Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 1.6L I4
Power:
200 HP / 177 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed DSG
0-60 Time:
6.7 Seconds (0-62)
Top Speed:
143 MPH
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,648 LBS
Seating:
5
Cargo:
40.5 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
34.9 City / 55.4 HWY (Euro)
Base Price:
19,995 GBP
America may be better known for its muscle cars than its hot hatches, but those who prefer their power sent to the front wheels with a liftgate at the back aren't exactly hurting for choices these days. Americans can stop by their local dealership and put in an order for a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST, Fiat 500 Abarth, Mini Cooper S or Volkswagen GTI or Golf R – excellent choices all, but that's still only a fraction of what our European compatriots have at their disposal. Automakers like Seat, Opel and Citroën (to name just a few) all offer hot hatches American buyers can only admire from afar. Few of them, however, can hold a candle to Renault.

With its Renaultsport line, Nissan's European ally has been at the forefront of the hot hatch game for decades, producing successive performance versions of the Mégane, Clio and even the Twingo. But this latest Clio RS 200 marks a change of direction for the French performance studio. Instead of a naturally aspirated engine, the new Clio RS is turbocharged. Instead of a manual transmission, it has a dual-clutch gearbox. And instead of three doors, it has five. In other words, it's nothing like the Renaultsport Clios that came before – or for that matter, anything Renault has made until now. But does that mean the French have lost their edge? We headed to England's Millbrook Proving Ground to find out.

Driving Notes
  • Breaking with a tradition set down by the first-gen Clio 16V and Clio Williams, the second-gen Clio RS 172 and 182 (not to mention the bonkers mid-engined Clio V6), and the third-gen Clio RS 197 and 200, the new Clio RS 200 Turbo is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four that's smaller than its predecessors' naturally aspirated engines, yet it's more potent.
  • Driving 200 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque to front wheels through a six-speed DCT (another first in Renaultsport territory), this car takes 6.7 seconds to reach 62 miles per hour and tops out at 143 mph. While purists may balk at the death of their favorite hot hatch's linearity, it's hard to argue with the results, because with the best power-to-weight ratio yet, the latest Clio RS is both the quickest and fastest one to date.
  • Numbers aside, the turbo Clio feels like a proper hot hatch, its engine pulling with tenacity even from low revs. The dual-clutch gearbox may not be the quickest unit out there, but it still swaps cogs more urgently than anyone could with a manual.
  • The exhaust note may be muffled by the escargot attached to the engine, Renault has done little (if anything) to mask its turbo whine. In fact, it even piped the sound acoustically into the cabin. Those embracing the digitality of the new Clio RS, however, can select a pre-programmed, simulated exhaust note from a series of more bellowing engines – from a classic Alpine A110 to a modern Nissan GT-R – on the infotainment touchscreen to be played through the speakers (inside, not out).
  • We were a little surprised to look down the spec sheet and find that our tester was fitted with the optional Cup chassis traditionally favored by enthusiasts. Not that it couldn't handle everything Millbrook had to throw at it – and believe us when we say that's a whole lot – or rode too harshly. In fact, this is the setup we would probably choose for ourselves. We just couldn't help but feel that this should be the standard suspension on a hot hatch like this, and that the Cup setup should be even more focused. Here's hoping a more hardcore Trophy suspension is in the works.
  • The 12.6-inch front and 10.2-inch rear brake discs do an excellent job of keeping everything in check. In concert with the Clio's other dynamic elements, it's clear how steeped Renaultsport is in the world of circuit racing.
  • Looking at a stock Clio hatchback on the street on our way back to London, one area where we're sorry to say Renault seems to have dropped the ball is in the styling department. The Clio RS looks fine – solid, if a little bulbous for our tastes – but despite the meatier 17-inch wheels, larger front air dam and extended rear spoiler, the Renaultsport version just doesn't look different enough from the standard econo-hatch on which it's based.
  • Inside is a different story, with well-bolstered seats, a beefy steering wheel rim, aluminum pedals, oversized shift paddles and red stitching and trim to top it all off. Those who like flying under the radar in a sleeper, first of all, maybe shouldn't order it in yellow. But in a subtler color, it's not likely to grab much attention, for better or worse. Those who miss the more overt go-fast bolt-ons from previous Renaultsport upgrades may be disappointed, though.
  • At the end of a regrettably short drive in Renaultsport's latest, we're left suitably impressed by this Clio. Push come to turbocharged shove, it delivers the goods – even if it does so in a decidedly different way than its predecessors and stablemates. Renaultsport has clearly gone for a broader appeal with this latest Clio, but after driving "warm" hatches like the Volkswagen Golf GT TDI and Kia Cee'd GT, we're left in no doubt that the Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo is still stronger than the gruyère on top of a bowl of onion soup – and just as hot... even if its predecessors somehow seemed hotter.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Mark
      • 4 Months Ago

      America has launched a latest car Renault Clio which has many advanced features. It gives a high speed with high performance. Now many users prefer this model for better style. The above article is based on the specification & performance of this model. The body & engine is well developed in such a way that it can beat car market. The car requires regular maintenance.

      Used Mercedes For Sale Sherborn, MA
      ferps
      • 5 Months Ago
      Hatchbacks are for poors and every American is a temporarily embarrassed millionaire.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 5 Months Ago
      Way too expensive. The price is $35k in dollars, which is Evo/STi territory. Hell, I'd take a V8 muscle car ove r this, and I don't like muscle cars.
        Georg
        • 5 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        Clio RS turbo starts at 19K GBP in th UK Subaru WRX STI starts at 29K GBP Subaru BRZ starts at24K GBP the only Mitsubishi Evo X currently sold in the UK the Evo X FQ440 MR starts at 50K GBP ... is ther one day US boys realize that u cant compare foreign car prices with ur US home market... compare them in the market the price u wanna compare comes from...
        AntBee
        • 5 Months Ago
        @FuelToTheFire
        You really can't do a dollars to donuts comparison, when it comes to exchange rates on currency in regards to cars.
          Superstevie
          • 5 Months Ago
          @AntBee
          Bear in mind that the £19 it costs, includes 20% VAT, which makes it £15833, which brings it down to $27000. But if you want to talk about how crazy our prices are here, just look at a Golf GTi. It starts at $25000 in the states, but here in the UK it costs £26330, or £21916 without VAT, which is $37445. Cars are definitely a lot cheaper in the states
      AntBee
      • 5 Months Ago
      Nissan, please bring this over to North America, as a Nissan, of course. Pretty please? With sugar on top.
        futurecars
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AntBee
        why would they do that? nissan have their own version it is called the pulsar, the engine in the clio is the same as the pulsar and juke 1.6 turbo. http://www.nissan.co.uk/GB/en/vehicle/city-cars/pulsar.html
      Zoom
      • 5 Months Ago
      Why, oh why, can't this be the Versa?
        carguy1701
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Zoom
        Because the Versa is a piece of **** built to a price, not a standard.
        churchmotor
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Zoom
        Because Versas are for Rental agencies. I doubt they want to spend the extra $$ on this.
          futurecars
          • 5 Months Ago
          @churchmotor
          nissan have their own version it is called the PULSAR availabe in china, australia and europe, the versa/almera are entry level cars.
          futurecars
          • 5 Months Ago
          @churchmotor
          @ravenosa, versa cost $23K? no way dude, you got rip off, but apart from the mazda 3, ford does not come close to versa 40 MPG real world driving
          futurecars
          • 5 Months Ago
          @churchmotor
          @ravenosa, you know what I look at the usa and the canada website, versa does not cost that much so either you are your friend is not tell the truth.
        Cruising
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Zoom
        Because Juke NISMO.
      superlightv12
      • 5 Months Ago
      This car would look great if they changed out the trendy worn out look of the black rims.
      bK
      • 5 Months Ago
      Looks like a Koala, a close relative of the google autonomous car
      Bret Frohwein
      • 5 Months Ago
      Now that's a hot hatch.. why didn't VW move more towards something like that than the horribly pedestrian looking Golf MKVIII (I'm going to catch Hell for this..)
        juststudent
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Bret Frohwein
        I rather call it mature looking.
          ravenosa
          • 5 Months Ago
          @juststudent
          If by "mature" you mean "dated and generic", I agree. I just don't find myself seeing old Kia hatchbacks on the road and thinking "wow, that's a mature vehicle."
      Scott Satellite
      • 5 Months Ago
      Looks-wise I think this car would have a lot of appeal for younger buyers if they could get ahold if one here, from the factory it looks like its already had custom wheels and aerodynamics added. The only nit to pick, and its not just Renault, but enough already with the emblems large enough to see from space.
      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago
      Cute hot hatch.
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