Renault Clio R.S 200 TURBO EDC (2013 - 2018) used car review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Breakdown cover from just £7.95 a month*. Plus up to £150 of driving savings!

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

By Jonathan Crouch


Back in 2013, the Renaultsport take on this Gallic brand's fourth generation Clio was a very different hot hatch to anything we'd seen from them before. A smaller but very powerful turbocharged engine. Twin clutch automatic transmission. Launch control. Rally-styling damping. Race-style telemetry. Nothing was held back. For its era, it all makes this a thoroughly modern shopping rocket. But one you'd want to own? That's what we're here to find out.


5-door hatchback 1.6 [petrol]


Renault and motorsport have long been inseparable. A look back through history reveals how names like Alpine and Gordini have transformed the French brand's family models into track stars and rally replicas. Cars like the Renault 5 Gordini of 1976, the market's very first hot hatch and originator of a GTi market segment that in 2013 brought us a car as frantically fast and clever as this one, the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo.

That last word is important. By 2013, it had been a long time since Renault had turned to turbocharging in its sportiest cars. Some hot hatch enthusiasts' earliest driving - and perhaps racing - memories may centre around the French brand's iconic 5 GT Turbo, a car which revitalised the small shopping rocket sector from its launch back in 1985 and continued to do so until the company switched to normally aspirated multivalve power in a succession of fast Clio models dating from the early Nineties. Following the turn of the century, these were all famously fettled by Renaultsport, a Dieppe division of this Gallic brand whose very name quickly became a byword for excellence in the hot hatch segment.

This car though, was its biggest challenge yet. By 2013, hot hatch fans were expecting their cars to be leaner, more efficient and cleverer. The PlayStation generation simply didn't understand why the turbocharged engines and paddleshift transmissions they saw commonly used in every form of motorsport weren't routinely fitted to the affordable performance cars they wanted to drive. Properly satisfying this new class of customer meant ditching manual transmission, adding electronic driving aids and pensioning off the thirsty old 2.0-litre normally aspirated powerplant that'd thrilled Clio Renaultsport buyers since the turn of the century.

In making all these changes, Renault risked alienating previous faithful Renaultsport Clio folk - and in many cases did. The expected pay-off though (which never really materialised) seemed potentially to lie in pleasing many more with the completely fresh approach taken by this car. For the 2013 model year, the hottest Clio you could buy was no longer state of the ark but state of the art with its 6-speed twin clutch automatic gearbox and smaller but equally powerful 1.6-litre turbo engine. In short, it had become a properly modern hot hatch. Plusher 'Lux Nav' trim arrived in 2015. And a rare track-focused Renaultsport 'Trophy' version of this car arrived in 2016, selling to the end of the production in 2018, which Renault finished off with a more road-orientated 'Special Edition' version of the standard Renaultsport Clio 200 EDC model. This RS Clio disappeared from the price lists in late-2018.

What You Get

A Renaultsport Clio must look the part: this one does, all dramatic curves and muscular pumped-up wheel arches, creating a nicely hunkered down look that builds on the visual eye candy of stylist Laurens van den Acker's fourth generation Clio body shape. True, buyers are limited to the practicality of five doors, but that has less aesthetic impact here thanks to a coupe profile that conceals the rear door handles in the C-pillars.

The front end design adds Renaultsport badging beneath the prominent diamond emblem, while LED daytime running lamps set into the lower part of the bumper offer up an individual lighting signature. Performance hallmarks include a deeper front bumper with Renaultsport's familiar F1-style blade. At the back, form and function blend seamlessly, the diffuser with its rectangular exhausts and the prominent rear lip spoiler for example, designed to work together just as they would in a single-seater race car to ensure the best possible aerodynamic performance.

Inside, the driving position's high and purposeful. Not high and purposeful enough, it must be said, to offer decent over-the-shoulder vision through the restricted rear window (hence the desirability of the rear parking camera option) but front three quarter vision is fine and you're nicely positioned in front of a smartly designed dashboard that neatly combines both digital and analogue dials. You view it through a chunky three-spoke leather-trimmed wheel with its red-stitched straight-ahead top marker - a real driver's touch. Behind the wheel rim you'll find mounted the same anthracite gearshift paddles you'll find in a Nissan GT-R. Select the GT-R engine sound track from the R-Link multimedia system 'R-SOUND EFFECT' app and you could almost believe you were in Japan's premier supercar. Almost.

The R-Link system's 7-inch colour touchscreen dominates the centre of the dash, trimmed around with a black gloss finish that's there to contrast with the liberal splashes of red supposed to lift the intentionally dark cabin. Some of it looks quite nice - the instrument needles, the red steering wheel stitching, the door panel beading and so on. And some of it's less successful - the finish around the disappointingly cheap-feeling auto gearstick for example. You've got to love the red seatbelts though, which as any fool knows, have got to be worth at least a second a lap. Overall, we'd say that while there are better quality-feeling cabins in this class from this era, there are few more interesting ones.

On the back seat there's more space than that coupe-style profile leads you to expect - easily a match for (and arguably better than) frumpier-looking five-door rivals from the period like Volkswagen's Polo GTI or Skoda's Fabia vRS. Two adults will be fine on all but long-ish trips and three children quite happy over most likely journeys.

There's decent room for their possessions too. Get over the rather high loading lip and you'll find a boot that at 300-litres, is one of the very largest in the class and about 15-20-litres bigger than most of the obvious competition. Push forward the 60/40 split-folding backrest and you can extend it to as much as 1,146-litres, which again is far more space than most rivals can offer.

What You Pay

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What to Look For

Obviously with a hot hatch like this, you want to try and steer clear of examples that have been thrashed on a track or led an unduly harsh life. This post-2013 era Renaultsport Clio 200 EDC is less likely to have been used on the track than its predecessors, so that should be less of a problem. As usual, inspect the alloy rims for scratches and insist on a full service history. Check the bodywork for scratches and make a particular point of checking the front tyres because some owners may have been ragging the car about spinning the wheels.

The EDC auto gearbox could be a potential weak point. On your test drive, look out for crunching when you change gear or a clicking/whining sound within a particular gear ratio. In particularly bad instances, the gearbox won't change into gear at all. Look out particularly for crunching on the change down from 4th to 3rd, which apparently is a common problem. Find out how regularly the gearbox oil has been changed - if not recently, insist that the seller does it if you are to proceed.

We came across one problem car that failed its MOT with both front side lights and rear passenger side lights not working - which apparently was down to the body control module. Inside the car, investigate all of the functions on the centre screen and ensure, particularly with the navigation system, that everything works as it should. If you're not buying privately, you do need to choose the right Renault dealer as apparently, they're not all kindly disposed towards RS models. Front tyres get worn quite quickly, as you might expect - 8,000 miles would be typical, compared to over twice that on the rears. Brake discs aren't as expensive as on R.S. Meganes of this era. is a good forum for owners' advice.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2015 Clio R.S. 200 EDC - Ex Vat) An oil filter is in the £5-£11 bracket. Brembo front brake pads cost in the £34-£53 bracket; rears are in the £17-£30 bracket. A pair of front brake discs is around £153, Rear brake discs cost in the £190 to £300 bracket . A wiper blade is around £10-£25. And a radiator is around £125-£173. A headlamp is around £227-£240. A water pump is in the £46-£82 bracket.

On the Road

Every test report you'll read on this Renault will bemoan the fact that it isn't the hot hatch its predecessor was. Not as urgent as that car, not as direct. Not as fun. Well, let us add a few other observations to that little critical list. It's not as sluggish at lower revs. It's not as ridiculously thirsty. Nor is it as uncomfortable to ride in or as cheaply furnished. Hit a bump when you're powering on mid-corner and it doesn't threaten to throw you into the hedge. Don't get us wrong. We were amongst the greatest fans of the old pre-2013-era third generation Clio Renaultsport 200 but with the rose-tinted recollections, we also remember a car that was very difficult to live with and justify as regular day-to-day transport.

This one's very different. Yes, that's partly because a 1.6-litre turbo engine replaced the old normally aspirated 2.0-litre unit under the bonnet, matching the previous 200PS output but bringing with it extra speed and pulling power. For us though, the changes here went deeper than that and lay in the way that this post-2013-era car gained different aspects to its personality. An old Clio shopping rocket was always firm, fast and in-your-face. Fun? For sure. But very one dimensional and not at all what you'd want if you weren't in the mood.

Here, in contrast, we got a car that could satisfy more than just your hooligan tendencies. A car that, if necessary, could quite happily trickle through rush hour traffic and assume the role of suburban shopper. Of course, the set-and-forget nature of the twin clutch 6-speed EDC auto gearbox helps it here: who wants to pump their clutch foot up and down in the stop start reality of modern motoring? Presumably, Renault could have developed a manual gearbox option but why, they reasoned, would anyone really want one when the EDC transmission gives you so many more options?

Take Launch Control. Yes, just like you'd get in a proper race car to launch you at the scenery as soon as the lights go to green. It's huge fun and perhaps is one reason why this car's quoted rest to 62mph sprint figure of 6.7s (on the way to 143mph flat out) is the fastest of any contender in its segment from this era. Not what you'd expect from a car that a few moments ago, we were praising as a shopping runabout. So how does one become the other? The answer's very simple: it's called 'R.S. Drive'.

We're talking of the driving mode selection system the French engineers developed to create the 'two-cars-in-one' character we've been talking about. You don't have to use it of course - and in fact you shouldn't if you want to maximise the comfort and efficiency of ordinary motoring. But when the road ahead opens up, the red mist beckons and you remember what tempted you into buying this car in the first place, a simple click of the 'R.S. Drive' button down below the gearstick opens up a whole different dimension in Clio Renaultsport driving.

There are two options - 'Sport' and 'Race' - both of which are needed to activate Launch Control and each of which will see tweaks made to throttle response, engine pitch, steering feel and gearshift times, as well as a progressive loosening of the standard stability and traction aids. In fact, that electronic safety net doesn't exist at all in a 'Race' mode that requires entirely manual gear selection and reduces shift times by 25% to just 150 milliseconds. Better though perhaps, if you're away from the race track, to leave the thing in 'Sport' where a bit of slide is still on offer without the potential for ultimate embarrassment.

It would be a pity though, to buy this car and not, at some point in your ownership, visit a circuit, perhaps on one of the Renaultsport track days regularly organised around the country. If only to properly try out what is probably our favourite feature on this car, the 'Renaultsport Monitor'. It's an optional on-board telemetry performance tracking system that works as part of the clever R-Link multimedia set-up you'll find on the plushest version of this model. And it's very, very clever, collecting data through a series of sensors and presenting it in real time using a customisable display of dials, graphs and graphics you'll find on the 7-inch dash-mounted colour touchscreen.

Via this, you can access a stopwatch also operable by GPS, monitor an R.S. maintenance schedule for performance consumables like tyres and brake pads and get useful track driving tips. There are also gauges for brake pressure, coolant temperature, turbo pressure and intake temperature, plus bar graphs for everything from torque to temperatures and performance graphs for intricate acceleration mapping. It doesn't end there either. There's a real time G-Forces meter to show you how much you're throwing the car about and a display showing wheelspin, torque and traction slip. You've got engine torque and power curves, a twin clutch gearbox guide and a screen showing steering angle together with an Oscilloscope that charts electrical voltage. Last but not least, there's a sophisticated data logger that allows you to download all of this onto a PC or upload into your Renaultsport Monitor pre-set circuit layouts you can use as part of track sessions. All told, it's a remarkably complete set-up and no other small performance car from this era has anything like it.

A comment that also applies to a brilliant little feature you'll find buried away in the menus of the R-Link multimedia system, an application called 'R-SOUND EFFECT'. Stored upon it are a range of high performance engine sounds that work to a sound-management algorithm that takes into account engine rpm, accelerator pedal position and your ultimate speed. The chosen engine sound is then copied over the actual engine note and relayed into the cabin via the stereo speakers, rising and falling with reasonable realism. On the car we tested, we were given everything from a 1969 Renault 8 Gordini.. and Alpine A110. to a modernday Renaultsport Clio V6. and, less credibly, a 1971 Moto GP bike and even, for some reason we can't quite fathom, a futuristic Renault Reinastella spaceship. Yes, the whole thing's a gimmick but the better noises are worth having even if only because, rather disappointingly, they improve on the sound this Clio actually makes. A so-called 'R.S. Sound Pipe' promises much, designed to port the engine's induction roar directly into the cabin. The reality though, is enjoyment of a Subaru-style lower rev burble for a short while before a far less pleasant kind of scouring turbo noise begins to dominate.

But we've talked too much of electronic silliness, of launch control, race modes, track monitors and infotainicle gadgetry. You might reasonably wonder whether all this tinsel is actually there to disguise the fact that this car can't actually cut it on brilliant backroads and flat-out sweepers, bumpy bends and slippery secondary routes upon which the very best small shopping rockets excel. Upon which this car's arch-rival, the Ford Fiesta ST excels. But that would be to forget that this is a Renaultsport product. And this Gallic brand's Dieppe division knows a thing or two about engineering cars built to tackle roads like these.

This one offers a very different kind of driving experience to the Fiesta - or indeed the previous Renaultsport version of this model, something partly explained of course by the twin clutch auto gearbox. Some aspects of the paddleshift system's operation are a little annoying - the short second gear and the big gap between third and fourth for example - and some very impressive. The supercar-style multi-down change function for example. Grab and hold the lefthand paddle as you're barrelling into a corner and it bangs the 'box down to the lowest possible gear, ready to hurl you out the other side. Brilliant.

It's all very clever but part and parcel of a driving experience that's somehow less wild, less extreme, more mature than before, though still hugely rewarding and yes, still fun. Many more people will be able to enjoy much more of what this car has to offer: it's readier to flatter its driver than previous fast Clios and its performance is easier to extract for sustained periods of time. The other reasons why? Well, the engine's pulling power - there's up to 240Nm of it - is developed far lower in the rev range than it was with the old 2.0-litre normally aspirated unit, so you don't constantly have to rev the thing to bits to make rapid progress.

Then there's the neat R.S. Diff which works through the turns to counter both understeer and wheelspin by lightly micro-braking whichever front wheel is threatening to lose grip. As a result, the car's kept planted through the tightest corner and you're fired on from bend to bend. Oh and on the subject of brakes, they're really very good indeed, as befits a potential track day car, large and extremely effective. But we've saved the best feature until last. It's called 'Hydraulic Compression Control' and take it from us, forget all the fancy electronics, it's the cleverest thing about this car. Using technology borrowed from rallying - specifically, the Paris-Dakar endurance event - it builds in a secondary hydraulic valve into the main damper body to eliminate the 'rebound effect', which is the thing that transmits serious road surface bums into the cabin.

As a result, you can cruise through the city and crash over crests without having to trouble your osteopath on a regular basis. It explains the urban civility we were crediting this car with at the beginning of this section, whilst on more testing roads, it makes you want to press on at moments where in rival cars, you'd simply lift off, tired of being bashed about. In fact, you could even consider finding a version of this model fitted with the stiff 'Cup' chassis that was an option from new (and standard on the rare post-2016 'Trophy' variant). This drops the ride height by a marginal 3mm, adds larger 18-inch wheels shod with sticky Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres and stiffens up the springs by 15%, all things that would have created a track day-only machine out of the previous model. But here, the result is just something pleasantly firm and assured. A mature kind of hot hatch. A car that's finally grown up, but still remembers how to have fun.


Motorsport, they say, improves the breed. It's just that on most small sporting cars, that isn't immediately obvious. This one's different. The paddleshift transmission, the launch control, the hydraulic damping, the circuit telemetry system: it all comes straight from the track to your driveway. Which, you'd think, ought to be what Renaultsport products should be all about. So why did this one arouse such controversy in the motoring media? Probably because it was so different from its much-loved predecessor. You won't jump in and scare yourself in the first 50 yards - but then, maybe that's a good thing.

We didn't think so the first time we drove it but the more miles we did, the more we were able to appreciate what the development team were trying to do. It's a car that in its era, set a new technological standard in its segment - and that can be a barrier to the instant pleasures that so characterised its predecessor. Get to grips with it all though and the surprising truth is that this rather different take on Clio Renaultsport motoring can be every bit as rewarding as anything that went before.

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