From £10,8556
A healthy dose of Renaultsport handling magic can’t overcome the Renault Clio GT-Line 120's mismatched drivetrain and high price

Our Verdict

Renault Clio

A multi-talented contender that can stand comparison with the best

What is it?

The Renault Clio GT-Line 120 aims to bridge the gap between workaday models and the hot Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo.

Also developed by and marketed under the Renaultsport sub-brand, the GT-Line borrows big brother’s six-speed dual-clutch transmission and much of its aesthetic attitude, but promises significantly lower running costs thanks to its 1.2-litre TCe four-pot – Renault’s first turbocharged petrol engine with direct injection.

At £17,395, it costs £1600 less than the RS 200, but £1300 more than the next-cheapest Clio.

Exterior embellishments include a GT-spec nose (with LEDs) and rear spoiler, twin tailpipes and 17in alloys in an anthracite shade echoed by the rear diffuser, door mirrors and sill inserts.

Inside, further anthracite touches replace red RS accents, while aluminium pedals and a leather steering wheel with fixed paddles copy the RS 200.

The sports seats – firm but comfortable and enveloping – are borrowed, too, albeit they use different cloth. The driving position is roundly adjustable, but some clacking switchgear and dash vibration marred our cabin. A 7-inch media interface includes sat-nav and Bluetooth as standard.

On the dash, as on the tailgate, you’ll find a Renaultsport badge. This might seem curious given the GT-Line’s meagre power (118bhp) and torque (140lb ft) outputs and Dieppe’s reputation for performance. Renault clearly wants to trade on the sub-brand’s image, but can it also satisfy RS diehards with some fleet-footed nippiness?

What's it like?

Well, because the GT-Line employs the RS 200’s EDC ’box (presumably to apply the same F1-related spin) rather than a lighter manual transmission, it weighs only 18kg less, despite a notable 79bhp power deficit.

This pitches its power-to-weight ratio at 99bhp per tonne – much closer to the 0.9-litre three-pot TCe’s 88bhp per tonne than the RS 200’s 164bhp per tonne.

The result is a lack of pace that haunts the Renault throughout its entire rev range. Following a lazy getaway, the turbo starts to take effect around 2500rpm, but progress remains undramatic up to the 6500rpm redline.

With so little puff, you need to manage the engine closely, but the oft-nannying gearbox doesn’t react quickly enough, even when using the positive-feeling paddles in ‘quicker’ sport mode, and especially during downshifts.

The engine is impressivley smooth, and near-silent when cruising; but it strains with revs and the turbo whistles like chatting Clangers in traffic. Despite rear drums, the brakes are sharp and effective.

The steering – weightier in sport mode – is settled on the motorway but not quite direct enough around the centre on B-roads, and is short on feel. But the chassis set-up – using 40 per cent stiffer dampers than lesser Clios and specific bump stops – is classic Renaultsport: firm, but composed and flowing on our battered lanes, yet comfortable on the motorway and in town.

Backed by line-trimming brake trickery, the GT-Line does offer some fun on the bends, then, but gaining and preserving momentum is problematic with an engine and gearbox combination that might sit better in an out-and-out city car.

Should I buy one?

Renault has named the Mini Cooper and Citroën DS3 as rivals, but similarly powerful examples of those cars are cheaper, quicker and almost as frugal as the GT-Line 120, while common-or-garden Ford Fiestas are as dynamically engaging.

Renault Clio GT-Line 120 EDC

Price £17,395; 0-62mph 9.9sec; Top speed 121mph; Economy 54.3mpg; CO2 120g/km; Kerb weight 1186kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1197cc, turbo, petrol; Power 118bhp at 4900rpm; Torque 140lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch auto

Join the debate

Comments
13

20 June 2013

This sounds crap and pointless. If you want a hot hatch the RS200 is only £1,600 more. If you dont want a hot hatch there is plenty available thats much cheaper and probably better built than this.

20 June 2013

The balance of performance and economy is impressive, but this car is wearing the wrong badge and priced way too high. Begs the question of how well Renault researched the market.

20 June 2013

Oh dear the Ford 3 cylinder 1.0 outpowers 1.2 Renault engine and I don't think Renault have any other turbo Petrol engines like VW, Ford,  Vauxhall, Mini, peuguot etc in the 1.4-1.8 range. 

Better get building Renualt  !

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

20 June 2013

At this price, and position within the Clio lineup, it needs about 160 BHP, and a manual box (at least the option of a manual to keep the cost down and the driving pleasure up). 

As i see more Clios about, i quite like them, although again the dark rear glass does it no favours, especially as its trying to hide the fact its got too many doors.

 

20 June 2013

Have they tried to make the Clio like the Golf here?

20 June 2013

Oh dear ... Sounds like Renault made a project 'faux-pas' here ... As other commentators have said, the GT is priced TOO close to the Renaultsport 200 to make it viable (given its distinct BHP disadvantage) and would have been better as a cheaper MANUAL version to give drivers the ability to maximise the torque band and minimise the turbo whistle ... Better luck next time, Renault ...

20 June 2013

When this was announced I count really understand the point of it and I still don't, expect it not be in the price guides come the New Year. 

Interestingly both this and the 200 are going to be the only petrol autos in the Clio range, the lesser spec auto models will be dCi only and also only available in the Dynamique and Dynamique S models, doing this will alienate the older market; Mabel and Ethal won't want a diesel auto and also won't want a car that's too flashy and complicated. 

23 June 2013

humphrey the pug wrote:

When this was announced I count really understand the point of it and I still don't, expect it not be in the price guides come the New Year. 

Interestingly both this and the 200 are going to be the only petrol autos in the Clio range, the lesser spec auto models will be dCi only and also only available in the Dynamique and Dynamique S models, doing this will alienate the older market; Mabel and Ethal won't want a diesel auto and also won't want a car that's too flashy and complicated. 

This car is aimed squarely at the fleet market, a low emision (compared to RS) high spec car to fit in the lower tax rankings. That is why it exists. I am not sure Mabel and Ethal [sic] will be core customers for the Clio. In any case they have a Micra for that. 

20 June 2013

I owned a 2010 Clio 1.6 GT. It was faster than this one, better looking, had a decent manual gearbox, was more engaging by the sounds of this review, and SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper.

Renault has got this very wrong. The new 1.0 Ecoboost Zetec S is better than the Clio in every objective and subjective way measurable.

I hope Renault does what VW has done with the Golf R cabriolet and slashes the price. Either that or give it enough power to at least outrun a donkey from a set of lights!

20 June 2013

 With no suitable petrol motor perhaps they should have dropped the new 1.6 diesel engine in. It’s worked for others.

http://www.renault.com/en/innovation/gamme-mecanique/pages/energy-dci-130.aspx 

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