RENAULT CLIO GT: WELL PRICED AND GREAT FUN

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Renault Clio GT sits below the hot-hatch Clio RS in price and performance, but is no slow coach. It’s an important component in the ever increasing range of high-performance machines from the French giant that has a long history in motorsport.

With a starting price of just $25,290 (plus on-roads) the Clio GT significantly undercuts the Clio RS hot-hatch which starts at $29,290. A further cost saver is Renault’s capped price servicing of $299 per calendar year for the first three years.

STYLING
These days more and more hot-hatch buyers are demanding the practicality of four passenger doors instead of two. The designers have aimed to give the shape coupe characteristics by using hidden rear-door handles. We will let you decide on the success or otherwise of this ploy.

Renault_Clio_GT_frontThe new Clio comes in two specification levels – GT and GT Premium – both powered by the same 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine.

A long list of options can be added to the GT, while the GT Premium is already well specced with such things as 17-inch anthracite alloy wheels, rear lip spoiler, side sills, rear diffuser, front and rear bumpers including GT bumper, steering column mounted gearshift paddles, GT badging for sports seats, leather steering wheel, RenaultSport kickplates and hands-free keycard.

STYLING
Sitting lower to the ground than the standard Clio, the GT looks to the hot RS for its appearance. Prominent are pronounced shoulder lines above the front and rear wheel arches, a steeply raked windscreen and high-set side windows.

The Renault diamond dominates the front and is cut into the radiator grille, the front bumper incorporates wide-set LED lights, there’s a sporty rear bumper, chrome twin exhaust tailpipes, and body-coloured side protective mouldings with satin grey inserts. The satin grey is also carried into the door mirror housings, privacy rear windows.

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Exclusive GT badging is very visible on both the front and rear of the vehicle.

Sporty styling goes indoors with bolstered sport seats, upholstered in an exclusive GT finish with GT embroidery on the head rests.

The upper part of the soft-touch dashboard features a speckled grey finish. The leather-trimmed sports steering wheel carries GT badging and dark metal gear shift paddles are in a fixed position behind the steering wheel.

Storage includes a 1.2-litre tray above the glove box, two cup holders and additional storage for small items between the front seats, while each door has a bin that can carry a 1.5-litre bottle.

INFOTAINMENT
Renault Clio GT features the MediaNav system with a seven-inch touchscreen that provides basic multimedia functions. Standard on the Clio GT Premium (and optional on the GT) is Renault’s R-Link system, again with the seven-inch screen; it has voice commands and a home page that can be personalised by the user to minimise driver distraction.

A menu with six icons provides access to navigation, multimedia, phone, vehicle, services and apps. A quirky app, the R-Sound Effect, enables occupants to choose from a series of engine sounds: including a RenaultSport racing car, and a Renault V6 engine, a Tardis-like tone of the future with the engine’s speed and are played through the vehicle’s speakers.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Clio GT is powered by the Renault TCe 120 horsepower 1.2-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol engine running through a six-speed double-clutch Getrag automatic transmission.

With a maximum 190 Nm of torque, zero to 100 km/h is achieved in 9.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 199 km/h. The Clio GT puts out a class-low 120 grams/km of carbon dioxide.

SAFETY
Renault was the first car maker ever to receive a European five-star crash safety rating and Clio continues this excellent tradition. A reinforced body and suspension, plus driver and passenger chest and head airbags, seatbelts with load limiters and, for those in the front, pretensioners protect occupants in a crash. Headrests have an anti-whiplash design and front and rear seats are shaped to reduce ‘submarining’ under the belts in a crash.

Every version of new Clio is equipped with electronic stability control, traction control, ABS anti-locking brakes with emergency brake assist. Standard hill start assist helps when taking off on steep inclines if you’re not into left-foot braking.

DRIVING
Occupants will find the high quality materials putting them in mind of a more expensive, premium vehicle. Front seats have good space and semi-sporting design, some wider folk may find the backrest too narrow.

The rears are probably best left to children but if the tall folks in front are willing to give up a little of their legroom then grownups can get fairly comfortable in back as well.

Fire up the motor and you will find it’s quiet and responsive in traffic, but sounds much more interesting when you get stuck into the pedal on the right.

The automated manual has some lag in downshifts, something which could be rectified by offering a ‘proper’ manual gearbox. Hint, hint, Mr importer…

With a suspension tuned on the sporty side, the Clio GT’s ride can be choppy on uneven country road surfaces. Most will love it, but if you value comfort ahead of sportiness perhaps you should go for another model in the range.

The French have long been past masters at chassis design and it comes as no surprise that twists and turns present few problems to the advanced chassis design. If you enjoy driving you will love the cheeky little Renault Clio.

Competent braking and wiper systems took any potential stress out of driving during the wet weather that greeted us at home on the Gold Coast on the week we had the hot-ish little Renault GT on test.

Fuel consumption is in the five to seven litres per hundred kilometres range in easy driving, rising to nine to ten litres if you screw the hot little engine to get the best in driving pleasure from it.

SUMMING UP
Renault Clio GT fetches French fun and flair with minimum damage to finances – fantastique!

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
GT 1.2-litre turbo-petrol five-door hatch: $25,290 (automatic)
GT Premium 1.2-litre turbo-petrol five-door hatch: $28,790 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Renault dealer for driveaway prices.

FEATURES
ABS Brakes: Standard in both models
Automatic Transmission: Standard in both models
Cruise Control: Standard in both models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in both models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in both models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in both models
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard in both models
Reversing Camera: Optional in GT, standard in GT Premium
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard in both models
Bluetooth: Standard in both models

SPECIFICATIONS (Renault Clio GT 1.2-litre turbo-petrol five-door hatch)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.197 litres
Configuration: Transverse, four cylinders in line
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.1:1
Bore/Stroke: 72.0 mm x 73.1 mm
Maximum Power: 88 kW @ 4900 rpm
Maximum Torque: 190 Nm @ 2000 rpm

DRIVELINE:
Driven Wheels: Front
Manual Transmission: Five-speed
Automatic Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive Ratio: Not supplied

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4063 mm
Wheelbase: 2589 mm
Width: 1732 mm
Height: 1448 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1120 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
Towing Ability: 580 kg (900 kg with braked trailer)
Boot Capacity: 300 litres (1146 litres with rear seats folded)

SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: MacPherson struts
Rear Suspension: Torsion beam
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Drum

FUEL CONSUMPTION:
Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.2 L/100km

GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: 8.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 7.5/10

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years/unlimited km

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