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Car Review: New Renault Clio R.S. 18 F1

Not just for motorsport enthusiasts…

Everyone’s favourite Renault model is back and this time, an exclusive new Clio R.S. boasts new race technology and performance from an F1-inspired engine! Not only did we spend the day putting it to the test on the track, we also got to experience it out on the roads to find out if it’s still as well suited to every day driving environments.

With over 13 million sales since it launched globally in 1990, the Clio is Renault’s most iconic model. Locally, having gained popularity on South Africa’s roads with over 25,800 units sold since 2000, the Clio now appeals to an even wider market for those looking for something sportier in the range.

What’s new about the new Renault Clio R.S.

On the outside, the new Renault Clio’s heightened character comes from a sculpted, curvy, design that surrounds a new re-proportioned grille and iconic C-shaped signature lighting. Sporty highlights on the range-topping R.S. model include the same iconic colour scheme as the Renault Sport F1 Team car: a Deep Black cloak and accented Liquid Yellow to show off its true spirit of performance. Renault Sport decals have also been added to the door panels and roof. We love the blacked out badging and rear diffuser contrasted by the yellow details on the side strips, front blade and wheel caps, showing that the Clio R.S. 18 means serious business.

On this inside, its sporty spirit and styling continues along with the new Clio range’s innovative technology that includes:

  • Onboard navigation on offer via the 7” touchscreen, with a range of other easy-to-use one touch functionalities – Multimedia, radio and telephone systems with Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Cruise Control-speed limiter, whereby regulated cruising or maximum speed can be selected, with steering wheel mounted controls to allow for speed adjustment.
  • Rain sensors, automatically regulating the frequency of your windscreen wipers according to how heavily it is raining, and light sensors, enabling the headlights when the sensors detect a certain level of darkness.
  • The Renault Hands-free Card Key for convenient remote entry, and in support of the easy Stop/ Start functionality.

So what’s it like to drive?

The Clio R.S. is as fun to drive as it looks! The Clio R.S. 18 is powered by a 1.6-litre Turbo-charged engine that offers 162 kW of power and 280 N.m of torque. It displays the ultimate in Renault Sport tech with a range of track orientated features that demonstrate the prowess of the direct F1 technology transfer to this exclusive model.

At launch we started the day off on the Zwartkops race track, and as you’d imagine, we were all super excited to see how the Clio R.S. handles at fast speeds and around corners. It didn’t disappoint! It’s packed with racing power, and what I really appreciated is that despite it being so performance-focused, it’s easy to handle and actually makes driving on track seem like a walk in the park, if you’re someone who’s usually intimidated by it. This means that it doesn’t take long to feel comfortable behind the wheel at high speeds and maneuvering around sharp corners, and soon you’re enjoying pushing things a bit and having the kind of fun the Clio R.S. was built for.

So with all the fun and excitement on the track, I’m always eager to see what a car like this is like on the road and in every day driving situations. Fortunately, we were able to venture out of the raceway and onto Pretoria’s busy roads to see for ourselves. Once we’d calmed down from our adrenaline-high after the track, the highway was a nice place to be in the new Clio R.S.

Sometimes, road-going performance cars can feel a tad obnoxious on regular roads, but the Clio R.S. does a good job at maintaining its sporty performance and presence without feeling too over-the-top. That said, if you want to show off, you certainly can! Overtaking slow-moving vehicles (especially in Sport Mode) in the Clio R.S. is achievable in the blink of an eye, and it sounds great too! It’s easy to handle and responds well to the driver’s demands.

In the driver’s seat is a comfortable place to be: I love the support offered by the Clio R.S.’s sport seats, the functionality of its steering wheel and the feeling of roominess despite it being a small car.

Overall, I really enjoy what the new Clio R.S. has to offer and I think it’s going to appeal to wide variety of drivers looking for a functional, practical and uber-sporty model.

Pricing and details

WARRANTY + SERVICE PLAN

As with Renault’s entire range, the Clio models come standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. The Clio range also offers a standard 3-year/45 000km service plan with the R.S. being 3-year/ 30 000km. Service intervals are set at 15 000km, with R.S. models at 10 000km.

RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICING

CLIO Range-

  • New Clio 66kW Turbo Authentique 5dr  R211 900
  • New Clio 66kW Turbo Expression 5dr R229 900
  • New Clio 66kW Turbo Dynamique 5dr R246 900
  • New Clio 88kW Turbo EDC Expression 5dr R269 900
  • New Clio 88kW Turbo GT-Line 5dr R269 900
  • New Clio R.S. 18 F1 (Incl. Metallic Paint) R449 900

OPTIONS

  • 7” Touchscreen Navigation (MediaNAV) & leather steering wheel:  Authentique  – R10 000
  • Fixed glass roof: Dynamique – R 8 000
  • Metallic paint:  Range – R 2 500

Source: Renault South Africa

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