What is it?
For now, this 129bhp Clio RS Line is the sportiest version of Renault’s all new, fifth-generation supermini. A properly souped-up, Fiesta ST-rivalling Renault Sport version will probably come along at some point, though of course Renault’s people would neither confirm nor deny whether such a car is currently in the pipeline.
Anyway, beneath this new Clio’s svelte, mildly sporting exterior sits an all new platform, and a 1.3-litre four-pot motor. The former is Renault Alliance’s latest CMF-B architecture (the Clio is the first Renault to make use of it), while the latter is the same turbocharged power plant as can be found in the likes of the Captur, Megane and Scenic.
Along with its 129bhp, it develops a hearty 177lb ft at a lowly 1600rpm, all of which is directed to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. While there’s no manual option for this particular engine, the Clio RS Line is also available with a smaller 99bhp 1.0-litre triple, which can be had with a five-speed stick-shift or a CVT.
As for suspension, the RS Line runs the same configuration as lower-order Clios, which is to say it’s got MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear. So while it might be sporting in appearance, and while it might have a £20,295 list price, it’s not really a bonafide competitor for the likes of the Suzuki Swift Sport or very basic versions of the Fiesta ST.