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You’ll warm to Renault Clio GT-Line’s fun factor

PUBLISHED: 06:49 28 August 2014

Renault Clio 1.2 TCe 120 GT-Line is a warm hatch based on the hot Renaultsport version.

Renault Clio 1.2 TCe 120 GT-Line is a warm hatch based on the hot Renaultsport version.

Renault

Not got the readies for the full-on Renaultsport Clio experience? Don’t worry, Renault’s made a ‘warm’ hatch to cater for those with less cash but no less enthusiasm, says Iain Dooley, of the Press Association.

What’s new?

This current Clio range was launched to much fanfare, with Renault making bold claims about the car’s frugal fuel economy and low-emissions performance. Quality was also greatly improved, while safety and general kit levels shamed many close rivals.

But there’s another side to the Clio – performance. In hot Renaultsport guise the car delivers bige thrills and is a match for more potent, focused sports cars. If 200hp and a price tag to match is too much, there’s the Clio 1.2 TCe 120 GT-Line, a 120hp warm hatch with the Renaultsport car’s semi automatic gearbox, sporty suspension settings but not a racing specification price.

Renault Clio 1.2 TCe 120 GT-Line

Price: £17,395

Engine: 1.2-litre, 120bhp, four-cylinder turbo petrol

Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch semi automatic gearbox, driving the front wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 9.9 seconds; top speed 124mph

MPG: 54.3 combined

CO2 emissions: 120g/km

Looks and image

Renault has generated a considerable level of goodwill and popularity around its hot Renaultsport brand, but can be too hardcore for some. The softer approach with the GT-Line branding should appeal to buyers seeking decent performance but without the boy-racer baggage.

In this Clio’s favour is a toned-down version of the Renaultsport 200’s bodykit and styling approach, although you do get the faster car’s supportive sports seats as a visual and practical reminder of the GT-Line car’s lineage. It also gets the faster car’s paddle-shift gearbox – a plus if you’re keen to align yourself with the Clio family’s sporty end.

Space and practicality

The basic five-door bodystyle is unchanged so there’s good cabin space for four adults, a practical boot and ample cabin storage. And in anticipation of going around corners that little bit quicker, driver and front seat passenger gain a pair of supportive sports seats straight out of the Renaultsport model.

Behind the wheel

Don’t expect miracles from the 120hp 1.2-litre petrol motor despite its turbocharger. It’s a brisk experience at best, but on today’s crowded road its strangely more satisfying to push this warm hatch harder than you can with something much more powerful.

The GT-Line’s firm, but measured, suspension and accurate steering ensure B-roads blasts are more fun than they really should be given the car’s modest power, while the standard semi-auto gearbox with paddle-shifters adds a welcome fun element.

Value for money

There are cheaper and more powerful ‘warm’ performance hatches out there, but there’s also usually a compromise or two to contend with.

The Clio GT-Line comes from good racing stock – it shows in the way it drives. If you value the experience behind the wheel higher than a cabin full of whizz-bang gadgets, the Clio’s down-to-earth approach to brisk motoring will surely be the deal-breaker.

Who would buy one?

Anyone seeking to save money on their insurance premium would do well to consider this warm hatch instead of more powerful alternatives – especially if it’s your first foray into the world of sporty hatchbacks.

Also, not everyone is a fan of a super-stiff ride and raucous engine noise, so if you want a solid, fun all-rounder capable of spirited performance when it suits you, this particular Clio strikes a good balance between pace and refinement.

This car summed up in a single word – willing.

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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