Monday, July 4, 2011

Renault Sport Clio

    Renault Sport Clio 200

    £15,750 Driven
    Rated 15 out of 20

    Additional Info

    • Click here to find out more!
    When you're starting with something as fantastic as a RenaultSport Clio 197, it's a painstaking job to make sure you improve the next model enough to make it appealing to owners of the current car, without losing a shred of its brilliance. Renault seems to have succeeded with this new RS Clio 200. We're breathing a collective sigh of relief around the office - this little Clio is one of our very favourite cars.
    There are quite a few changes, and the most obvious ones are cosmetic. The revised front end has a more aggressive-looking bumper with an F1-inspired front wing and different lights. There are new wheels too, and they look good.
    The engine is largely unaltered, but the tweaks make sense - peak torque now comes in at 5,400rpm, 100rpm sooner than before, and there's more grunt all the way up the rev range to that peak. That's good news, as are the lower ratios of the first three gears, to make better use of the engine remap. Top gear is unchanged from the revised taller ratio of the last model, which helps with motorway cruising. If you have the original 197, that's a good enough reason to upgrade.
    Other small tweaks are useful if not earth-shattering: slightly better fuel economy, emissions down to 195g/km from 209, and there's a Carminat TomTom nav system inside which Renault is particularly proud of. Can't see why: at £450 you get no real advantage over a regular TomTom, especially as it sits beneath an ugly grey shroud.
    Three versions are available - a stripped-out RS 200 Cup, a more civilised RS 200 with stereo and satnav, and a civilised RS 200 on the Cup's chassis (for an extra £400). The Cup is stiffer than the old Cup car, the standard car softer than its predecessor.
    It all means that for owners who want to take their Cup onto the track, they'll get an even more wired and high-intensity experience, and owners of the non-Cup get a more comfortable everyday car. We drove the cars on the track only, so it was difficult to judge ride quality, but the chassis feels absolutely excellent in both versions. Cup buyers won't give a fig about ride quality anyway.
    Overall, an excellent upgrade of an already-brilliant car. Can't wait to thrash one down a proper British B-road.

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Renault Sport Clio

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