Looking at the hot hatch segment, the big boys have dominated it for some time until now. The rise of super hatches such as the Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy has also impacted the smaller segment when compared to the Fiesta ST and the VW Polo GTI.
On paper, the Renault Clio RS is ahead in terms of performance but no-one should really be surprised as the French automaker has been one of the leaders in developing and manufacturing hot hatches. Just think of the impressive Clio 3 RS and the mid-engined Renault Clio V6.
The fourth-generation Renault Clio RS Trophy is available in South Africa and a welcome addition sporting more power, torque, and a few extras. While some may not agree, it is basically the grown-up version with four doors, an automatic gearbox, and considerably more boot space. But what about performance and features?
Renault Clio RS Trophy Performance
The Renault Clio RS Trophy is a tweaked version of the standard RS with 15 kW more, while engaging ‘overboost’ provides additional torque (40 N.m.), totaling 162 kW and 260 N.m. While they may have used the same Renault-Nissan Alliance motor as the Nissan Juke, a 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, it has obviously been enhanced. Even though fuel economy shouldn’t be a deciding factor in terms of performance cars, it is pretty impressive at 7.6l/100km.
Some of the advanced performance can be attributed to the Akrapovič exhaust system with its unique carbon-fiber tips. With launch control activated, the Renault Clio RS Trophy reaches 100 km/h in a reported 6.6 seconds with a top speed of 235 km/h. Torque steer is synonymous with hot hatches but not the Trophy which is incredible if you think about how much power is going to the front tyres.
The Renault Clio RS Trophy has lower ground clearance, 20 mm at the front and 10 mm at the rear. It shows off new 18-inch wheels with specialised high-grip Michelin Pilot Super Sports tyres. As a result, the Trophy seems more glued to the road which makes cornering and handling an absolute pleasure. With bigger front brake discs (from 312 mm to 320 mm), Renault claims there is reduced brake-pedal travel. Another noticeable upgrade is the triple fog lamp system that integrates cornering and longer-range lighting.
Interior, Exterior and Safety Features
Interior design forms part of the Trophy with high-quality materials on the dashboard and subtle trimmings and finishes. Seats are comfortable with a heating functionality while red stitching and red seat belts are indicative of driving a performance vehicle. There is also sufficient head and leg room for four adults plus more generous boot space.
A class-leading RS Monitor II infotainment system stands out in the centre featuring R-link complete with TomTom satellite navigation. Besides informing you of accidents and traffic jams on your route, the system also alerts drivers of fixed speed camera locations. It is one of the most informative and interesting of its kind and very similar to the Nissan GT-R, largely thanks to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
The RS Monitor II infotainment system displays the vital statistics such as engine temperature, transmission oil, lap timer, wheel slippage, power, and torque graph, boost gauge and brake-pedal pressure along with a G-meter reading. Drivers can download all of the data and then analyse it on their own computers.
Other specifications that add value to the Clio RS are cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and a long list of safety features. It includes ABS, EBD and emergency brake assist (EBA), a new generation ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation) active traction control, HSA (Hill Start Assist) and four airbags.
The final verdict is a hot hatch that is quick and nimble offering impressive performance, superior stability, and body roll resistance. If you want a performance car from a brand that knows how to make exceptional front-wheel-drive hot hatches, the Renault Clio RS Trophy is tailor-made for you.
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