The facelifted Renault Clio RS has been revealed. It will go on sale in the UK this October with prices expected to start from around £19,500.
The Clio RS is Renault's entry into the hot hatchback market - a market that has been dominated in recent years by the stunnning Ford Fiesta ST, but which also includes rivals like the Suzuki Swift Sport, Peugeot 208 GTi and Vauxhall Corsa VXR. There's also a more powerful hot Fiesta, the Ford Fiesta ST200, which we drove recently.
What is it?
The Clio RS has been facelifted to keep it in line with the rest of the Clio range, with a tweaked grille, rear bumper and headlights, as well as exclusive front fog lights that form a checkered pattern in the front bumper.
Being the Clio’s motorsport variant, the facelifted Clio RS also has a raft of mechanical upgrades. There’s a choice of three chassis options: Sport, Cup and Trophy, which reflect increasing levels of track-oriented focus, with Sport being the most road-friendly. The Trophy model is the most hardcore of the three, so will be the least comfortable and more suited to track driving than Britain’s bumpy public roads.
What engines can I choose from?
The 1.6-litre petrol engine under the bonnet is available in two power outputs: 197bhp for the Clio RS 200 EDC, and 217bhp for the Clio RS 220 Trophy. Both of these are mated to an automatic gearbox, with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. The higher-powered engine is only available with the Trophy chassis, which lowers the front of the car by 20mm and the rear by 10mm, and comes with 18in alloy wheels. A more advanced exhaust system is also available on the Trophy model as an optional extra.
In Trophy guise, the Clio sprints from 0-62mph in 6.6sec, topping out at a top speed of 146mph. In comparison, the new Ford Fiesta ST200 manages the same feat in 6.7sec and has a top speed of 143mph.
What equipment does it come with?
As with the standard Clio, there's 300 litres of boot space and five seats on offer – although you’ll only realistically get two adults in the back. There's also a central infotainment screen, which features bespoke graphics for the RS, including screens to monitor things like oil temperature and power output.
How much does it cost?
Along with the rest of the Clio range, prices are likely to take a small step up from today's car. The current Clio RS starts at £19,130 and rises to £21,780 for the 220 Trophy, so expect prices of the facelifted car to start around £19,500 and £22,000 respectively. The Fiesta ST range starts from £17,745, so the Clio RS will be the more expensive option in this market.
How good are its rivals?
The Ford Fiesta ST was crowned as our favourite hot hatchback of 2016 at the most recent What Car? Awards, so it's the benchmark car in this class. The Clio RS is fairly well regarded by our sister magazine Autocar, but it felt let down by its automatic gearbox and fairly ordinary interior.
Watch our video review of the Ford Fiesta ST below:
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