When you think Renault RS, you think performance, handing and usually a very good looking vehicle. Renault has not disappointed in the styling department of the new Renault Clio RS. This model, which has caused a stir in the die-hard Clio RS circles, has been moved from naturally aspirated to a very smooth 200hp turbo charged engine.
Let’s get to it; the new Clio RS looks fresh and funky with its new styling comparing to its previous predecessor. It’s as if the Clio jumped forward and now says ‘look at me!’. The lovely Yellow Cup version we tested, with its black RS wheels wrapped in sticky Dunlop rubber, running slightly lower suspension than the LUX model, is really something to behold when the roads get twisty. The suspension is also about 20 percent stiffer in the front and in the rear. Strangely though, because it’s more of a progressive type setup, it feels very comfortable on the open road and as an everyday car. It’s as though the Clio RS has become more useful and practical. It’s like it’s grown up… a little.
The RS is only available in a 5 door. The rear door handles are cleverly hidden in the top quarter and I suspect that rear legroom is fine for somebody of an average size. Tall people will have a bit of an issue though. The interior to me is the best of the lot in the micro hot hatch segment. I really like what Renault has done with the red stitching and also the overall feel. The interior is wrapped in leather and the front seats are also heated. The rest is not that much different to a regular Clio, if you look at the dash, but the point is to make it comfortable and usable as a daily drive. The steering, with its alu-paddles, is sporty and feels rather premium. The on-board computer and audio system, with its main feature, the RS monitor is easy to use and to navigate. The audio and the navigation screen are shared on the home screen so it makes navigation a breeze.
The engine, which is shared with the Duke, has had some revised mapping and mated to this slick double clutch transmission with 3 modes (normal, sport and race) giving quick up and down shifts, with a throttle blip on the down shift. Fuel economy if driven conservatively is around the 7l/100km but will easily linger around the 9-10l/100km due to the fun nature of the car. There is only 45l so be prepared to fill up often as It just begs to be driven. The handling is superb for a front wheel drive and as usual the RS does not disappoint when the roads get twisty. One thing to note is that you do get a bit of lift off over steer on tight turns. Luckily, should things get out of hand; the stability control will get things back in line. 0-100kph comes up in a blisteringly quick 6.7 seconds and will run the 400m in an impressive 14.6seconds. If going flat out is your thing, you should hit the 230kph fairly easy.
The Clio is a really fun everyday car. Yes, it’s only available in this Auto mode, but it really is superb and I personally wouldn’t want it any other way. I love how effortlessly it cruises 120kph and how easy it is to drive fast. Everything just comes so easy to it. It’s also on the top of my list for the micro hot hatch segment.
The Clio RS Cup retails for R319 900 and comes standard with a 5 year 150 000km warranty. Services are due every 10 000km.
For more info, Renault.co.za