Renault Clio Expression

$18,290

The stand-alone price is solid but the Clio can’t compete with the Swift’s drive-away deal right now. Putting the Renault on the road will cost about $21,600. Servicing costs are $299 every 12 months/15,000km for the first three years and the Clio has a five-year warranty.

Suzuki Swift GL Navigator

$17,490

The list price of $17,490 has been sweetened until the end of July with a $16,990 driveaway deal (excluding northern NSW and Qld where there’s a different importer). That’s hard to counter and gives the Suzuki a temporary edge over the newer Clio. Servicing is every six months/10,000km at $199 a visit for the first five years.

design

Renault Clio Expression

Vivid colours, a minimalist interior and a funky outside look give a good indication the Clio is aimed at younger buyers. The feeling is light and bright and the 300-litre boot is well-up on the Swift’s 210L capacity. Satellite navigation is displayed on a crisp seven-inch screen and the Bluetooth includes audio streaming. There isn’t a huge amount of legroom down the back but all seats are reasonably supportive.

Suzuki Swift GL Navigator

Boot space and rear legroom is a limited by the short size of the Swift. Offsetting the lack of space is the ease of parking — a 9.4m turning circle makes this the choice for tight inner-city streets. The Bluetooth connectivity is clunky and the overall impression of the interior is it’s a generation behind the leaders. Despite the basic plastics the build quality looks and feels good. Satnav is standard but, much like the Clio, there’s no reversing camera or parking sensors.

technology

Renault Clio Expression

Engine

Maintaining momentum is the best way to progress with the 900cc three-cylinder engine. Takeoffs aren’t its forte but once underway the 66kW/135Nm mill gets the job done, if not at serious speed.

Suzuki Swift GL Navigator

Engine

The Swift’s 70kW/130Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine is a willing performer that needs to be worked. Good thing, then, that the five-speed manual is a sweet-shifting unit. The low-down response is mildly asthmatic, exaggerated as the number of occupants rises. Official fuel use is a claimed 5.5L/100km.

safety

Renault Clio Expression

The Clio is rated as a five-star car by ANCAP but does without curtain airbags for the back seat passengers. Some won’t care; for others it will be a deal-breaker. Seat belt reminders are fitted to all seats.

Suzuki Swift GL Navigator

Seven airbags are standard on the Swift backed by a solid chassis to help the little hatch earn a five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2011. The rear brakes are drums rather than discs but the same applies to the Clio.

driving

Renault Clio Expression

Get it off the line and the Clio makes decent progress. Hills don’t help its performance but as an urban commuter it gets the job done without a lot of fuss and with a claimed fuel use of just 4.5L/100km. The softer ride helps over constant bumps but ultimately means the Clio isn’t as entertaining on the back roads.

Suzuki Swift GL Navigator

Direct steering, a nimble chassis and a rorty little engine makes the Swift a fun car to pilot. A firm-ish suspension tune adds to the entertainment but makes the Swift feel busy on rippled roads.

Verdict

Renault Clio Expression

Suzuki Swift GL Navigator

In the price-sensitive light-car class the Swift’s $4000 edge can’t be run down. It lacks the Clio’s verve but has the value equation stitched up.