Renault Clio v Ford Fiesta v Kia Rio v Volkswagen Polo

Light hatchbacks have never been this polished. The Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo, Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta all make a convincing case for spending $19,990-plus on a high-grade light hatch, rather than a base model larger hatch.

The catalyst for this comparison test is the re-introduction of the regular Renault Clio models, in new fourth-generation form. The $19,790 Expression tested here offers a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed dual-clutch automatic, exactly matching the configuration of the Volkswagen Polo in this test, although the $21,490 77TSI Comfortline scores an extra ratio for its dual-clutcher.

Although the Clio finally ends the VW Group’s monopoly on downsized, turbocharged engines in this class – as opposed to larger engines without a turbo that is the norm – the Ford Fiesta will soon, too.