RE: Renaultsport Clio 200: PH Fleet

RE: Renaultsport Clio 200: PH Fleet

Saturday 11th May

Renaultsport Clio 200: PH Fleet

Ben hits his half dozen of Renaultsport cars owned with another of its greatest hits



What's the greatest hot hatch ever made? Any definitive answer would be a pretty brave one, even for a seasoned journalist. Which I am not. Yet I've seen many state that the Renaultsport Clio 200 is the best naturally-aspirated hot hatch they've encountered; I had to find out myself.

Before I started working at PH, more than four years ago now, I had always shunned the idea of buying 'some French tat.' But Dan and James soon made me see the light and it wasn't long before I bought a Clio 182 Trophy. Little did I know at the time that it would be the first of many Renaultsports I'd own, and the best decision I've ever made. It taught me that proper drivers car can be had on a small budget.

'Bang for your buck' is a phrase commonly thrown around in hot hatch circles, but a Clio 172/182 really is the definition of it. For a short while my first 182 was run alongside my Lotus Elise 111S and not only was it a quarter of the price, but I had far more confidence driving it harder and faster than the Lotus. Perhaps that was more down to the former point, but suffice it to say, they are incredible value for money, with early versions having been Shed money for a long time.


Having now owned a string of five Clios and Meganes, then, I was deliberating trying another car from the range. With PH Towers having relocated to central London, I'm barely covering any miles on my daily commute to the station. I still wanted something relatively comfortable with a few creature comforts, but most importantly it had to be a car capable of delivering thrills on and off track; this is what Renaultsports are famed for after all.

After weeks of throwing different ideas around the office, and hours researching - including reading our very own buying guide - my decision was final. There was just one small problem with concluding I wanted a 200 though - I'd never driven one. So, after several weeks of pouring over the market and not finding a car that ticked all the boxes, I took to a popular Clio forum to see if anyone local to me had a 200 they'd be happy to take me out in for a drive.


It didn't take long for a kind individual to come along and offer to take me out in their car. That person was in fact PH dealer Steve Murr (also known as R-Sport) who had a car sat just outside of my saved search criteria with his own 200 being identical bar a few modifications. He was also just down the road from me, so it seemed the stars had aligned. It was an absolute pleasure meeting Steve, it was just like going for a drive with a mate and there was no sales pitch whatsoever. He's been a dealer for a decade and has sold more than 100 Renaultsports, so knows a thing or two about them. EK60 BLX turned out to be perfect in every way so, perhaps surprisingly to Steve, a deal was struck on the spot and I headed home to tell my fiancée I might have just bought another car...

So what exactly have I bought? It's a late 2010 Renaultsport Clio 200 in Glacier White, in 'full fat' spec with Cup pack. This takes a standard Sport chassis car with its luxuries such as air-conditioning, keyless entry and cruise control, and adds the best bits from the Cup chassis with 30 per cent stiffer springs that sit 7mm closer to the ground and a steering rack that's 7.5 per cent quicker. Notable improvements over the 197 which the 200 succeeded were a 20 per cent rise in torque in the lower half of the rev range, with lower gear ratios for the first three gears and a longer sixth for cruising.

It produces 200hp at 7,100rpm from its 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-pot and will complete the 0-60 sprint in 6.9 seconds, if that's your thing. It's a chunk lighter than the Megane it has replaced, too, at 1,240kg. With just 25K miles on the clock, my car looks and feels brand new; it's exceptional. Expect that mileage to rise quite quickly over the coming weeks as I find out if it can live up to its hero status.


FACT SHEET
Car:
2010 Renaultsport Clio 200
Run by: Ben Lowden
On fleet since: May 2019
Mileage: 25,900
Last month at a glance: Ben does downsizing properly, as Megane makes way for Clio




Author
Discussion

kultsch88

Original Poster:

91 posts

107 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Exactly the same colour and spec as mine in 2013. Best car for pure driving fun I've ever owned - you'll have a blast! Hope you enjoy it.

Phil Dicky

5,576 posts

204 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Did my ARDS in one of these at Croft, forgot I was being tested and just chucked the thing around the circuit...great fun.

Butter Face

18,446 posts

101 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Recaros, Cup and Glacier white. Simple and sorted. Can't go wrong with that.

I 8 a 4RE

52 posts

182 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
I think we all understand these are great cars and good value for money.

However, my reservation to buy one as my 'train station car' is the enormous (van inspired) steering wheel and the mile long gear lever.

Just cannot get over the interior, but never sat in one... Change my mind?

Paddymcc

570 posts

132 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Had a 197 for a few years that I loved to jump into after driving auto Merc all the time.

It was comical how lacking in torque the 197 was though or if you were caught in the wrong gear going up a hill.
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Butter Face

18,446 posts

101 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
The interior is quite basic, but simple. The steering wheel is actually really nice, thick and comfortable and not as big as you'd expect and the gear throw is pretty decent.

You really should drive one, the basic interior (bear in mind that this shape Clio launched in 2005) is forgiven once you've done a few miles in them.

wab172uk

1,298 posts

168 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
I nearly bought one of these a couple years ago to replace my Twingo 133 RS, as the run around.

After much research the Gearbox seamed to be the biggest worry and most common failure with these cars. Decided in the end to keep the Twingo.

SarGara

309 posts

117 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Be careful with those cloth Recaros, the bolster will wear/rip if you aren't careful and they all seem prone to it. The same seat trimmed in leather fairs much better.

Edited by SarGara on Saturday 11th May 09:37

JJ55

424 posts

56 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
I 8 a 4RE said:
I think we all understand these are great cars and good value for money.

However, my reservation to buy one as my 'train station car' is the enormous (van inspired) steering wheel and the mile long gear lever.

Just cannot get over the interior, but never sat in one... Change my mind?
Wheel is easily swapped out for a Momo/ Sabelt etc.

Plenty of options for gearbox & stick too.

You’ll forget about the interior once you hit a good road, great cars!

sysak

7 posts

22 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
The steering wheel in mk3 clio is perfectly normally-sized. I put one into my 172 because the standard wheel in that was so big it felt like driving a bus.

I quite like the idea of a 197/200 but what's stopping me from getting one (other than the money) is the fuel consumption. My 172 does 40mpg while most mk3 rs users report high 20s or low 30s.

Edited by sysak on Saturday 11th May 10:24

davidc1

680 posts

103 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
I had a 197 cup from new in 08 and replaced that with a new 200 ff in 2012. Ran that over 3 years.
I was revisiting my youth when I had 2 16v mk 1 clios.
197 edged it for me when I look back now on them. Better looking of the 2 cars.
Less mid range but a more manic top end when u got up it.
200 was spoiled by the ride. A step too far on the springs. And I dont mind a hard ride! Also the wheel rim was too thick.
Weak air con as well on both.
These cars need looking after .expensive tyres and service regular etc.sadly many dont get this so go downhill.
If I was in the market again I would get an up GTI for a bit to go alongside my 981boxster spyder.
When I was at brands on wed this week there was 1 rogue clio 200 on track at the Porsche club track evening and it had no trouble getting up with the various boosters and 911s.




MrTouring

147 posts

36 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
I 8 a 4RE said:
I think we all understand these are great cars and good value for money.

However, my reservation to buy one as my 'train station car' is the enormous (van inspired) steering wheel and the mile long gear lever.

Just cannot get over the interior, but never sat in one... Change my mind?
That’s what stopped me for so long and I’m so glad I got over it! Moved from using a fully spec’d M5 to the Clio for every day and haven’t regretted it!

Clio is everything I had read about and more on the driving front and at the end of the day still has cruise control, climate control and an aux for the journey back home!

A few choice mods to the interior: retrimmed wheel, rs gear-lever and proper match yellow mats and it feels fine!







Edited by MrTouring on Saturday 11th May 11:56

MrTouring

147 posts

36 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
I would definitely say get the Akrapovic EVO system on it to fully enjoy life

Makes every journey sound like a rally stage and is amazing on the overrun

Notanotherturbo

314 posts

148 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
I haven't had a 200, but have had 182 and 197 Cups. To drive the 197 was utterly fantastic . They are very one dimensional though, great for a country lane blast or a track day but I found the short gearing , very hard suspension and torque light power delivery very tiresome when not in the mood. As fun car yes as a daily not for me - but I am old now! The 182 is a better all round road car IMO, rides better, cruises better, does about 8 mpg more and isn't any slower. Hasn't got the grip or stopping power of the later car though, handling is more throttle adjustable in the 182 though. I always thought a 200 with another 30 bhp per ton would be close to the ultimate fwd cross country weapon. Trouble is it's big money to tune for that sort of power increase.

far57

10 posts

144 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Ben, you are in good company. Bought ours from Steve Murr (great chap) in June 2010 with 1.8K miles on the clock - exactly the same spec as yours save the Recaros. Much to my regret we sold her some years later with 78K miles on the clock having never missed a beat.

Edited by far57 on Saturday 11th May 12:23

Leanne1

65 posts

157 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Thanks ben & ( Far57 )

Superb cars out the box - Also attractive to modify as well with plenty of choices out there !

Enjoy the ownership - looking forward to the updates -

Steve

sJs

49 posts

133 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Have a set of the Recaro seats, re-trimmed, like new if anyone is interested.

Leanne1

65 posts

157 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Drop me a text

07961 422 204

maxripper

2 posts

22 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Desperate to try one of these, at the moment I sprint a 172cup which has managed a fair few class wins, I can see they are a fair bit more powerful and a fair bit more heavy anybody had both and like to comment?

davyvee

162 posts

76 months

Saturday 11th May
quotequote all
Should have bought another 182 Trophy wink

Better track car the 200. Trophy vastly better road car imo.