Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup

Posted by Matt Master at 11:45 am on Thursday August 20, 2009

It’s a given that the Cup is special. Otherwise it wouldn’t be here, amongst quarter-mil Italian exotica and daft stuff without windscreens. But just how special a £15k French hatchback can really be is something that still took every one of us by surprise.

It’s a well-worn truism that point-to-point, across the typical British B-road, a sorted hot hatch is as fast as anything else on the market. And Blightly is almost uniquely suited to this unlikely phenomenon, thanks to a road network that is both too small and too congested to drive around seriously fast, and largely made up of pitted, pockmarked and generally dreadful little roads.

So a car that is compact, agile, reasonably fast and, crucially, able to tackle the insufficiencies of the surfaces it is on, is going to positively slaughter both your massive, mid-engine, V12 monster and your uncompromising, road-intolerant track-day special.

What’s astonishing, however, is just how uncompromised the Cup feels. It is firm, but it still rides out the undulations in a way that means it never feels brittle or unsettled. And as your speed builds, so does the Cup’s competence.

The steering is light, with perhaps a shade too much play, but that’s the trade-off for keeping it calm on the motorway. The gearchange is similarly breezy, but also addictively short when that urgency comes calling.

Worked hard there is always enough power in the engine to keep up with the company on today’s test too – an unlikely achievement when you consider by just how many horses the Clio is short.

And then there’s the cornering. Get the Cup set up early and it handles with an almost eerie confidence. Enter a corner too fast and its behaviour is still predictable, with gradual understeer. Drive like a bell-end, with too much lock and a sudden lift for instance, and you can provoke oversteer, but even that is easily contained.

The Cup 200 has a preternatural purity, allowing its driver to escape the normal limitations of warmed-up mass-production motors and feel utterly involved in the very visceral dynamic processes going on below.

Renault deserves a medal for building such a visceral dynamic car, but we Brits can pat ourselves on the back for being the nation that’s noticed too.

In the last 10 years 70,000 Renaultsports have been sold in Europe, and the UK has accounted for 35 per cent of those sales. Whether it’s our national need for speed, or our awful roads, this is the answer, and it’s yours for £15,750.

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  1. Ryan18 said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I think the front end is just awful completely ruins the car for me i like the clio before. Why are all the french cars going for this massive mouth look? like frenchy like car!

  2. rwnkl said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to comment Report comment

    lovely hot hatch, prefer it to the Golf GTI

  3. TeeTeeXD said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I quite like it, it seems a good car a young, drug crazed teen who likes to drive fast…

  4. Hadrees said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Err..no is the answer that springs to mind to whether that is a super car slayer

  5. CeeBee said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I reckon the reason why 35% of them end up in the UK is because on the continent any car with a decent amount of HP gets taxed to death (with the exception of 2 or 3 countries which, no doubt, make up the other 65%)

  6. skid racer said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to comment Report comment

    as far as hot hatches go.. i’d still go for a scirocco!

  7. Scuderia said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to comment Report comment

    ill have the Fiat 500 Abarth SS

  8. Gavin's Mohalk said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I love this car. Better than golf gti by miles. Not so sure if I like it more than the abarth

  9. FXX said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to comment Report comment

    if i was to have a hatch back it would be the ford focus RS for me

  10. muffmagnet197 said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I drive a 197 and it is awesome. This should be even better!

  11. Jack27 said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to comment Report comment

    These cars are amazing, I have a 182 and never get bored. The performance is stonking and shames so many bigger and more expensive cars.

  12. Af said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I want one!!!
    I love the clio.
    They look great and this one is pretty hardcore!!!

  13. er say something said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i have a clio and it has replaced a panda but i find the clio dissappointing its dull and drab no character what happened to the frenchness of renaults of old such as the 11 and the 25 which had loads of equipment (scary in such shoddily made cars) and great comfort. my clio (2002 model) is rattily, i can pull parts of the dash off with no tools, the seats give me a terrible back ache (im only 17) and the whole experience is terribly boring. i have been put of renault especially their small cars and am going back to the only car company who knows how to make small cars fiat

  14. me me me said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to comment Report comment

    what the ^^^^ are you on about? this a 2009 Clio 200 Cup, not a 1.2 litre 7 year old Clio. Worthless comment!

  15. PetrolHead247 said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm Link to comment Report comment

    The latest Renaultsport Clio’s have been incredibly good fun, and this is no exception. The RS Clio 200 Cup is unbelievably good fun especially on a twisty B-road. It has so much grip and yet you can get the tail out with ease. And at £15,750 you can’t go faster for less.

    Obviously at £15,750 for a 200bhp hot hatch your going to expect the quality to be poor. It is. But when your driving around you realise why the interior is so cheap, it’s to save money. This means more people can experience what really matters – the fun.

    It’s an incredible hot hatch, honestly i believe that the little RS Clio 200 Cup is more fun than some supercars which are more that ten times the price, honestly. And of course it’s very practical which is a necessity for a cheap and biblically cheerful hot hatch. It’s also got plenty of power – 200bhp in fact. This means 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds, about the same as a Golf GTI which is over £5k more. But in cup spec (which is the one to go for) it only weighs 1200kg so it’s highly chuckable. The top speed is over 140mph, very impressive for a tiny French supermini.

    If you’ve got around £15k to spend on a car forget eco Seat Ibiza’s, get a RS Clio 200 Cup. It’s one of the cheapest hot hatches to buy, run and insure but it’s an incredible car. It’s one of the best cars in the world. Honestly.

  16. ryan said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i think the clio is fun to drive and it’s more fun than some 100,000 supercars.

  17. me said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 4:49 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Too bad it’s ugly

  18. james said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm Link to comment Report comment

    fantastic little fun car! love it love it love it! may not have the best front end but its ability and terrier dog attitude….. brilliant well done renault you got your mojo back!

  19. dord said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm Link to comment Report comment

    id take a focus RS if given the choice

  20. Thomas said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm Link to comment Report comment

    This is the point of a hot hatch.It can be a family car,fold the back seats down for your freezer,has room for your dog and at a same time when your hair is on fire,drive like a mad man.
    I’ll buy any of them.
    If i would had 150k,i would spend 20-20k for a hot hatch and the rest for a nice house.

  21. Thomas said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to comment Report comment

    P.S.
    Ups i meant 20-30k.

  22. GR1M3Z said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm Link to comment Report comment

    A great car but I dont really agree with them ‘able to tackle the insufficiencies of the surfaces it is on’ My M5 E60 I know isn’t the most effecient car on the roads but it is fast and handles well and is great at low speeds but you have to admire Renault creating a car of this calibre for just 15k but you get what you pay for.

  23. JCTG said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to comment Report comment

    It’s fantastic.I prefer to the seat cupra

  24. nothing was said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm Link to comment Report comment

    the comment about the 7 year old clio is right they are a terrible car, the new one could be as bad as the old one was the new one lacks the good looks of the old clio. the fiat 500 abarth is a far better choice

  25. chickenfeed said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 10:58 pm Link to comment Report comment

    It is a sizzling hot hatch. Shame about the nose. They changed it so it would be more in line with the rest of the Renault range. BIG BIG BIG BIG MISTAKE!!! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The old design was complete, and I dare say beautiful, where as this just looks like an afterthought. Which it is. It’s Renault thinking ‘We’ve finally built a Clio that looks decent. Now what can we do to screw it up?’

  26. drukenmonky169 said...
    Thursday August 20, 2009 at 11:06 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i like the cilo and the way it looks yeah the only thing is the nose change that give a nice engine and let it come with a nice raw !!!!

  27. Puma said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 12:47 am Link to comment Report comment

    Could anybody recomend a hot hatch that LOOKS like a normal car?

    I would go for it. I am over 35, I have employees, a career… really. I need one to use and be seen in it, but it should still be shit fast. No orange alloys allowed.

    Thks.

  28. Lux said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 2:26 am Link to comment Report comment

    i agree its fascinating to drive and can go very fast as well but i need to wear a suit to work..i cant drive this.i would though if i was a plumper or lived in a village where i would drink beer from 11 in the morning

  29. lucky said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 2:29 am Link to comment Report comment

    all you “businessmen” just buy the trendy cooper s.it drives good as well

  30. Bob Stigington said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 3:18 am Link to comment Report comment

    It sounds like it might be a very cool car! I’d rather have the Fiat 500 Abarth Essesse… it’s so tiny, yet it has 158hp!! – but mainly I’d want it just because it is a fashion icon!

  31. rraptor said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to comment Report comment

    It’s ugly and girlish. The interior is discusting. This is 4 peasants 2…

  32. hi said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to comment Report comment

    for a small hot hatch id have the version of this that is yellow with checkered flags down the side because it looks much better without that front end

    for a normal hatch id have the focus rs depending on how much money i have when i want a hot hatch id buy one of them 2

  33. HeadscreweDon said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to comment Report comment

    The point is, this is 100% a driver’s car with superb ‘point and squirt’ ability and as such, 15g makes it the bargain of the century (despite the contentious front end). Personally, I still haven’t made up my mind about the face-lift but quite honestly, if it drives half as well as reported, then who really cares about a car’s daft ‘expression’ at this price? If you DO care, then get the more expensive and more socially-acceptable middle-class mini cooper s. Yes, boringly, it’s seemingly all about class (again!).

    Snobby smug suits are completely missing the point by purely criticizing the slightly chavvy image (not as bad as previous generation hot clios) and the perceived crappy quality (again, a massive step-up from previous generation hot clios): it’s not designed to look classy on the drive-way next to your shiny new 7-series banker-special, it’s for your average 1-car-only petrol-head on a budget (many of us) who love B-road blasts with something which can also double as a relatively practical everyday commuter.

    As someone already pointed out, car-snobs should stick to the image-conscious cooper s: a great little quality car but conversely, it can also be embarrassing to be seen in for inverted snobs..er..like me.. :P D’oh! I am image-conscious after all…oh well..i’m off to Lidl to get a cheap, nasty and ugly clio :P

  34. COmfort said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to comment Report comment

    A car like this will be a persons only car, their primary mode of transport, something that they will probably have to own for three years to finance it, not something a journalist will spend a few hours in, so when you look at the other side of the car, you have paid a good whack on a cheap nasty plastic french hatch, oh there will be days for a quick blast but all those other days, commuting, going to the supermarket, you will be wondering why you spent so much wedge on so little. Been there done it, that’s why the Golf or Scirroco will always win, mind you when you can pick up a second had 197 for 4k then this arguement no longer stands!

  35. Aravin_78 said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to comment Report comment

    This car is made for everyone. Outside the world of Italian Exotica and celebrities. There are hard working people who just don’t have money to have fun. Now this Clio is bringing the fun of driving back to the people who matter. At £15k the price can be steep, but I guarantee you tey will do the same to the Twingo and that will have to priced even cheaper. Fun at a simple price. Renault is coming out it’s stereotypical way and is not making horrid little root boxes.

  36. R.Swipe said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I’m a buisnessman and always dressed to kill. Since I dropped my A4 for the Clio 197 it has become an excellent ice-breaker for conversation when I pull up in a clients car-park. For most of the doubters you can be sure they have never been near a new Clio. It’s an amazing amount of car for the money. I have had more fun in this car in six weeks than I had with the Audi over four years. RS, well yes I too would have one but for gods sake compare apples with apples.

  37. Puma said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm Link to comment Report comment

    HeadS(33) I don’t tihnk I’m snobby, I just need my job… and guess what, I like my job. I have to take people to dinner, and I need 4 seats and a suspension. So chill.

    R.Swipe, I like your comment. I also have an A4, I love it, but I need room to make it fun. Not possible in the city.

    The RS seems more like it, in spite of the wide arches, but I won’t get it this far west and south from europe. To bring it to Latam would be too expensive.

    Good to see I’m not alone here.

  38. Puma said...
    Friday August 21, 2009 at 8:39 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Ah, I forgot, anyone with a Golf experience? 2.0T and up?

  39. GOLF STI...G said...
    Saturday August 22, 2009 at 3:19 am Link to comment Report comment

    its kinky, its quick, relitivly cheap….Hmm…..O MAN!!!!! i forgot no Renaults in America!!!!!

  40. Weird Al said...
    Saturday August 22, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to comment Report comment

    Taut, power-ful, quick… Yes.
    But that’s not the point>.
    The poooint>>>, you see, is that no Big-Butt is safe from Damaged Pride when he sees that “kermit” in the mirror.

  41. astra vxr said...
    Saturday August 22, 2009 at 6:44 pm Link to comment Report comment

    renaultsport clio 200 cup the creator of this green meanie is a great designer and i would love for him to make a car for me but my review for this car 100 out of 100 for it because it’s brilliant you can ask me more if you want

  42. fanatic276 said...
    Saturday August 22, 2009 at 11:01 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I had one of the first CUP 172’s, the interior was a bit boring, but having a car that what designed with no compromise, by French fanatical engineers was a joy. You know you were driving something special, and that you have to spend twice that price to get anything with the same type of non-compromise design was very satisfying. How many cars can you list that has ABS removed, thinner windscreens, mesh seats, no spare wheel as standard, all in the name of speed and performance.

    This new Clio 200 is seriously temping me back to having a CUP again, you have to look past the trivialities of interior and external looks and enjoy pure enjoyment of a car that was design and built by people at renaultsport how know want they ate doing when making a hot hat.

    Just don’t buy a mint green one!!!!

  43. Rick said...
    Sunday August 23, 2009 at 12:24 am Link to comment Report comment

    The hard question is: With or without AC and radio….

  44. Beardy Branson said...
    Monday August 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Recently i’ve been looking at hot hatches because they are s cool and i couldn’t help but notice the Renault and it has to be the best value.

  45. Wilko said...
    Tuesday August 25, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    What a car, i really want one, renault make the best hot hatches by far!

    I really really want one in yellow but the new renault sport megane coupe does look even better!

  46. luke eddy said...
    Wednesday August 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i have it in black so the nose doesnt stand out it looks gourgous and drives even better i love it

  47. In the real world... said...
    Thursday August 27, 2009 at 8:37 am Link to comment Report comment

    Forget the list prices and comparing based on this. After discounts in the real world this is how things stack up:

    Fiat 500 Abarth: £14k+
    Fiat 500 Abarth SS: £17k+
    Golf GTI: £20k+
    Clio 200 cup: less than £13k

    Surely that sorts it.

  48. In the real world... said...
    Thursday August 27, 2009 at 8:45 am Link to comment Report comment

    In fact, I’ve found a 200 non-cup brand new for less than £13k, UK dealer etc. All I need to do now is get the missus to forget about the 500 hype and we’re there.

    With the way this country is going cars like this will be extinct/ exorbitantly costly in a few years. I’ve never owned a car (but driven many) and im sure that it will put a smile on my face every time I drive it.

  49. real_big_dave said...
    Friday August 28, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to comment Report comment

    The clio 200 CUP is ment for people who enjoy the driving experience. Like going out for a thrash on the B-roads.

    NOT trundaling up and down motorways.

    For the price you get a lot of car, yes the plastics are a bit naff. but when you are flying round the bends with all that grip and stopping on a penny with them brilliant brakes, who gives!!

    PLUS….what other company puts on track days esspecially for you to see what your car can do on the track!!

    you cant go faster for less!!

  50. the real me said...
    Sunday August 30, 2009 at 3:33 pm Link to comment Report comment

    i’d take this over any other hot hatch any day :)

  51. Jasey said...
    Monday August 31, 2009 at 7:42 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I have the non cup version of this car.

    Have had it for almost two months and use th ecar as a daily commute rocket on the B-Roads of Aberdeenshire.

    I look forward to every time I get in the car.

    Best 13.5k I’ve ever spent :D

  52. luke eddy said...
    Tuesday September 1, 2009 at 9:39 pm Link to comment Report comment

    same here but got the cup chassis had to get the recaros but they were expensive but well worth it puts a smile on my face every time wot colour u get it in?

  53. Jasey said...
    Wednesday September 2, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Glacier White – Do they do other colours ;)

    £850 for the Recaros is a bargain – when you see the cost of getting them retro fitted.

    My bum wouldn’t fit in the Recaros :eek:

  54. L15 MWD said...
    Sunday October 18, 2009 at 6:31 pm Link to comment Report comment

    corsa VXR anyone???

  55. PhillDoc said...
    Thursday December 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Interesting article as for me. I’d like to read something more concerning that matter. Thanks for giving this data.
    Sexy Lady
    English escorts

  56. Andy said...
    Friday January 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm Link to comment Report comment

    If you want a car that handles well around corners and keeps a smile on your face the Clio 200 is the car for you!!

    I anyone is looking to buy a Clio 200 I have perfect number plate (CL10 ZOO) for sale, all offers welcome (andyjwall@hotmail.com).

  57. clarky boy said...
    Tuesday May 4, 2010 at 11:25 am Link to comment Report comment

    just orderd the 200 cup in white! looks awsome with those red brake callipers,
    and yeah the drive on them is awsome took it out twice on a test drive and its just one of those cars that make u miss it when youv got out of it!! love i, cant wait to get it

  58. CAR MAD NEIL said...
    Friday September 10, 2010 at 11:37 pm Link to comment Report comment

    I’ve got a white 200 Cup on order too. Having the Recaros and Aircon too. Its like waiting to be hung. Cant wait to get it :-)

  59. Andy said...
    Saturday October 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm Link to comment Report comment

    Still have my CL10 ZOO private plate for sale if anyone is interested.

    All offers welcome

  60. Busgo OZ said...
    Friday December 23, 2011 at 11:14 am Link to comment Report comment

    I have just bought a 2010 Clio Cup 200 Trophee. I also have a 2005 Mini Cooper S with the works. The cars are almost identical in handling with the mini having the edge in very tight corners and the advantage of a supercharger. However, the Clio is by far the better of the 2 cars for a host of reasons. BTW. They come standard in OZ with just about all accessories including Air and Recaros. Granted the Mini is finished better but also is also 1/3 dearer in our dealers for the equivalent fit.

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