Review: Renault Clio Renaultsport (2006 – 2009)

Rating:

Very well liked by enthusiasts. Sparkles in a manner the standard Clio simply doesn't.

No air con makes the car harder to sell.

Recently Added To This Review

1 November 2008

New Clio Renaultsport 197 Lux, priced at £16,995, announced. Offers £2,000 worth of equipment for just £1,000 more than the standard 197. All the thrills and driving pleasure of the 197,... Read more

1 November 2007

‘Cup’ chassis now available as an option on standard Clio Renaultsport 197 The ‘Cup’ chassis made its debut on the limited edition Clio Renaultsport 197 F1 Team R27. Has a 7mm... Read more

12 April 2007

Renaultsport 197 F1 Team R27 announced at £17,250 on-the-road, limited edition of 500 examples destined for UK market, each with numbered plaque. Cup Chassis to became optional on standard Clio... Read more

Renault Clio Renaultsport (2006 – 2009): At A Glance

Is this car hardcore, or soft? On the one hand it makes you suffer. It has no aircon, just an ordinary CD/radio and no fancy bits at all. You even have to reach over and wiggle little stalks to adjust the door mirrors. The exhaust note assaults your eardrums.

Maximum power and torque both come very high in the rev range, at 7,250rpm and 5,550rpm. The gearing is very low at just 20mph per 1,000rpm in top, so it drones trying to cruise at 70mph. And if you've been feeding your bottom a bit too much you might find it won't fit into the narrow Recaro seats.

What does a Renault Clio Renaultsport (2006 – 2009) cost?

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What's the Renault Clio Renaultsport (2006 – 2009) like to drive?

Instead of little luxuries it gives you 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, third gear acceleration that won't feel too slow on a track day, sharp steering and excellent Brembo four pot calliper 315mm cross drilled front disc brakes.

Yet, tootling round town, variable ratio power steering makes it a doddle to park, the variable valve timing chain cam engine pretends to be a pussycat, and even the ride quality is acceptable.

What I like about it is that everything is there for a reason rather then for show. The vents in the front wings really do help the brakes to cool. The bib and optional spoiler help keep it tucked down onto the road. As the car speeds up, the steering sharpens up, and lets you know which wheels are gripping. You can fling it around like an expert, even if you aren't.

And that's the whole point. It's a track day fun car you can sensibly use on the road without suffering the privations of, say, an Elise or a Caterham driver.

It doesn't compete with the MINI Cooper S because that's an altogether more refined and luxurious type of machine. It's more focused than a Focus ST. Less gitty than a Golf GTI. Harder edged than a Honda Civic Type R (though the ride quality is actually better). The Clio 197 Cup is aimed at the same kind of bloke who bought a Mini Cooper S forty years ago, even though his haircut will be different. I'd guess its closest real competitors are the Fiesta ST185 Mountune. And perhaps the much more expensive MINI Cooper S John Cooper Works.

It came to pass that rather than a couple of drives to the auctions and a quick blast through the lanes, I got stuck with HK57KDZ for more than 500 miles of motorway. And, with the police alert spoiler on the back, that meant an unconvicting 70mph at 3,500rpm.

It wasn't purgatory. The ride quality and damping didn't reacquaint me with my breakfasts and I could turn the radio up to drown out the drone. One peculiarity of my car was it insisted I was only averaging 25 - 26mpg when, in fact, checking 354 miles of brim to brim, I managed 32.9, very close to its official combined figure of 33.9mpg.

So it's livable with. I forgave the wobbling passenger door mirror and the hatchback's occasional reluctance to unlatch. (Actually it was wobbling because it had become unstuck and a firm push fixed that little problem.) The optional Recaro seats were very comfortable. The sharp steering enabled quick lane changes to assist HGVs wanting to overtake other HGVs.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
Renaultsport 197 34 mpg 6.9 s 199 g/km
Renaultsport 197 Cup 34 mpg 6.9 s 199 g/km
Renaultsport 197 F1 Team 34 mpg 6.9 s 199 g/km

Real MPG average for a Renault Clio Renaultsport (2006 – 2009)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

86%

Real MPG

22–33 mpg

MPGs submitted

11

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Renault Clio Renaultsport (2006 – 2009)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Used estate or 4x4

I currently drive a Renaultsport Clio 197, but I need a family estate car. I want to spend around £5000. I travel 18,000 miles per year so a diesel would probably be best for economy. Some comfort would be nice as I have a bit of a bad back. What would you recommend?
If you can find a Focus 1.6TDCI 90 without a DPF that would not be a bad idea. If they have DPFs they usually need a new one around 80k miles, plus a new DMF at anything from 50k miles to 120k miles.
Answered by Honest John
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