Re­nault’s Cup fever

The Clio Re­nault Sport 200 Cup is a fun-filled drive, but it comes at a price, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

THE words sport and cup take on a spe­cial mean­ing when they are ap­plied to some­thing from the Re­nault sta­ble. They mean fast and faster, as well as the sort of in­spired tweak­ing that only comes from a full fac­tory hot shop that ri­vals HSV and FPV in Aus­tralia for fo­cused and en­joy­able driv­ing.

The lat­est in the line is the Clio Re­nault Sport 200 Cup, a car built up from a city run­about into one of the world’s most fun-filled drives.

Re­nault Sport has done the Clio be­fore, with the 197, but the 200 re­flects a horse­power boost to dou­ble-ton re­sults as well as up­grade work on the me­chan­i­cal and cos­metic fronts.

Re­nault never got the ba­sic Clio to work in Aus­tralia be­cause of a too-high start­ing price and too-low qual­ity, but it’s cash­ing in on the Re­nault Sport mod­els.

But there is still a huge con­trast in Re­nault show­rooms be­tween the Sport mod­els and the im­pres­sive Koleos SUV, not to men­tion the La­guna which has never fired in a class where the Toy­ota Camry is con­sis­tently on tar­get.

Value

A $36,490 start­ing price, and more for the hot­ter Trophee ver­sion, looks silly on a car that runs in the same ba­sic class as the $13,990 Hyundai Getz. But the Clio is more than just a size fighter.

The ba­sic Clio, as we know, is a costly car and there is plenty of ex­tra cost in ev­ery­thing from gi­ant brakes and high-grip tyres to mon­ster al­loy wheels. The Re­nault Sport up­grade also in­cludes such costly tweak­ing as wider front and rear guards, and the Trophee pack even adds sen­sa­tional race-style Re­caro bucket seats.

So you re­ally need to mea­sure the hot Clio against the Volk­swa­gen Golf GTi and even the Subaru WRX and Mit­subishi Evo, at least for the fun fac­tor. It’s an im­pos­si­ble deal to make on any ra­tio­nal ba­sis, be­cause these cars are more emo­tional than ra­tio­nal. But Re­nault does claim a best-in-class power-to-weight ra­tio, which helps to off­set the size-against-price mis­match.

Technology

THE go-faster gear in ev­ery Re­nault Sport car makes it spe­cial, start­ing with the en­gine. This one makes 147.5kW/215Nm, up slightly on power and a lot on torque, though it still needs to be buzzed close to the red­line to do its best work. There is a six-speed man­ual gear­box only, with the three bot­tom gears stacked closer for a sharper sprint re­sponse, as well as 17-inch al­loy wheels, gi­ant four-wheel disc brakes and Con­ti­nen­tal Sport 3 tyres.

Re­nault Sport claims im­prove­ments in a va­ri­ety of ar­eas, from fuel econ­omy to steer­ing re­sponse, safety to sus­pen­sion grip and feel.

The track is wider at both ends than a stan­dard Clio, as you would ex­pect, and the springs and shocks are tighter than the pre­vi­ous 197.

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