freedom from having to pay for an annual road tax
High fuel prices at the pumps have pushed economy to the top of the agenda for many motorists. When you practically need a mortgage to afford a fill-up for your fuel tank, it is hardly surprising that a car’s mpg has been put under such a fierce spotlight. So we have seen a big increase in the numbers of eco models, cars with their engines tweaked to eek out a minimal thirst for that ‘liquid gold’ they drink.
Here is a car that boasts a high mpg, low CO2 and freedom from having to pay for an annual road tax disc. You still need one if you choose to drive a Renault Clio Expression Eco, but it’s free. The car’s green credentials exempt it from the yearly bill that most motorists have to pay. Driving this car also means freedom from having to pay the congestion charge if you venture into the central London congestion zone.
The car is based on the Renault Clio Expression 1.5 litre dCi diesel, with an 88 bhp power output. Eco measures added to the standard car include taller gears for the five-speed manual gearbox, smooth-airflow wheel trims on the 15-inch wheels, low-rolling-resistance tyres, a roof spoiler and a front under-bumper splitter panel.
Compared with other car maker’s green monikers, Renault’s ‘Eco’ badging is very modest and straightforward. This car is up against others that wear labels such as ECOnetic (Ford), EcoFLEX (Vauxhall), EcoDynamics (Kia) and Oxygo (Peugeot). Some eco branding is even more long-winded: EfficientDynamics (BMW), BlueMotion (Volkswagen), GreenLine (Skoda), Ecomotive (Seat) and BlueEFFICIENCY (Mercedes). Renault has opted for the simple and unpretentious with Eco.
The Clio Eco’s engine is a 1,461 cc, four-cylinder, eight-valve diesel with a common rail injection system. Its power output is 88bhp peaking at 3,750rpm, and torque delivery reaches 148 lb ft at 1,900rpm. The 0-62 acceleration time is a relatively modest though respectable 11 seconds, and the quoted top speed is 113 mph. So although the car is not a particularly lively performer, it is no sluggard either.
Its CO2 emissions figure is 94 g/km (down from 106 g/km in the equivalent non-Eco Clio) , so as a sub-100 g/km car it benefits from no-cost VED, meaning a free annual tax disc. It can also be registered for congestion charge exemption. As a company car, it qualifies for the lowest level of taxation at 13 per cent on the benefit-in-kind chart. Fuel economy is up there with some of the most frugal cars available. With its quoted figure of 78.4 mpg (compared with 70.6 on the same engine, non-Eco Clio) on the EU combined cycle, and a 55-litre fuel capacity, the car has a theoretical range of around 950 miles on a full tank of diesel, and potentially over 1,000 miles driven with fuel economy contest feather-footing care.