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Driven: Renault Clio RS Trophy

2017-08-14 07:55

Image: Warren Wilson / Wheels24

Sean Parker

Cape Town - The Clio RS in its current form is a departure from the model that made the hot hatch famous among petrolheads. 

The Clio RS has grown up and while some may sneer at that, the fourth-generation French hatchback is much easier to live with. It has four doors, an automatic gearbox and a decent size boot. 

A 1.6-litre engine powers the hot hatch and in Trophy form churns out a massive 162kW/280Nm thanks to help from Renault's Formula 1 team. The automaker claims a 6.6 second 0-100km/h time. 

Is it quick off the line?

Yes, the dual-clutch gearbox with massive paddles attached to the steering column allow for quick changes in RS mode (which is prompted via a button on the lower fascia). 

The RS also features an electronic differential and a bespoke Akaprovic exhaust. If you fiddle through the RS menu it's possible to change the 'exhaust' note to a few other cars including an old Clio RS race car. 

Another cool feature is the monitor that allows you to check everything from a lap-timer to throttle positions, brake pedal applications, gearbox oil temperature and even how much G-force you're generating. 

The data is there if you're into track days and that sort of thing, oh and you can store it on an SD card. Nice one Renault. 

A late Saturday afternoon drive covering Ou Kaapse weg, over Red Hill in Simonstown and then eventually making a u-turn at Cape Point showed off the Trophy's good and bad traits. It's grippy handling and involving ride come at a price - a rock-hard ride. 

The Trophy was in its element as I twisted and turned the nimble front-wheel drive hatch up Red Hill with a massive grin on my face because it's incredibly exciting. It's possible to drive the Trophy on the edge, it's that type of car. A thrilling sensation. 

On the straighter sections of my route, there was ample opportunity to stretch the little 1.6-litre turbo's legs. It felt stable on a couple on the b-roads, even when picking up speed.

Image: Warren Wilson

In summary, the Trophy is a selfish choice in that it's let down by the super harsh ride and at R419 900 the Trophy is an expensive proposition.

Overall, it's a superb driving tool with a high build-quality. It offers an involving drive that doesn't guzzle too much fuel and is able to seat four adults. If you're looking for a hot hatch from folks who know how to make excellent front-wheel drive hot hatches, look no further. 

The Clio RS needed to grow up (seat four, dual-clutch 'box and a turbocharged engine) to compete. And boy does it compete. 

Image: Warren Wilson

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