There have been numerous performance and sport cars spun from the Renault Clio series during its 25 years. But perhaps none are as sharp, precise and downright fun as the 3rd generation of Clio RS 197/200 series.
Of course there are names as Clio Williams and Clio V6 in the Clio family, but something good was clearly in the water when Renault Sport launched the 197/200 series. I tell you from my own experience, because I own one. I drove quite few hot hatches in this price range and there are not many that have ever been so fit for purpose.
I’ll give you 5 reasons, why I think you should own one as well.
#1 It looks great!
Just look at the wheel arches. They’re subtly swelled out and are very different from a regular Clio. You can spot the difference in miles. If you follow one from behind, it looks so muscular and has some kind of special presence as it sits squat on the road. It looks bad ass.
#2 It feels fantastic to drive!
The fact, this thing is spectacularly good to drive. Use all of its performance, time your shifting with the satisfying red-line “beep”, and you’ll be grinning, even in a straight line. It shines best when the road’s not so straight, of course. The Clio’s reactions are razor-sharp, grip is amazing, the six-speed manual gearbox is precise and satisfying, and the sound of its properly sized engine is raw and exciting.
#3 You will want those Recaro seats!
Yep you will also want the Recaro seats. They were a pricey option when new, but you know what? They are worth every penny of that. I have the normal seats in mine but I’m planning to change them for Recaro in near future.
#4 The engine and performance!
The engine is a 2.0-litre N/A 4-cyl unit that wants to rev to the heavens. The red-line stops at amazing 7500 rpm, this is what makes you forget about the turbo engine. The 197s comes with 198hp and the 200s have 3 ponies more. It hits 0-100 km/h (0-60 mph) in 6.9 sec and have a top speed of 227 km/h (141 mph). Pretty impresive for a little Clio..
#5 The price
I think you get what you pay for. Its extremly fun to drive and affordable to almost anyone. You can get a decent 197 for around 6000€, the finest, well looked after are a little bit more expensive, expect you’ll need around 7500€ and if you want a R27 R1 special edition, you’ll probably might pay a little more.
The 200 face-lift version price tag starts at 8000€, again it depends on how well maintained the car is. The newer and special edition models (like for example the one with Akrapović exhaust system), might go up to 10000€.
All in all, the car is great. I’ve compared it to many small hot hatches before I bought one. For example an older version of Ford Fiesta ST or Mini Cooper S is the more tail-happy car, but neither has the Clio’s overall composure. On the corners, the Clio’s balance is simply superb. It’s the car with the sport soul, made for fast corners and race tracks!