While we eagerly anticipate getting our hands on Renault’s new Koleos, which if you haven’t already seen, looks eye-wateringly handsome. But recently we did manage to review the Renault Clio; the GT Line not the R.S. 200, sadly.
We’ve all read, watched and probably heard from someone that the R.S. 200 is a pretty fierce machine. So how does the GT Line compare to its more powerful sibling that forces you to hold on to its door handles?
Turns out the fun factor is mellowed but not completely. Although the difference in their price tags does mirror on the specifications, we’d like to see the GT Line as a more “real world” alternative for those who still want “it” - just taken a few notches down.
It would surely also attract those who want a sportier shell but with a less “Renault Sport” designation in its construction. The Clio GT Line, can be a fun hatchback that encapsulates all the daily practicalities you might need, yet allows you to take a gentle swing at it every now and then.
Interested individuals will instantly notice some differences of the GT Line. The as per brochure “very dark carbon matching colours” refers to the door panels. We did wish for softer materials, but plastic is a familiar sight in the cabin doors. The finishing is definitely fresh and modern.
But apart from that, despite what seems like a basic and effective interior, the rear section does provide everything that you’ll need. In essence, as a daily get-around and for your passengers; comfortable seats and respectable leg and head room are aplenty.
The glossy black appearance on the steering and the center console, usually seen on the back of a smartphone, might appeal to some quarters. Although they are a fingerprint magnet. The sight of the left behind prints won't be a pleasing sight for the OCD.
Anyways, here’s what we think are the FIVE boxes the Clio GT Line really ticked; with a fist-sized whiteboard marker.
It's got the looks.
On the outside, there really isn’t an angle that would project any design flaws of the Clio – it’s real clever. With a simple tuck of the rear door handles in the door pillar, concealed by the window frame and matched with the edgy body-coloured side protective strips that accentuate the Clio’s lines, it disguises itself as 2-door hatchback that oozes a sporty vibe.
The colour on our test car was labelled Malta Blue with a splash of Anthracite Dark Metal on those attention seeking 17-inch rims. The Clio just lures second looks everywhere it goes. Turned heads would also draw the attention to the GT Line spoiler and the purposeful glossy dark-metal rear diffuser.
It delivers usable performance.
Under its skin, it is claimed that the Clio GT Line shares various technical credentials to the Clio RS. And it is noticable. According to the brochure, power figures by the 1.2-litre direct injection engine is claimed to be at 118 horsepower and 190 Nm of torque.
Together with the smoothness in power delivery by the Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC), you get seamless acceleration once you get over the initial, slight hiccup of a turbo lag. The quickness in the gearbox’s operation also reflects in the use of a “flick shift” function at the gear lever.
You get an ECO mode in the GT Line too; which alters the vehicle’s characteristics and supposedly reduces fuel consumption by up to 10% with a combined cycle of 5.2L/100km. That said, it does tamper with the smoothness of the power delivery and acceleration – leaving this switched off wouldn’t cause much more consumption.
It stops brilliantly.
You can’t have performance without any stopping power. You won’t be able to help it but go, “My goodness” every time you go near the brakes either. Simply put, those brakes bite hard. It was also easy to modulate and it’s surprising because when you take a closer look at it, ventilated discs are deployed in the front but at the back the Clio GT Line only makes do with drum units!
It handles well.
Those were the expressions of the inner 17-year olds within us that kept creeping up every time we took the Clio GT around a bend. On the longer sweeping turns, it would hold its own with good feedback from the Electric Variable Assist power steering, while on the narrower corners, its nippiness just invokes amusement.
And it wasn’t like they had to compromise on ride comfort either. Despite its composure, the ride comfort was at commendable levels. At no point were we faced with the threat of having our skulls jolted out of position. It must be the Pseudo McPherson and torsion beams setup or it could be the work of a magic wand, whatever it is, it works.
It's got a sweet sound system.
Despite sporting a modest appearance, the Clio’s sound system as we found out, was not to be demeaned. It’s claimed that the GT Line is equipped with a clever sound system known as Renault Bass Reflex - a system based on the use of vents or ports in the enclosure which happens to be an automotive world’s first. The result is a level of enjoyment matched only by a 30-litre home speaker enclosure.
In our own words, its output was as loud and defined as the Clio’s exterior. It delivered strong bass frequencies alongside clear and distinct notes without scattering too badly at volume. You just can't have a car that shouty without a stereo system as an accompaniment.
A customary boot space picture to top off the Clio's review.
For safety, you get the usual offerings such as the Hill Start Assist, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) ABS, Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Driver and front passenger head and chest airbags, Anti-submarining system (Fix4sure) in front and rear and an ISOFIX system on rear outermost seats. With a price tag of RM 121,497, the Clio GT Line also comes in Diamond Black, Glacier White, and Flame Red with a 5-year unlimited mileage manufacturer's warranty with other perks which can be found in Renault's official website.
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