The Renault Clio has recently received a mild, mid-life refresh, with minor revisions to trim and styling, and this Renault Sport is among the very first of these updated cars.
What is it?
The regular Renault Clio Renault Sport is potent enough but this 220 Trophy model adds something extra anyway. 'Trophy' essentially translates to a track-focused chassis set-up. There's a mild 20bhp boost to the power, but the Trophy pack is more about what the car does in the corners rather than between them. It's 20mm lower at the front, 10mm lower at the back and features stiffer rear springs and a 10 per cent quicker steering rack.
What's under the bonnet?
A 1.6-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder petrol engine, with 200bhp available in the regular RS and 217bhp for this Trophy model. In both cases the engine is paired to a six-speed EDC automatic gearbox, with a sequential manual mode and paddle shifts for that racetrack feel. Leave it to its own devices though and the Trophy will hit 60mph in around 6.5 seconds.
What's the spec like?
You get an awful lot of car for the money. As standard it's £22,425 and that includes just about every toy the Clio range has to offer. The infotainment system is packed with kit, including rear parking camera, navigation, DAB radio and a 3D-sound Arkamys speaker system. Just about the only thing not included in the price is heated front seats, but they can be selected as a £250 option.
The Clio Renault Sport 220 Trophy falls into the performance hatch segment, so it fights tough competition from the Ford Fiesta ST200, Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport and Mini John Cooper Works. The Renault sits at the pricier end of this group, but does boast slightly more everyday practicality than most in its class.
What's it like to drive?
At city speeds the Clio is fine, but on open roads it comes alive. While the regular Renault Sport Clio is good fun, with quicker steering and the stiffer rear of the Trophy, it's an eager and enthralling driving companion. Slip it into one of the sportier driving modes and let the gearbox do its own thing then you've got an easy and extremely rapid point-to-point machine.
AOL Cars verdict
The Renault Sport Clio 220 Trophy fills the brief of the hot hatch brilliantly. There may be some grumbles as you try to wrangle it on or off your driveway at either end of the day and the ride is a little gritty on poor surfaces, but it's a car you'll look forward to driving to the point of making an excuse to go out in it.
Article by Rebecca Chaplin