Tro­phy for top shelf

The lim­ited-edi­tion Clio earns the sil­ver­ware as a comfy com­muter and for rapid-fire road­work

Herald Sun - Motoring - - THE TICK -

EV­ERY time I think I’ve done the job on Re­nault Sport there is some­thing new. This time it’s a fully loaded Clio that raises the bar for the French brand’s go­faster divi­sion.

Its ti­tle in full is Clio RS 220 EDC Tro­phy. Re­nault Sport has cre­ated a lim­ited-edi­tion Clio with an en­gine that packs more punch, a dual-clutch gear­box that is more re­spon­sive and styling that’s more ag­gres­sive.

For me, the best thing is that the Tro­phy pack works as an all-round pack­age. It’s not over­done in any one area, which makes it ex­tremely en­joy­able driv­ing at any speed.

It’s more re­spon­sive at any speed, with the sort of roll-on re­sponse I crave in all turbo cars, and the chas­sis is firm but not harsh with grip and bal­ance to match the work from the en­gine room.

There’s an abid­ing query. Why does Re­nault name its cars in horse­power terms — in this case its 220hp or 162 kilo­watts — when it was the French who gave us the met­ric sys­tem that in­cludes New­ton-me­tres and kilo­watts to mea­sure en­gine out­puts? It’s a mi­nor nig­gle in a smart lit­tle car.

The chic base Clio is fine as a sub-$20,000 city car, tastier as a Re­nault Sport car, even bet­ter with the 200 en­gine pack­age and reaches peak sta­tus as the 220 Tro­phy.

Ini­tially I’m not ex­pect­ing to like the car as much as I do. I come to it from a Peu­geot 208 GTi, a grown-up hot hatch that earned The Tick last week. The Peu­geot feels big­ger and more com­pli­ant than the Re­nault, even though they com­pete in the same class.

What gives the Clio its edge — an edge over any­thing in the class in­clud­ing the Ford Fi­esta ST that’s a per­sonal favourite — is the way it can be a street- smart squir­rel in city con­di­tions but still pro­vide re­laxed tour­ing in the coun­try.

In 220 Tro­phy guise, it’s a long way be­yond the 900cc Clio Authen­tique that opens the Re­nault ac­tion for $18,000 in Aus­tralia.

The $20,000 pre­mium adds the ob­vi­ous en­hance­ments to the en­gine, trans­mis­sion, sus­pen­sion, wheels, seats and di­als. Lim­ited-edi­tion items and badges mark it as one of the 220 cars — get it? — brought to Aus­tralia.

The heart of the upgrade is an en­gine that makes an ex­tra 15kW and 40Nm yet still meets Euro6 emis­sions stan­dards. Some mak­ers do this sort of work by only tweak­ing the com­puter con­trols but Re­nault Sport has fit­ted a big­ger turbo, a new in­let setup, re­vised en­gine map­ping and what it calls a “torque boost” func­tion in fourth and fifth gears.

In the gear­box, changes can be 30 per cent faster and that is helped by re­vised pad­dleshifters that re­duce the free play in the switches.

There is also a new steer­ing rack for faster re­sponse, plus lower and firmer sus­pen­sion.

Vis­ual treats in­clude 18-inch al­loys, car­bon-fi­bre look in­te­rior trim, leather sports seats and a Tro­phy badge frontand-cen­tre in the grille.

When I slide into the 220 for the first time I’m tired and only want a quiet run home. That’s what I get, with comfy and sup­port­ive seats and seam­less power that means I only need a light tickle on the ac­cel­er­a­tor to stay with the com­muter traf­fic.

Closer to home, I have a lit­tle fun with the dou­ble-clutch gear­box on some rapid-fire down­shifts as I try the stop­ping power of the brakes.

The next day, I’m up for a fun run. And the Clio de­liv­ers with a pack­age that is beau­ti­fully bal­anced.

The 6.6-se­cond time for the bench­mark 0-100km/h dash does not seem over-quick but it’s fine for a car so small and light. It has plenty of punch, and even more when I ac­ti­vate the RS mode switch.

By far the best as­pect is the seam­less and ef­fort­less power de­liv­ery, giv­ing all the go I need for over­tak­ing and some twist­ing roads.

The chas­sis could eas­ily have been over-firm but it’s not. The com­pli­ant sus­pen­sion ab­sorbs bumps in­stead of just crash­ing the im­pacts through to the cabin yet the Tro­phy, taut in all con­di­tions, turns and grips smartly.

There is no need to ven­ture into the Race set­ting but Sport mode de­liv­ers — the Clio feels a much live­lier pocket rocket than the 208 GTi. In its in­stant re­sponse, it is ac­tu­ally more like the clas­sic Peu­geot 205 GTi that I drove and loved decades ago.

It also has a much more user-friendly dash­board lay­out than the Peu­geot’s heav­ily pro­moted but un­der­done iCock­pit ap­proach.

The 220 Tro­phy is not a cheap car but it is a very good car, a very in­tel­li­gent and en­joy­able one.


Any­one who read last week’s 208 GTi re­view will know the Clio gets The Tick but it’s worth em­pha­sis­ing why. The 220 Tro­phy is now one of my gen­uine small-car favourites.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.