Renault's hottest Clio yet: RS joins SA's hot hatch battle
• New Clio RS in South Africa
• Exterior & interior F1-inspired enhancements
• RS Vision LEDs
• Flagship Clio Trophy version
Cape Town - Hot off the heels of its updated fourth-generation Clio, in May 2017, Renault has launched its new RS hot hatch in South Africa.
The Clio RS is available in two flavours, Lux and Trophy, the former delivers 147kW/260Nm from its 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, while the Trophy delivers 162kW and 280kW. Both are mated to a six-speed EDC dual-clutch automatic sending power to the front wheels.
Two different types of chassis are available; the LUX model, with its 17” wheels is tailored for everyday use while the Trophy (18" wheels) chassis is lowered by 20mm at the front and 10mm at the rear for a more engaging experience on the road.
The new hot hatch receives a makeover for 2017 with style tweaks including the introduction of new LEDs dubbed RS Vision.
It's a formidable hot hatch but so are its competitors (i.e Ford Fiesta ST, Polo GTI). How does the latest Clio RS fare?
Overall it's 'business as usual' from Renault Sport...
Clio RS 200 EDC LUX - R379 900
Clio RS 220 EDC TROPHY - R419 900
Metallic paint - R2500
Special metallic paint: Yellow & White - R10 000
As with the rest of the Renault range, new Clio RS units are sold with a 5-year or 150 000km warranty, 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. A 3-year or 30 000km service plan applies, with service intervals at 10 000km.
In terms of design, changes are subtle with the its prominent new signature LED lighting and chromed trim along the bottom of the grille. The grille housing the Renault diamond logo has been redesigned.
The interior doesn't differ much from the standard Clio. Its aluminum pedals, red stitching on the steering wheel and sport logos display its RS roots. The latest RS benefits from higher quality materials, more refined trim, redesigned steering wheel, door panels, central air vents and LED cabin lighting. Overall it's a lot more sophisticated inside than it's hot hatch exterior might elude to.
My route behind the wheel of the hot hatch saw the RS tackle undulating bends through Slanghoek in Rawsonville and the famous twists of Franschhoek pass to demonstrate the car’s canny tuning.
Precise steering, great chassis, incredible grip... the RS is eager to get to grips with any road challenge, especially in Trophy guise, provided you don't encounter any bumps along the tar. Poor road surfaces in SA will expose its greatest shortcomings, most notably a harsh ride from its significantly stiffer springs. Don't get me wrong, its handling is faultless, it's sad that SA's poor roadways will more often than not result in the Trophy's stiff suspension to pick up the smallest blemish on the road.
Its Akrapovic exhaust delivers a great note when you apply the throttle but nowhere near as sonorous as the Megane RS. It's a very decent hot hatch and incredibly fun to drive.
The RS takes the best qualities of the Clio (space for four, adequate boot, great tech) and elevates it with a good 'box, brisk engine and spirited ride. Its paddle shifts, a product of Renault's involvement in Formula 1, allows greater speed and control over gear shifts.
Overall, it has awesome amounts of power, 'track-tuned' handling and its on-board driving telemetry should quench a petrolhead's thirst for one-upping their biggest road rival - themselves.
Unique to its segment, the Trophy has an exclusive Akrapovic exhaust system for great sound, and performance.
The new hot hatch is fitted with Launch Control, RS Drive and RS Monitor.
Launch Control system: Emulates, says Renault, a "true drag race experience" enabling
take-off with limited wheel spin.
RS Drive: Three driving modes Normal, Sport and Race.
The RS Monitor: Performance tracking system providing the driver with real-time data. It collects data and enables drives to record and replay previous drives..
The RS is also fitted with an electronic differential.
The Clio RS Trophy - at a glance
• Lower chassis and 18” high performance Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
• 1.6-litre 162kW/280kW
• 0-100km/h in 6.6 secs , top speed of 235km/h.
• Only vehicle in its segment to be fitted with a standard Akrapovic exhaust.
• Red brake calipers with its 320mm ventilated discs.
• Emissions of 135g/km, fuel consumption at a claimed 5.9-litres/100km.
• Onboard satnav via 7” touchscreen
• Multimedia, radio, Bluetooth connectivity.
• Cruise Control-speed limiter.
• Rain sensors, auto wipers and light sensors
• Renault Hands-free Card Key for remote entry, Stop/Start functionality.
• ABS + EBD
• New Generation ESC (Electronic Stability Control)
• ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation) active traction control
• HSA (Hill Start Assist)
• Driver and passenger front and side airbags.
• Height adjustable driver and passenger seat
• Three Isofix attachments.
• Renault’s "Anti-submarining system" Fix4sure seat design.