Car Review: Renault Clio RS

Driver enthusiasts, this one’s for you!

Driver enthusiasts, this one’s for you! The facelifted, fourth-generation Renault Clio RS is now in South Africa. With this little hot hatch, Renault hope to bridge the gap between Renault and Formula 1. You can get excited about the new RS Lux and RS Trophy, both of which are now available in SA.

Thanks to the Sandero and Kwid, Renault is up 11% in the passenger car segment. Hopefully, the Clio RS will help this share grow even further. I won’t be one to buy the Clio RS, not because it isn’t great, but because I have quickly come to realise that with age, comes different priorities and responsibilities (how sad is that?!).


Anyway, enough about me, back to the car. The front of the new Clio RS is broader due to a revised bumper and sports new signature C-shaped Pure Vision LED lights. The main RS characteristics include RS badging, gloss black mirrors, new RS alloy wheels (17-inch on Lux and 18-inch on Trophy), rear spoiler, and a bold functional RS diffuser with dual exhaust – which gives the RS an improved sound. The Trophy gets an Akrapovič exhaust for a more throaty sound.

Renault Clio RS

The sport buckets seats with extra side support are comfortable (and you need it with the firm suspension) and the prominent red stitching extends to the gear lever, handbrake and steering wheel. If you’re in the Trophy model you can enjoy leather and heated front seats.

Two engines and two chassis are available. The RS Sport chassis on the Lux is firm but not kidney-breaking, however, the Trophy chassis may leave you with a few displaced internal organs and in desperate need of a sports bra. It’s for your real driver enthusiast and it was at this moment I realised that I am no longer young and care-free. I need softer landing!

Three driver modes, namely Normal, Sport and Race, might help a smidgen (if you stick with Normal), but what is the point in driving this fun guy in ‘Normal’ mode I ask? These driver modes modify the mapping of the transmission, throttle sensitivity and behaviour of the esp.

The 1,6-litre turbocharged engine on the Lux delivers 145 kW of power and 260 N.m of torque, the Trophy model knocks this up to 162 kW and 280 N.m.  The new RS features a first in the segment, namely Multi Change Down, which enables you to change down several gears in quick succession to save you time under braking. You also have launch control which should give you that true drag experience. For even more fun, the RS monitor let’s you track your performance. Data collected via sensors gives you performance feedback. It can get quite addictive.

Juliet driving the Renault Clio RS

Tech you can expect on the new Clio RS:
  • Onboard navigation on offer via the 7″ touchscreen, with a range of other one touch functionalities – Multimedia, radio and telephone systems with Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Cruise Control-speed limiter, whereby a set cruising or maximum speed can be selected, with steering wheel mounted controls to allow for speed adjustment.
  • Rain sensors and Light Sensors, enabling the headlights when the sensors detect a certain level of darkness.
  • A Hands-free Card Key for remote entry, and in support of the easy Stop/ Start functionality.

Renault Clio RS

Like I mentioned, I am not one to be in the market for a hot hatch (and neither, I might add, was my driving partner of the same age…who happens to be a former racing driver #JustSaying), but for the driver enthusiasts out there, the Clio RS will remain a popular choice. It’s practical enough for everyday use and certainly fun enough! Look, I wouldn’t say not to owning this car for fun weekend drives on the track!

So how much will this bundle of fun cost you?

Both models come standard with a five-year or 150 000 km warranty and a three-year or 30 000km service plan (with intervals of 10 000 km). The only optional extras come in the form of paint choices: metallic will cost you an extra R2 500 while Sirius Yellow or Frost Pearl White come in at R10 000 apiece

Renault Clio RS Pricing

Renault Clio RS 200 EDC Lux: R379 900
Renault Clio RS 220 EDC Trophy: R419 900