Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy: PH Fleet

As PH's latest recruit, my previous car ownership was rigorously interrogated on arrival. Having had two Audi TTs and a Caterfield wannabe, I wasn't off to a great start. Some credibility was reclaimed by having a Peugeot 306 as my first car, but that cost me more than it was worth to fix during ownership. In fact I vowed never to buy another Frenchie after the 306...

Capsicum Red still looking fab
Capsicum Red still looking fab
But then I came across the Clio Renaultsport PH Buying Guide. There was a considerable amount of peer pressure from my colleagues too, Mr Trent and Drake in particular. After a number of chats and probably expecting the inevitable, Dan kindly invited me along to the Renaultsport Clio test at Brands Hatch. That turned out to be rather an expensive day.

I simply fell head over heels for the 182 Trophy. The newer RS 200 felt faster, more planted and generally more advanced, but for me it just didn't have the character of the Trophy in both looks and feel. As yet it's an intangible affection, something I can't quite put my finger on. If you have ever faced "Why do you love me?" and struggled to find an answer, that's how I feel about the Trophy.

I've always been a lover of the lightweight cars, and having sold an S2 Lotus Elise 111S recently to build a Caterham Seven I hope that proves it. But more on that another time! The Trophy therefore fits in perfectly, its lithe 1,070kg made to look especially lean compared to that other red hot hatch on the PH Fleet, the 1,476kg (!) Golf R. Throw in a 182hp 2.0-litre engine paired with those very special Sachs remote-reservoir front dampers and the result is, as I'm now discovering, an absolute B-road weapon and one that looks incredibly good value as well.

Clio Trophy and Wales a match made in heaven!
Clio Trophy and Wales a match made in heaven!
Exactly a week after Brands I set off on a 300-mile trip to Truro from Kent in the hope that my new Clio was a real keeper. And damn it is! Owned by a Renault technician for eight years who genuinely wept as I took the keys from his hand, I knew I'd made the right decision. I proceeded to rack up another 550+ miles over the weekend with a trip to Rhayader followed by our Morgan Sunday Service.

Suffice to say I'm besotted but also a tad frustrated that its taken me over 10 years to discover what fast Clios are all about! I'm only a few days into ownership but there's going to be plenty to say about this incredible hot hatch over the coming months. I just need to be careful where I leave the keys in the office...

2005 Renault Clio 182 Trophy
Run by: Ben Lowden
Bought: April 2015
Mileage: 75,163
Last month at a glance: A hot hatch hero joins the PH staff Fleet!

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (72) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Gecko1978 23 Apr 2015

    I love these cars and the wright at 1070kg is a huge plus point I could easily see how you might get to 200bhp per ton with some mild tuning maybe a better exhaust (lighter) wheels and a smidge or carbon etc.

    I wonder how much a 75k clio costs to buy an insure my guess is not much for a performance bargin with 4 usable seats an a boot

  • TurboHatchback 23 Apr 2015

    The best hot hatch ever made IMO. I'm ever more tempted to get myself another 182 at some point, even though it doesn't suit my usage at all I miss mine frown.

  • Carlique 23 Apr 2015

    I've wanted one ever since watching Harry Metcalfes video on his own. It must be an impressive little car if it's captured his admiration so much.

    Enjoy smile

  • Feirny 23 Apr 2015

    I owned a Trophy a few years ago and have recently bought an Elise 111S, the Elise is the closest thing to the Trophy I've driven that feels as special.

    I'll almost certainly own another Trophy at some point.

  • DaveL485 23 Apr 2015

    As a dedicated Turbo'd car fan, I picked up an RS Clio with a few issues on the cheap in 2011 with the full intention of selling it on at considerable profit after i'd done the required bits and a belt service.

    I still have it.

    It's not going anywhere.

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