Tag Archive | "Clio"

Is This The Best Hot Hatch Ever?

Every once in a while, Motor Blogger – like a good boy who has eaten all his greens and done all his homework – is given a little treat. This is why, on an overcast day with the threat of rain on the horizon, Motor Blogger turned left out of a car park and onto a fast flowing ‘B’ road in a red car.

A pat on a paddle and a thrust on the throttle later and the world was going past the windows at the speed of light. Right behind was the permanent roar of a rather furious T-Rex. This then, is the introduction to the new Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC – arguably the best hot hatch on the planet.

Statistics are not really enough to describe this car. We can talk about 0-60mph times and top speed but for a drive as exhilarating as this you’ll forgive us if we wax poetic. The first thought is, ‘this is lunacy’, such is the sensation of power, but, as the car settles on the road, there’s a realisation that this rocket is just about as planted as it can get. There’s no drama; no sense of an imminent departure into the landscape – just driving perfection.

The traffic light sprint number of 6.7 seconds is good but not that different to the opposition but that doesn’t tell the whole story. This is because the experience of driving this Clio is a whole package. To be honest, it doesn’t quite have the raw appeal of its predecessor. This is a softer car. The seats are very comfortable and supportive, the ride excellent and not nearly as crashy as in earlier incarnations. On our roads this is a good thing.RS21 Is This The Best Hot Hatch Ever?

Some ultra-purists will say that it has lost something in its bid to become more of an all-rounder but for most drivers this car is absolutely the business. In auto mode or by using the paddles progress is swift – very swift – and secure. After driving for a while Motor Blogger looked down and saw a sport button. It’s got a sport button?! Right.

Select sport and the steering hefts up a bit and the otherwise unobtrusive traction control goes into a partial mode. Select race and it goes off altogether for full race effect. The trouble is – this is Little Britain and there is scant tolerance for shenanigans on the road. Best save ‘race’ for track days!

So; what have we got? Well, the Renaultsport Clio can pootle along in relaxed auto mode all day just by selecting drive although it is more involving to use the paddles of the efficient dual clutch gearbox. It is roomy, very comfortable with a high quality interior and a very tactile steering wheel. It is distinctive to look at with it‘s F1 style front blade, especially in liquid yellow, and cries out for the black gloss alloy option.

The truly good news is that if your maximum spend only extends to £20k this tremendous car remains within budget. A total winner from Renault.

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Captur Captured

If manufacturers are going to keep naming cars in this manner then they have got to expect headlines like that. No doubt there will be more variations on the theme. In this case the car in question is the new Renault Captur, which will go into production this year having featured as a concept a couple of years ago.

That’s it in the photo and very good it looks too. There’s clearly no need to describe it here as you can see for yourself that it follows the design theme started by the new Renault Clio that will no doubt be the new face of Renault autos.

It is a small crossover designed to offer the expressive styling and driving position of an SUV whilst simultaneously offering the passengers the space and modular interior of an MPV. If that isn’t enough Renault also believe this car will deliver the agility and driving pleasure associated with a hatchback. So, all things to all men, then; and why not?

In keeping with current trends the Captur is based on the same platform as the Clio and the Nissan Juke. It’s bigger than the former and slightly shorter than the latter. An interesting addition that is sure to be popular is the exterior paint, offered in funky two-tone as standard. Equipment levels are good with parking sensors, hill start assist and keyless entry also standard on all versions. The wheels arches flare out to accommodate a set of butch wide wheels. The overall look gives a lot of kerb appeal.

Also available on option is Renault’s R-Link system which adds a touch screen media tablet that controls the stereo, Bluetooth and all the infotainment functions. The engines are as offered on the Clio including one diesel that will cough up a tax-beating 96g/km.

Like other manufacturers, Renault seem to be listening to consumers and our need for smaller, frugal cars that are still an attractive prospect to own. We want all the benefits yet require dynamic cars that offer good road holding and handling characteristics and this car looks to fit the bill. It is going to be built in Spain and will reveal all at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It will be interesting to see if the reality matches the hype.

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