Spoiled for (model) choice: Renault Clio petrol, hybrid and Zoé in comparison

In the transformation from a combustion engine to an electric drive, there is the hybrid intermediate stage.

Spoiled for (model) choice: Renault Clio petrol, hybrid and Zoé in comparison

In the transformation from a combustion engine to an electric drive, there is the hybrid intermediate stage. For buyers, there is a tension between emotions, costs and practicality - also with the Renault small cars Clio and Zoé. While the Zoé always drives purely electrically, the Clio is available with a pure combustion engine and hybrid.

Before we get down to business with the comparison of petrol, electric drive and hybrid in the Renault Clio and Zoé, let me make a small comment, which is actually a sensation: the current Renault Clio is even with a diesel engine in the price list for July 2022 That's almost crazy because the diesel is not only on the decline in general, but is almost non-existent in the small car segment in particular.

The costs on the development side make it expensive due to the complex exhaust gas cleaning process. And a small car is not usually used on long-haul routes, so the compression-ignition engine makes little to no sense here. In the end, it only paid for itself with high mileage. Reason enough for ntv.de to compare the small car concept with a petrol engine, an electric variant (here the Zoé) and the petrol hybrid.

And anyone who now picks up the price list will of course start pondering. There are already striking differences in the basic prices: the Clio TCe90 with 91 hp is available from 19,000 euros, while the 143 hp E-Tech Hybrid costs at least 23,950 euros. The petrol engine is also available with an automatic – then the cheaper 21,850 euros will still be due, making a difference of around 2000 euros. Sure, the hybrid is more powerful, but that doesn't always play a role in the price-sensitive area - especially not if the user is more likely to be driving in city traffic anyway. But more on that later.

Renault has a consumption advantage of 1.3 liters per 100 kilometers for the Clio with hybrid drive compared to the petrol engine. At the current fuel price and an annual mileage of 15,000 kilometers, this would mean annual savings of around 350 euros. Anyone who is interested can calculate for themselves how long they have to drive before the hybrid pays off. Anyone who is flirting with the offers should perhaps define a short test route and take a test drive to determine the real fuel consumption on their "own" route, which can ultimately deviate.

The Zoé E-Tech is a completely different house number - its basic price is at least 36,840 euros without funding. If you subtract the current state subsidy, i.e. the one that is still valid until the end of 2022, an effective base price of 27,840 euros remains. Still steep compared to all Clio variants. However, many customers are not cash buyers - so please make sure to have a leasing offer made! Here the picture can look completely different.

However, you don't have to kid yourself - the Zoé is the most expensive candidate in the trio. The better equipment (including alloy wheels, navigation, parking beeper and keyless locking system) and the fact that electric car customers pocket around 300 to 400 euros in GHG quotas do not change that. The only thing left to do is look at the energy consumption. Renault promises just over 17 kWh per 100 kilometers, so you have a guideline.

However, the price structure here is not as easy to identify as with petrol, where a look at the price table at the gas station is enough. Because electricity prices vary greatly depending on the type of charging. Household electricity currently costs around 30 cents per kWh - but it is on the rise. Electricity in the public charging network can cost between 39 cents (at relatively slow AC charging stations) and 79 cents at so-called hyperchargers. Anyone who can charge at home is already in the running for around five euros per 100 kilometers and is therefore cheaper than those who are dependent on public charging infrastructure.

With the combustion engine it is more like nine euros. The energy cost part with the example mileage of 15,000 kilometers can already save 600 euros compared to the pure combustion engine. If you compare hybrids with BEVs (battery-electric vehicles), the cost savings in the area of ​​energy at 15,000 kilometers a year are still around 200 euros. And that's not all, because the inspection costs are also significantly lower for BEVs than for combustion engines. Of course, things like changing the oil or spark plugs are simply no longer necessary.

The elimination of the conventional motor vehicle tax is a rather negligible item. When using the BEV as a company car, however, the tax issue becomes relevant again. Because the flat-rate taxation of private trips is not based on 1 percent of the gross list price, but only 0.25. You could now say that there is also a more powerful petrol engine (140 hp, from 23,200 euros) - but the prospect of a cheap entry-level model must also be taken into account. After all, with the hybrid there is only one power level. And the maintenance of the more powerful petrol engine is of course not cheaper either, so the petrol variant would come under more pressure here.

The experienced interested party also knows that the different drives have different strengths. Electric vehicles run particularly efficiently in urban areas, and it is here of all places that the petrol engine becomes a swallowing woodpecker. The petrol engine, on the other hand, appreciates steady driving up to 90 to 120 km/h with restrained drinking habits, while the electric vehicle sucks hungrily from the battery.

So much for the cost issue. But what are the reasons for combustion engines and which for electric cars? "Range anxiety" is still a big issue and it's not unjustified. Although it has to be said that the Renault Zoé is not stranded anywhere within Germany or beyond the borders. The French install a 52 kWh battery as standard, which promises a range of at least 240 kilometers in mixed operation even at low temperatures, and almost 400 kilometers in mild temperatures.

It should also not be forgotten that Germany is well positioned with its fast charging infrastructure, which now really has charging points with at least 50 kW charging capacity every 40 to 70 kilometers, even in rural areas. However, it is also true that the Zoé is not a "charger performer" - its battery cannot be charged as quickly as it would be possible today with the most expensive charging technology. He doesn't break a point out of his crown - after all, he is a small car and ranks with these values ​​at the top of his segment.

So, butter by the fish: In the worst case, you have to spend an hour at the DC charging station to bring the battery from 10 to 80 percent charge. With the forced break of this magnitude, however, you have already got from Cologne to Berlin, that's okay.

And as much as combustion engines are able to win the hearts of car fans - this discipline is really not that strong with the Clio TCe90. Of course, the little bread and butter engine does its job dutifully, pulling the 1.2 ton truck with sufficient force. It's always enough for the city and even overtaking a truck on the mountain works quite well. If you downshift hastily (yes, you have to be here sometimes), you will experience a smooth-running, but not particularly precisely locking six-speed gearbox. And it's no wonder that the one-point zero with three cylinders sometimes gets grumpy when it's fully revved up.

The hybrid seems very interesting, which by the way does not offer any external charging option - it is therefore a full hybrid. Under the sheet metal of the Renault Clio E-Tech is a 1.6 liter, 94 hp four-cylinder petrol engine, which mischievously combines with a 49 hp electric motor (traction motor) and a starter generator with an output of 20 hp to form a unit with a total of 143 hp . The goal is to use a complex transmission to keep the petrol engine in an efficient operating state for as long as possible. Two gears for the electric unit and four gears for the petrol engine vouch for this undertaking. The starter generator has the task of synchronizing the gears of the transmission.

The driver can read on the display which motor is driving with which proportion in practice, but he doesn't really get much of it. However, attentive people will notice that the vehicles are always driven off electrically.

With a standard sprint of 9.3 seconds, the hybrid Clio is nominally the fastest in the trio (Zoé 9.5 and Clio TCe90 even 12.2 seconds), and in fact it also seems strong subjectively. Since there are no interruptions in traction, the impression is reinforced. In fact, the paper values ​​are not always decisive - the quiet Zoé feels livelier in real driving because more torque is simply spontaneously available. However, at this point the prejudice can be dispelled that an e-machine already provides the full traction from the first revolution. Not true, because the 245 Newton meters of the Zoé test car used here in the 135 hp version are between 1500 and 3600 tours. However, the maximum speed of the electric motor is over 11,000 rpm.

What else can small cars do? In any case, no longer be really small in view of their external dimensions. With a length of 4.05 and 4.09 meters respectively, the Clio and Zoé are seasoned all-rounders, which are also so airy on the inside that you can go on holiday with them without having to experience cramped space. Incidentally, the Stromer lacks a BEV-typical discipline: With a wheelbase of 2.58 meters, it ranks almost to the millimeter at Clio level. So the backbenchers can't really sort their knees better in the Zoé, but what's on offer is okay in this segment anyway.

It is also impressive that Renault is thinking of the infotainment generation with all its offers. If you don't insist on a head-up display right now, you'll be quite happy with the electronic equipment. Smartphone integration is standard throughout. Accordingly, the user can reflect the surface of his mobile phone on the seven-inch display in the center console. The Zoé offers even more TFT surface free house - namely the instrument cluster with ten inches. This is also available with the Clio, but only from the "Techno" equipment line and then for an additional charge of 650 euros. All Clio and Zoé versions have autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian detection, LED headlights, cruise control and traffic sign recognition at no additional cost.

Conclusion: Renault Clio as a petrol or hybrid? Or even the all-electric Zoé? Interested parties should take a close look at their needs and the costs involved. In the infotainment and comfort section, small cars do quite well these days. Both the Clio and the Zoé are solid all-rounders. People don't necessarily need more cars.

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