PH Fleet: Clio Renaultsport 200 Update
Smiles, miles and winter trials in the long-term PH Clio
For me, it is also one of the few times of the year when an ordinary three-door supermini-sized hot hatch really isn't enough. I spent the holidays last year in a long-wheelbase Land Rover Defender and that was barely big enough to hold all the Rigby gubbins. Therefore prospect of spending Christmas 2009 with the trusty PH Clio as my sole transport was worrying me somewhat. We already know that it's a fantastic thing to fling around road and track, as our summer track day sojourns in the Renaultsport Clio proved, but how would it cope with the entirely different trials and tribulations of Christmas motoring?
The first test in the ordeal was luggage capacity. The Renaultsport Clio was packed to the gunwales with a combination of enough luggage for 10 days away, a seemingly incalculable number of presents and, er, five gerbils in three separate cages (don't ask). It was a big ask for the Clio to swallow it all, but it managed it (just).
The next task was tackling almost a thousand miles of snowy, salty and icy motorways, A-roads and country lanes, something that actually threw the Clio slightly.
Away from town, the lumpy low-speed ride becomes more pliant at higher speeds, and the Clio becomes a much more comfortable car. The optional Recaro seats hold you tight without ever playing too rough, and the handling on twisty B-roads is nothing short of a hoot. It's just a shame that the Christmas ice prevented me from chucking the Clio about with the sort of abandon that it revels in.
But these are perhaps overly harsh criticisms. We borrowed the softer, slower, more comfort-oriented Clio GT from Renault a little while back and, although you might feel a touch more relaxed and comfortable in town in the GT, you would miss the extra country-road sharpness (and power) that the Renaultsport 200 brings.