The return of the hot hatches post the depression is a welcome treat. The notion of bigger is always better theory is thrashed down to the pavement by these zippy and extremely grippy vehicles. You are guaranteed to have a grin on while driving these cars and none more so than the 2012 Renault Clio RS.
2012 Renault Clio RS Review | Sport Hot Hatch
Time sure does fly and we are already at the end of the third generation of the Renault Clio RS. The 2.0-litre naturally aspirated inline 4 produces 200hp and is mated to an incredible 6 speed manual transmission. The misconception of short gearing, hard clutches and lack of general amenities shies many buyers away from this segment. The Renault Clio RS could not be further than the truth now. The gearing is great for city and highway driving, the seats are Recaro buckets but provide great comfort despite the way it looks and you get an aux and a USB port to play endless music while enjoying this cracker of a car.
The small size and an eager power plant make it great for Dubai’s urban jungle; however the grin factor rises past the 3000rpm mark. To our surprise the 6th gear is pretty versatile. It’s designed to keep the rpm low at cruising speeds but one would expect that when the accelerator is pressed the pull would be, in the lack of a better word, pretty non-existent. Wrong!! We did not need to shift down any gears to overtake cars; the secret is that the ratios keep the car in a sweet spot always. A slight press on the accelerator pedal tips the scale onto its power band and ready for action.
The interior is trademark Renault. It’s quite spartan but extremely functional. The steering is meaty and manual gear shifter is weighted right. The throw is not what I would call short but is definitely not borderline long.
The “RS” stands for Renault Sport and Renault has achieved a visceral sport look. They seem to have taken ques from its F1 Racing Development and have integrated bumper canards, reminiscent to their F1 front wings, to aid in ground force in higher speeds. The Renault Clio RS is a front wheel drive car and we would say that the canards have really helped as we felt no flightiness of the steering wheel at hard acceleration or in fast directional changes. The added breadth of the car and the lower stance than the regular Clio helps in handling and points towards its immense grip on the road.
The Clio RS wants to be pushed. It beckons and literally pushes one to drive it faster. It gives a feeling of oneness with the car. One feels truly alive in this engaging sport which sadly a lot of other car manufacturers have deprived us of. The ride is firm for those engaged drives and comfortable enough to cruise endlessly.
As a daily vehicle there are certain limitations. The rear seats are probably for those with really small legs or really tiny tots! The trunk is decent but there is an exposed full spare wheel. To make any use of it we needed to have the wheel out. For a family of two or for those whose main wish is for a pure unadulterated driving experience this car is it.
The Renault Clio RS is a surgeons scalpel with a rough handle. It brings back fun in driving for a change and you won’y need to break your savings to access it. At AED 91k the Renault Clio RS is cheaper than the base Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ. But the 2013 Clio RS also marks the end of the manual tranny, which is sad for the purists in us. Get it while stocks last.
|2012 Renault Clio RS|
|Displacement||2.0L VVT inline 4|
|Rated Output||200 hp @ 7100 rpm|
|Rated Torque||215 Nm @ 5400 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||6 speed manual|
|Brakes||F:312/28 mm Brembo 4 piston calipers|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||7.3s|
|Overall Length||4017 mm|
** The 2012 Renault Clio RS comes with 3 years, 100k kms warranty
Images by Brian Donegan :