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Renault Clio GT 128 review

Can't afford a Renaultsport Clio? Then how about the Clio GT instead? Read our review to see if diet RS has the go to match the show.

"The GT is designed to offer big thrills but small bills"

If the Renaultsport Clio is too hot for you to handle then Renault has the answer, in the form of the newly-introduced GT model.

It bridges the gap between the bonkers RS and lesser models in the competent supermini range. Think of it as a sort of diet Renaultsport version, with sportier looks and sharper driving dynamics than standard Clios matched by reduced running costs and without the flagship asking price.

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So what's the GT like?
My car immediately stood out thanks to its exclusive Malta Blue paint, which is rather nice. Completing the styling tweaks, and to make your mates know you can’t quite afford an RS, are 16-inch anthracite alloys, twin exhausts, a gloss-black grille and a chunky-but-slightly-naff bodykit complete the styling tweaks.

To complete the RS-lite makeover, the Clio GT’s front and rear springs have been stiffened by 15 per cent, and the power steering has been quickened to make it feel a bit more sprightly to drive. It works quite well too, but I can’t help but think you’d always hanker after the RS’s precision and mega-impressive ability to change direction.

What's the point of the GT?
And the GT’s appeal is further diminished when you check out the spec panel. My 128hp 1.6-litre petrol version wasn’t exactly rapid, but more annoying was the fact that the unit itself was noisy and boomy on the motorway. In fact the RS suffers from that problem too, but the GT doesn’t give you the blinding performance that you get from the Renaultsport version either.

There's more choice with a GT
If you must, you can opt to have your GT with the 106hp 1.5-litre diesel engine too. And doubtless that one will also feature the same sporty looks, polished handling and decent value of the petrol version. But to be honest, I’d rather save up for the RS, or buy a Clio that was more honest about its performance credentials.

Car Specs - Renault Clio GT 128

Engine:1.6-litre 4cyl, 128hp
0-62mph:9.3 seconds
Top speed:122mph
Economy/emissions:40.9mpg/160g/km CO2
Price/On sale £13,495/Now

We rate:
Nice new blue colour
Cheap to run
Handles well

We slate:
Not powerful enough
Suzuki Swift Sport is better
Not sure about the front

Rating: Image removed.

by Mike Chen

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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