Renault has really worn the hot hatch crown for a very long time. They had the 5 GT in the eighties, the Williams in the 90s and obviously the RS since the mid-two-thousands. The Clio RS has always been a firm favorite with us and it’s not very difficult to see why.
The Clio had a bit of a change in 2013, when it became force-fed and when it lost its manual gearbox. While the idea seemed well and worked okay-ish, the shift changes were not to everybody’s liking. It was a slow and not as responsive. Thankfully, the new Clio has had some voodoo magic thrown in there and as result, we have supercar like shifts!
The new facelift looks nothing short of menacing and aggressive. Renault has done just enough and kept it borderline, instead of going over the top and having it appear all Honda Type R-like with spoilers and louver’s, I think the new car looks tastefully aggressive. You will definitely know the difference between the RS and the GT line.
The front now features Pure vision Bi-Led headlights and for the first time, they have multi-focus Led spotlights that will increase night time visibility of up to 300meters ahead. So in laymen’s terms, they double up as assisted headlights and turning lamps. They are also designed in the signature RS flag, which just shows how far they’ve gone to pay attention to detail.
While this RS Lux version is a more toned down version of the Clio RS Trophy, it has very similar handling characteristics but a slightly more forgiving suspension and not as sticky race orientated tires. The engine makes a very healthy 147kw and is mated to a very quick shifting EDC gearbox. The interior is also cloth based instead of leather and you also lose the option of heated seats for driver and passenger. The interior still features a sat-nav system and a decent audio system with Bluetooth and telephony support. The multi-media system also features the RS monitor which will show driving data, when you decide to take things a little bit more serious, like on a track.
Other than that, the interior is much of the same and it’s not a bad thing. The ergonomics are still pretty well suited, even to taller drivers. With the driver seat fully adjusted to the rear, you do lose out on leg room and it will be a little cramped, but in hindsight, this was really never designed to be a family saloon and is probably aimed at a 22-30 demographic.
On the safety front, there are plenty of active and passive setups in place. ABS, EBD, ESC, Hill start and Active Slip Regulation. Much of the industry standard airbags are also in place, with the driver, passenger and curtain airbags.
The new facelift Clio RS really is something special and its going to take a big change from the other brands to come close to this package, especially in RS Trophy trim.
For more info on pricing and warranty, please check out Renault.co.za