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Renault Australia finally launches its piping-hot MkIII Clio 197 hot-hatch

3 Apr 2009

AUSTRALIANS are spoiled for choice in ‘C’ segment small-car hot hatches, so where are all the iconic babies such as Peugeot’s seminal 205 GTi? Back in the 1980s and early 1990s – that’s where, before safety legislation and the weight of consumer expectations for gadgets and refinement forced car-makers to build ever-larger and heavier successors. And, really, the latest Renault Clio Renaultsport is no different. Or, at least, that’s what it might seem like on paper or after a brief drive. Live with RS 197 for a while, though, and you will see that this model has lost virtually none of its predecessor’s joie de vivre...
Model release date: 1 August 2008 to 1 March 2010

Previous model

Renault X65 Clio II Phase II Renaultsport 182

Released: Sep 2004
Ended: Oct 2006
Family Tree: Clio

MUCH loved for its mighty-mouse performance and super-eager handling, this mouthful-of-a-hot-hatch is already a collector’s item, thanks in part to a superb power-to-weight ratio of 127kW/tonne, mated to a 1035kg lightweight body that oozed flair and practicality. Mated to a five-speed manual, the 131kW/200Nm 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol unit provides hours of gokart-like fun, and great economy to boot. High equipment and safety levels and a sizeable interior top off one of the 21st Century’s early greats.

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