You’ll warm to Renault Clio GT-Line’s fun factor
06:49 28 August 2014
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.
Renault Clio GT-Line photo gallery
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
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.