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Renault Clio 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
9
Renault’s Clio is a heavy-hitter in the light hot-hatch stakes. The junior hot hatch market is fertile ground for enthusiastic drivers on a budget.

Renault’s Clio is a heavy-hitter in the light hot-hatch stakes.  The junior hot hatch market is fertile ground for enthusiastic drivers on a budget. The Renault Clio RS adds practicality, prowess and performance with the style-driven interior and features expected in a European vehicle.

VALUE

It isn’t cheap in relative terms but the extra coin buys comforts and an upmarket workplace its rivals can’t match.

A starting price of $28,790 buys a Clio RS with the standard Sport specification. The same car with the tighter Cup chassis — identified by the red brake calipers and upgraded 18-inch wheels — costs $31,290. Go for the higher-spec Trophy version and it is $34,290 with the Sport chassis or $36,790 with Cup underpinnings.

Auto headlamps and wipers, seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, launch control and Bluetooth with audio streaming are standard across the range. Trophy cars add a rear-view camera, beefier Arkamys sound system, updated R-Link infotainment system, climate-control aircon, heated front seats and leather upholstery.

TECHNOLOGY

Normal, Sports and Race drive mode settings progressively bolster steering, throttle and transmission shift points and dial down the stability control to a point where it is off in Race mode. An electronic diff governs torque split between the front wheels under acceleration and through tight turns. The dual-clutch auto isn’t as sharp as the chassis but still tolerable.

DESIGN

The Clio RS looks — as it should at this price — classy inside and out. The inclusion of a second set of doors and standard automatic transmission won’t appease purists of the RS lineage but does make it a more versatile vehicle.

The orange-red highlight strip around the interior, along with the piano black dash finishes and rubberised plastics look and feel upmarket. The same can’t be said for the paddle-shifters. They’re fixed to the steering column rather than moving with the wheel and feel cheap to operate. Some of the switch placement is questionable, with the audio controls mounted behind the steering wheel and the cruise control switch on the centre console.

SAFETY

The upside is five stars and an ANCAP rating of 35.87/37. The downside is there are only four airbags and they’re devoted to the front occupants. ANCAP found leg and chest protection in the front seats is adequate; all other readings are good. Seat belt reminders are fitted to all pews.

DRIVING

The beauty of the RS is its ability to be all hatches to all owners. Lightweight and a potent turbocharged 1.6-litre engine are backed by Brembo brakes and a responsive chassis. Drive it docilely in Normal mode and it putters around metro areas without an urbane aplomb not normally associated with a “hot” model. Find a snaky stretch of road, select Sport, and it snarls and snorts its appreciation of every curve.

The tied-down chassis and trick suspension make it the ultimate all-rounder. It isn’t as fast and furious as a Fiesta ST but can match it with the Ford while still being a comfortable city car.

In the utility stakes, the Fiesta is a one-trick pony. In terms of comfort the Clio wins hands-down. An initially soft ride moves into firm spring and damper rates and brings into play one of the best chassis in the class.

Noise suppression is decent, if not class-leading, with a muted rush of air from the windscreen pillars and a more welcome turbo whoosh once the accelerator is applied.

VERDICT

Versatility puts the Clio narrowly ahead in the light hot-hatch market. It has a more generous ambit than the Fiesta and as such has a broader appeal. And popularity has always been the measure of success.

Renault Clio RS 200 Sport Trophy
Price: $34,290
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Resale: 52 per cent
Service intervals: 12 months/10,000km
Capped servicing: $299 a year for first 3 years
Safety: 5 stars
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo, 147kW/240Nm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch auto; FWD
Thirst: 6.3L/100km (95-98 RON), 144g/km CO2
Dimensions: 4.1m (L), 1.7m (W), 1.5m (H)
Weight: 1218kg
Spare: No; inflation kit

Pricing guides

$14,245
Based on 74 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$8,970
Highest Price
$21,995

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Authentique 0.9L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,200 – 8,030 2014 Renault Clio 2014 Authentique Pricing and Specs
Dynamique 1.2L, ULP, 6 SP AUTOMATED MAN $8,000 – 12,320 2014 Renault Clio 2014 Dynamique Pricing and Specs
Expression 1.2L, ULP, 6 SP AUTOMATED MAN $6,800 – 10,560 2014 Renault Clio 2014 Expression Pricing and Specs
GT 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP AUTOMATED MAN $8,400 – 12,980 2014 Renault Clio 2014 GT Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
9
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.