2002 Renault Clio RenaultSport 172 2.0 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Brilliant car - does everything I want it to!


No faults so far apart from a few minor rattles.

General Comments:

This is a car that seems to divide opinion. Most of the reviews on the site attract a lot of comments from people who say their car is faster/better etc, but to be honest, it's what it is, and a brilliant fun car in its own right.

The 172bhp engine is torquey, responsive, and revs eagerly to the limiter at a whisker over 7,000 RPM. Around town it has that lovely, effortless punch you only get with a big (ish) engine in a light car. Extend it, and it wakes up around 5,000 RPM as the variable cam timing does its stuff. Performance is superb - 0-60 in anything between 7.2 and 6.9 seconds depending on the reviews you read, and 130-something at the top end. Not Focus ST or Astra VXR quick, but more than a match for the mkV Golf GTI at anything like legal speeds, and more than enough to blow away the majority of dull boxes on the road.

Handling is brilliant fun, with plenty of grip, and a lovely mobile tail which lets you steer the car on the throttle at the limit, and tuck the nose tight into the apex almost telepathically. The ride is surprisingly good as well, which is something the French always seem to get right. There's a touch of torque steer when launching hard, but traction is hugely impressive for a FWD car. Steering is a little on the light side, but gives you a good feel for what the front wheels are doing.

The interior is a bit bland, even with the lovely half alcantara sports seats. There's acres of uninspiring grey French plastic, and the design is certainly more functional than attractive. The seats are fabulous, but the driving position can be a little painful on a longer run. Noise levels are acceptable as long as you're not going for it, when it's certainly a little loud, but the engine does at least make a decent noise. A lovely, rorty induction led growl which puts many eco-silenced modern equivalents to shame.

Styling on the outside though is superb in my opinion. The car sits quite low, with chunky alloys and a beautifully judged body kit which marks the car out from its lesser brethren when you really look at it, but doesn't scream "nick me" when parked up.

The other big surprise has been fuel economy. On my commute which is a 30 mile each way mix of motorway and A-road, I'm getting about 35 mpg as long as I don't stray too far over the national limit. Out at the weekends and enjoying myself, I'm getting about 10 mpg less. Still not too shabby for the performance on offer though.

I'm really pleased with the car. It's a quick, good looking, fun, reliable hot hatch which is more than capable of handling the commute with reasonable comfort and economy. Best part is I paid just 3k for it in a private sale in November - it is absolutely mint, and has only one owner from new with a full Renault history. Had I been prepared to compromise on mileage or condition, I could have had one for £500-£750 less.

I will report further as we go forward.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th February, 2008

14th Mar 2009, 13:37

Probably one of the best reviews on this site. Offered a very informed insight. I enjoyed reading it.

Very well done.

3rd Feb 2016, 01:00

Great review. I will be looking for one in a few months. Have a Laguna V6 Estate as well... Despite some other owners experiences, I have had several Renaults over the last 20 years and have always found them to be as reliable as other similar class cars, but always a pleasure to drive with a good ride. Plenty of low cost spares from various suppliers as well... as long as you do your research these are great, low cost, reliable cars. If you don't, then as they say... let the buyer beware.

2002 Renault Clio Expression + 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Good image, but lives up to its bad reputation


I have owned my Clio (02 plate, 1.2 16 valve) for 6 months. Nothing went wrong until Christmas where (like masses of others) I experienced the 'toxic monitoring warning light'. This can only be likened to the blue screen of death with PCs in terms of the degree of pain this will undoubtedly cause any owner.

One morning I switched on my engine and was confronted by the flashing symbol on the bottom corner of dash display. The result was a huge loss of power (max speed 50 mph), and severe juddering / misfiring etc.

In short I read other reviews on here in search of an answer. At this point there isn't one that I'm aware of!! I have had the following work undertaken to rectify this problem:

Complete replacement of coil pack - still no result.

It was found that the wiring had been chaffed through linking into the CPU as an result of the protective tamper proof metal bracket. I had this resoldered. - still no result.

I then took my car to an auto electricians. They diagnosed a problem with the number 2 valve and a possible problem with the injectors.

Took car back to garage who performed a full scale assault on the engine. They found that four of the eight valves (not exhaust valves) were so severely caked in carbon that some of them had warped. The valve beds were also (obviously) caked in carbon. Had four new valves installed and the valve beds cleaned out. Needless to say this should not have happened. Also had a new ignition coil fitted.

I've now had my car back for two weeks, and all was fine until yesterday. Same problem!!! I was told by the garage (independent) to use some redex or similar as a good measure as (being upfront) they weren't a 100% sure that the problem was rectified, and told me to see how I got along. As soon as I did this (i.e use redex type cleaner) it seemed to work straight away. However the problem has again returned.

I like the car; it's attractive, got a good level of spec, cheap to insure and tax etc. But I'm giving serious consideration of getting rid of it. I need a reliable car, which this is currently not. I know that the onboard computer hasn't blown, so outside of that I haven't got a clue. So far I've spent £850 and don't want to spend anymore.

Like everyone else, I'm open to suggestions.

General Comments:

Avoid petrol and buy the diesel. Can't have as many probems as the petrol.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st February, 2008