Expert Reviews

First drive: Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy

Thursday 10 November 2016

First drive: Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy

Renault’s popular Clio hatchback has recently been the subject of a very subtle refresh, receiving a handful of slight changes to its styling and trim. We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on one of the go-fast Renault Sport models.

Make no mistake, the regular Renault Clio Renault Sport is a quick car, and this Trophy model adds even more performance credentials into the mix, boasting a more track-focussed set-up.

The car has been lowered by 20mm at the front, while the back sits 10mm lower than before. The rear springs are stiffer, too, while the steering rack is now 10 per cent quicker. The engine has been lightly breathed on as well, gaining an additional 20bhp boost in the process. That said, though, the Trophy prides itself on its handling prowess, rather than its straight line speed.

Looks & Image

Thanks to an aggressive spoiler, rear diffuser and a twin-exit exhaust from Akrapovic, the Renault Sport Clio certainly looks like it means business. Abundant Trophy and Renault Sport logos further add to the car’s performance-orientated look.

Thanks to its Renault Sport badging, people know that this Clio is a serious contender in the hot-hatchback segment. You’ll need to brace yourself for a fair amount of attention from other road users, particularly hot-hatch owners who will jump on any opportunity to race the Clio.

Space & Practicality

While the Clio might be quick, at the end of the day hot-hatchbacks need to be practical as well. With five doors, a 300-litre boot and four properly useable seats, it certainly meets this criterion. While there is a rear middle seat for a fifth occupant, this will likely prove to be slightly uncomfortable on longer journeys.

When crash-tested by Euro NCAP, this generation of Clio achieved the full five-star rating. It also has keyless entry and start, as well as Renault’s RAID security system for added peace of mind. Adding to the Clio’s security features are anti-drill locks and fuel caps.

Behind the Wheel

Cars of this nature are defined by how well they drive, and fortunately it’s good news for the Renault Sport Clio. At city speeds the ride can be a bit bumpy, but this is more than made up for when you find a stretch of open road.

This is where the car really comes alive, and thanks to the Trophy’s fast steering and stiffer rear suspension it throws itself down the road with huge eagerness. In sportier driving modes, the Clio makes for a properly quick means of getting from A to B.

The only time it falters, however, is when you’re trying to perform low-speed maneuvers. It reaches full lock quickly and there isn’t much of it, meaning three-point turns can quickly become rather complex operations. Thanks to parking sensors and a reversing camera, positioning the car isn’t too tricky, though.

The Renault Sport Clio’s 1.6-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol produces a considerable 220bhp. The engine is paired with a six-speed EDC automatic gearbox, which sends power to the front wheels. It deals with the dash from 0-62mph in a mere 6.6 seconds and will hit a top speed of 146mph.

Value for Money

With prices starting at £22,425, the Trophy is something of a steal. You get plenty of toys, including the R-Link infotainment system that includes a rear parking camera, satellite navigation, DAB radio and a 3D sound Arkamys speaker system.

That said though, there are plenty of options you can throw at the Trophy. Our test car was fitted with heated seats – a £250 option – a £900 Akrapovic exhaust, Liquid Yellow paint costing £1,300 and the Renault Sport Montior that can be had for £295. You can also specify hands-free parking for £450, and passenger seat height adjustment for £100.

Who would buy one ?

Cars of this ilk usually appeal more to buyers of a younger disposition, or those with young families who might want a dash of practicality from a car they can still throw down a twisty B-road. That said, though, the Clio does come with a 28E insurance rating, which may price younger drivers out a bit.

The Renault Sport Clio 220 Trophy is a great little hot-hatchback. Sure, you might find maneuvering it into your drive a bit tricky on occasion, and the ride can be fairly unforgiving at times, but you’ll still jump at any chance to get behind the wheel.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Renault Sport 220 Trophy

Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol 4-cylinder producing 217bhp and 280Nm

Performance: 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds, 146mph top speed

Economy: 47.9mpg combined

Emissions: 135g/km

On the road price: £22,425

Expert Reviews

First drive: Audi SQ5

Wednesday 26 July 2017

First drive: Range Rover Velar

Monday 24 July 2017