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Renault is not a popular brand in the UAE when it comes to performance. The Clio Sport has been around for quite a while and I still don’t see much of it on UAE roads. I believe it’s time that belief should change. The Clio has a pedigree and its reputation goes back to the classic Clio Williams and after driving my first ever Clio RS, I will have to agree whole heartedly. Check out its specs and prices.
From the first glance, the RS looks hardcore. From the tailpipes and wide back to the bulging wheel arches and front spoiler. Add to that those mean alloys and you have a recipe for a bad-boy – a bad-boy that can carry 5 adults to a race-track.
The interior of the Clio RS is as basic as it could be. Hard plastics fill the environment. Sports seats add to the whole cushy feeling and if someone still had doubts then show them the red seat belts and the ‘Renault Sport’ badge.
This car can carry 5 adults but not comfortably as the rear leg room is not adequate. It is a small car and it shows. But the most disappointing factor is the boot space – there is none! Instead you have a big spare wheel in the trunk taking up all the available space. Hot hatches are supposed to be practical yet sporty. I guess Renault forgot about the practicality factor. Hopefully, they will realize it in the next iteration.
The car has all the basic features one would expect from a modern day people carrier – navigation, Bluetooth, voice recognition, paddles, DRLs, auto lamps, auto AC etc. Given the price tag, no one expects any premium features so all is well in this department. However, you do get cool looking graphs judging your performance to help you in improving your racing skills.
The RS is powered by a 1.6 liter turbocharged engine producing 200 BHP and 240 Nm of torque. It does have a little turbo lag but you don’t feel it much as the punchy engine starts screaming early and makes you turn into a rally cross driver which I believe is compliment enough. The car sprints from 0-100 in 6.7 seconds with launch control on – yes, it has launch control. The fuel economy (13.7 l/100km) is not that great but will suffice considering the flooring you will do in this car. All in all, it makes a sporty car; sporty.
Handling and Braking
This car handles like any hot hatch should – the front wheels do all the work and try hard to minimize understeer. There is a lot of torque steer and one needs to put both hands on the steering to control keep the car steady – especially when coming out of corners. Also, there is no comfort setting for the suspension and the car makes you feel each and every blemish on the road. It has three drive modes but the only difference I felt was in the acceleration and steering and not in the suspension. But one shouldn’t expect premium features for a car which costs 100k. So, I will give them that. On the other hand, brakes are just sublime as the car stops from 100-0 in 2.6 seconds. This shows that this car is meant for the tracks.
After driving the Clio RS in the launch event, I fell in love with its performance on the track and wanted to test it on the road. Now, though, I feel it is at home on the track and one should keep a backup car for the road journeys.