Renault Sport Clio
Car details navigation
Renault Sport Clio overall verdict
Want to splash some cash on a Sport Clio? Find one for sale in your area on TopGear.com
The third generation Clio’s improvements in quality and refinement have taken the edge off the RenaultsportClio 197. It’s still a great car, better in many ways to be honest, but we miss that vitality that the old one had.
It feels like a far bigger and pricier car in here. The outgoing Clio was a flimsy, brittle affair, but the new boy is more ergonomic, refined and composed at high speed. A real shift in direction, and triumphantly executed.
The Clio 197 relies on high peak power to deliver the goods. It redlines at 7,250rpm, by which point it's sounding bloody marvellous. Hard work, by highly rewarding, and it's still able to pootle innocuously around town.
The 197 is quite understated in relation to many hot hatches past and present, unwilling as Renault is to undermine its more mature new Clio. Saying more by doing less is definitely cool.
Although once bitten, twice shy, the new Clio is reporting no problems and certainly seems to be of a far higher quality than the old car. As long as the bonnet can stay shut this time around, we can't see there being any serious hiccups.
The new Clio is vastly more mature experience, and this is reflected in the way it drives. Where the old car was a light and sprightly French hatch, the more Germanic solidity of this one has taken a little of that feel and agility away.
Redressing some of the basic packaging issues from the old car, Renault has ensured its far roomier in the new Clio. There's even enough space fro adults in the back, and they can clamber in there with comparative ease and grace even with only three doors.
Expect to shell out heftily to get it on the road and be prepared for some mighty fuel bills if you plan to drive it as Renault intended.
More Renault Sport Clio cars we've driven...
- Renault Sport Clio 200 Cup
- May 2010