"The Renaultsport Clio 200 has a very firm ride but buyers looking for driver thrills shouldn't be put-off"
The Renault Clio Renualtsport 200 is one of the finest handling front wheel drive cars money car buy and is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 200bhp. Other cars in this class include the Vauxhall Corsa VXR and MINI Cooper S. Fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox the Renaultsport Clio can go from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 141mph. Large alloy wheels and an aggressive bodykit make it instantly recognisable although the three-door hatchback body also offers a decent amount of practicality and a well designed cabin. Buyers opting for the cheaper Cup chassis get a more performance-biased spec, trading comfort for driver thrills but both models offer a very frim ride.
The front-wheel drive Renaultsport Clio 200 is absolutely great fun to drive offering lots of confidence-inspiring grip. Flattering drivers with it's precise handling and quick steering the Clio 200 excels in corners, but is not well-suited to longer journeys- especially the Cup chassis. The flexible 2.0-litre engine produces a healthy 200bhp resulting in a 0-60mph time of 6.9 seconds. The excellent Brembo brakes also do a great job.
Although offered in two guises, even the regular Clio 200 offers a firm ride. In performance-biased Cup chassis form, it is even less comfortable. Using harder springs and featuring a lower ride height the Clio 200 Cup is very harsh around town, struggling to cope with pot holes and deep drain covers. Once up to speed the ride improves slightly but it still fidgets on motorways. The optional Recaro seats are very supportive in bends and although the driving position can feel strange at first the driver always feels at the very centre of the action.
Renault Clios don't have the best reputation for reliability although build quality does seem to have improved in more recent models, interior squeaks and rattles seem to be the most popular complaints. Driver Power survey ratings put the Renault Clio in 41st place out of 100 for reliability.
The interior is very similar to the rest of the Clio range, featuring a spacious cabin, spilt-folding rear seats and useful cubbies in and around the dashboard and doors. Only available as a three-door, access to the rear seats is slightly limited however, rear passengers are required to clamber-in behind the folding front seats. The boot is a good size, but the high lip does restrict access slightly.
Value for money
Although the Renaultsport Clio 200 is the most expensive model in the line-up, few other cars offer this much performance and practicality for so little. At nearly £1,000 cheaper than the Volkswagen Polo GTI, the Clio 200 is great value. Opt for the cheaper, more driver focused Cup chassis and the price falls another £1,000 but forgoes standard fit luxuries such as cruise control, front fog lights, electric mirrors and climate control. Limited edition Silverstone GP models combine the best of both worlds, fitting the Cup chassis with most of the creature comforts.
Capable of 34.4 mpg the petrol-engined Clio 200 is quite efficient for the amount of thrills it provides. Driven hard, this figure will soon drop however and fuel stops will be frequent. Emissions of 190g/km of CO2 relates to an annual Road Tax bill of £245 which is high for this segment. Servicing and labour costs at Renault dealerships will prove good value though.