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Car reviews - Renault - Clio - RS 200 Cup Phase II

Overview

Latest Renault Clio hot hatch is the best – bar none

Renault logo10 Jun 2010

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

LADIES, gentlemen and kids of all ages who dream about soul-stirring cars, welcome the RS 200 Cup – a highlight of 2010. After the mildly disappointing but still desirable 197, we were expecting only minor progress with its successor, but Renault has released a rampaging runabout of exceptional talent. The similarly priced VW Golf GTI may be the better all-round grand tourer, but nothing will put a spring into your step more emphatically than the disarmingly charming and toweringly capable firecracker from France. Renaultsport’s engineers have righted every important wrong of the old car to create something quite special. To choose any other hot hatch without checking out the RS 200 first means you really cannot be serious about driving the best there is. Period.
Model release date: 1 March 2010 to 1 August 2013

Previous model

Clio Renault Sport 197

Released: August 2008
Ended: February 2010
Family Tree: Clio

IN almost every way the third-generation, five-star safety rated, roomier and much more refined Clio RS 197 was a huge advance over the frisky but flimsy-feeling X65-series Phase II RS 182 it replaced – except in two that mattered most: steering speed and step-off acceleration. Compared with the old car, the RS 197 felt lethargic and a little blunted. But that was just a rouse, because in reality – and with a bit of engine speed – the fastest Clio dusted off the cobwebs to become one of our favourite hot hatches. Under the snub bonnet beat a 145kW/215Nm 2.0-litre twin-cam variable valve four-cylinder petrol engine paired to a quick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. Matters improved a little with the firmer Cup suspension set-up introduced during 2009, but the current Clio series’ real greatness was not realised until the Phase II facelift was arrived in March 2010. Long live the RS 200 Cup!

Get the full story: Renault Australia finally launches its piping-hot MkIII Clio 197 hot-hatch

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