2003 Renault Clio Sport RS 2.0L petrol


Fun, fast, economical, stylish - but not entirely reliable!


Less than 1 month after purchase - started to have an issue where a warning light would come on and there was a lack of power. They checked for idle fault, connected diagnostic clip and scanned for faults, pedal potentiometer circuit clean connection and road test - $151.88NZD.

3 years after purchase - radiator started leaking profusely. I was able to drive the car around for another day or two by checking the water and topping it up each time before driving it. The radiator was replaced with a used one, which was refurbed and pressure tested. $585.72NZD.

Eventually it struggled to start on cold mornings.

General Comments:

As soon as I got this car, I had the wheel alignment done, engine oil & filter etc as I wanted to really look after it.

The car was a massive amount of fun to drive. Small, light and powerful, you could take on anyone and best them almost every time. Even Turbo Subaru Impreza WRX's could not best me on the race up the motorway on ramp.

Petrol consumption is very impressive. On a holiday to Rotorua (300km or so) I averaged 5.9L/100km. Around town and in traffic, day-to-day driving I was averaging 7.2L/100km. Downhill in fifth gear the car's computer's readout would often output 0.0L/100km - it uses no petrol on the engine overrun!

Parking was always easy due to the small size. It could carry a generous amount of cargo. 3-point turns are a pain in the bottom though, and I am unsure if I was ever able to perform a U-turn on anything smaller than a 4-lane road.

The stereo was good, the seats were very comfortable and the side supports in the seats were great. I didn't think it was noisy in the cabin at all, my Nissan Bluebird 1994 is much noisier inside. The climate control works well, and the Renault's cabin is a nice place to be. There is no centre console for storing things, and there aren't many cubbyholes inside the car.

In my opinion, this car was not the most reliable, and every time it did stuff up or hiccup, it was costly - especially compared to Japanese cars. When it was working perfectly, it was the greatest car I've ever owned by miles.

I would buy another one in the future when I felt I had the time, money and resource to properly manage such a car. For a 'normal' person like this, this would be like a second car. It is not sufficiently bulletproof to be a household's only car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 7th September, 2011

2002 Renault Clio 1.4


Slow and rattley


Intermittent starting issues.

General Comments:

Average build quality - squeaks and rattles, but nothing fell off.

Auto box is terrible - holds onto gears too long, then snaps your neck with surprise changes. Seems to drain a lot of the 90bhp, which should make this a nippy hatch.

Performance OK around town, but underpowered on the fast roads; pulling out into a faster lane takes planning.

Seats are pretty uncomfortable for a french car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th August, 2010

2001 Renault Clio 172 2.0 16v 'F4R-736'


Incredible, awesome, fantastic!


The rubber thumb-grip on the right side of the steering wheel was peeling.

The hazard light switch was broken (you could turn them on, but not back off).

The engine blew when I had the timing belt done (poorly done job), so I had it replaced.

General Comments:

The car is awesome to drive! At first you think it's small and the pedals are offset, but after about 10 minutes this isn't an issue.

It is unbelievably fast, especially when you consider it only makes 124kW of power. It's easily got enough grunt to stomp any pre-03 WRX, for example.

It is the best handling FWD car in the world in my opinion. Into a corner, on the power, don't lift, keep your foot in it, it lifts the outside rear wheel, and goes round like it's on rails, no under or over steer, just perfect line cornering.

And it can out-brake a 360 Modena 100-0km/h. As Clarkson put it in his review, "Impossible to go faster for less."

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2008