Review: Renault Clio Renaultsport (2009 – 2013)


One of the best hot hatches around, great handling and poise.

Very hard ride is uncomfortable, not enjoyable to drive in traffic.

Renault Clio Renaultsport (2009 – 2013): At A Glance

Test of 2008 Clio 197 Cup at RenaultSport Clio 197 Cup 2008 Road Test

What does a Renault Clio Renaultsport (2009 – 2013) cost?

Renault Clio Renaultsport (2009 – 2013): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4017 mm
Width 1768 mm
Height 1484 mm
Wheelbase 2585 mm

Full specifications

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 a RenaultSport Clio 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. 

Child seats that fit a Renault Clio Renaultsport (2009 – 2013)

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What's the Renault Clio Renaultsport (2009 – 2013) like to drive?

Is the RenaultSport Clio Cup hard core, 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. 

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.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
Renaultsport 200 35 mpg 6.9 s 190 g/km
Renaultsport 200 Cup 35 mpg 6.9 s 190 g/km

Real MPG average for a Renault Clio Renaultsport (2009 – 2013)

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


Real MPG

27–33 mpg

MPGs submitted


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 (2009 – 2013)?

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

Cam belt failure - should my local dealer cover the costs?

The cam belt on my limited edition Clio RenaultSport Gordini has failed, causing catastrophic damage to the engine. The garage have indicated it requires a new engine, with a rough estimate of £7500. Renault say it's not economical to fix the car and have offered me £1000 towards a new car or a used car up to three years old. The cam belt should be changed at six years old/60,000 miles. My car is almost six years old with just under 24,000 miles on the clock. The garage have indicated the cam belt would have been changed at next service. I want to repair my car and I want Renault to cover the costs of the parts. Is this something I can argue the case for, and are either the garage or Renault liable for the failure even though it is out of warranty?
These are your consumer rights: You could claim that it did not last the stipulated six years. You would have to sue the supplying dealer, not Renault itself. I generally advise belt and waterpump at four years or 60k miles whichever comes first, but failed to take my own advice and changed mine at seven years and 18k miles. Turned out the waterpump was just about to go.
Answered by Honest John
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