I brought my Clio 16V in May, and I love it. It is the very rare Silver colour, and has an immaculate leather interior. It has cost me a lot of money though, but I am able to look past this, because I have wanted one for so long.
So far I have replaced the cam belt (£240, but can cost up too £520), and changed the oil etc. It does need a new clutch, because when it heats up, the springs stretch, and it doesn’t work properly, and this could cost up to £300. The rear arches also need sorting, and when I bought the car, I was given a quote for £175 to do this. This is for a slap dash job though, and it will cost about £400-£600 to do it properly.
The car drives very well and is set up for driving fast. I previously had a 1.4 RT, which was a good handling car, but lacked the brakes and suspension of the 16V, which are exceptional, and certainly better than I expected. It can corner at very high speeds, and on windy back roads, I can take corners much faster than normal cars (without going stupid).
The engine has a lot of power and torque. I’m sure you are all familiar with the specs; 0-60 in 7.7secs, max speed of about 140mph (if you’re brave), 137bhp. Basically this means it pulls in all gears and at any revs. The majority of power comes after 4000rpm, which is where the revs will be when you are going fast. But when you are driving around town and don’t want to use up loads of fuel, you will never go above 4000, so it stays just as functional as a normal Clio. It will outperform most hot hatches, including the wannabes like Clio RSI’s, Saxo VTR’s, Peugeot 206 GTi.
The styling of the car is one of the things that attracted me most to the car. I do prefer Renaults to the other alternatives anyway, but when you park next to the Fiesta RS Turbo and the Punto GTT, it’s the Clio which looks the most aggressive. The flared wheel arches and power bulge on the bonnet look menacing, and the big wheels add to the effect. My car is sitting on 17” chromes, which just add to the look. I parked next to a 1.2 RL yesterday, which is the base model, and it was only then that I realised just how aggressive and different the 16V is.
The car is expensive to run, purely because it is a performance car. The engine bay is tight, and many mechanics avoid it because it will be difficult to work on. There are a few people like K-tec who specialise in them (and did my cambelt).
The insurance is also pricey (especially as I’m a 19 year old male),but I did find out today why that is when a 17 year old attempting to race me (in a rubbishy Megane 1.4), and nearly caused me to crash by being a prat (young, inexperienced drivers who think they are racers, who know-no-fear in slow cars, are bad, so if you got one in a car as fast as mine, it could cost the insurer a lot of money). It is a problem when people try to take you on, and it happens quite often. I am quite sensible, so I will do my best to ignore it and let them go speeding off. If I go faster, they will go faster until you reach a point where you are doing 60 in a 30, which is not a good idea.
This is a great car, and if you want a hot hatch for this money, this is the one to get. It may not be turbo, but it is just as fast as the turbo equivalents. The styling stands out from the crowd, and still looks good now. It is pretty reliable, and as far as hot hatches go, good on the insurance. The car is set up for driving fast, and in my opinion it is safer to do 40 in this car than it is to do 30 in the 1.4 RT, because the brakes are that much better.
One thing I will recommend is you buy a mint one. I bought mine with the rust and the last service (cambelt) overdue. Add the costs of these to what I paid, and I could have brought a mint condition one. Also, if you don’t want to crash it, don’t take stupid risks. You can still enjoy the car without going stupid.
For more information on the 16V visit the WilliamsClio club www.williamsclio.co.uk website. There are lots of knowledgeable people there who can tell you what’s wrong, and give you buying hints and tips.