Sunday, 19 January 2014

SMMT Test Day 2013 - Renault Clio RS200

This is the Renault Clio RS200. The RS stands for RenaultSport, and that makes this a hot hatch. That means it must be fun, fast, and not cost the earth to run. The Clio is one of the only offerings with five doors, to add practicality in to the mix as well. So we couldn't wait to hit the road and see what the little Clio could do...

The Clio RS200 is actually a rather smart looking car. The best angle is from the back, where the twin tail pipes and diffuser really hint at the performance on offer. The black wheels look great contrasted against the Liquid Yellow paint (which is surely the colour to go for on the Clio RS) and there's also some piano black on the front grille and rear bumper which is a nice effect.

The interior is very sporty too, with black and red detailing. The seats are body-hugging- if a bit plain to look at- and the steering wheel is chunky and features red stitching. This aside the interior is rather minimalist in terms of controls, which does make it feel a bit basic. The materials are nice though, so no issues there.

The engine in the Clio is the same idea as the majority of hot hatches available at the moment; a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol. In the RS200 you get 200PS and 240Nm of torque. This goes to the front wheels via a 6-speed, double clutch gearbox. This can be in full auto mode, or operated by paddles behind the steering wheel. Because of the instant changes, 0-62mph is dealt with in 6.7 seconds and the top speed is 143mph. That certainly sounds like a hot hatch.

Unfortunately we drove the Clio after we'd been out in the Fiesta ST, and it just didn't have the same impact. I have no doubt if we'd have got in the Clio first it would have impressed us, because technically it is superb. However when it comes to being a hot hatch, I think part of the problem lies with the paddle-box, as this doesn't seem right in a hot hatch. But I think the biggest downfall of the Clio RS200 is the Fiesta ST. It's just too good.

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