2003 Renault Clio 172 CUP 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


The best hot hatch around in every way!


Nothing so far apart from not having the 172 cup badges for the sides of the car when delivered, but Renault are sending them in the post. Also the passenger seat was move on it's rails (sorted now) and didn't click into place until I sat in it. The latter problem is the same for the drivers seat.

General Comments:

The car is unbelievable. I haven't worn it in yet and so have not been above 3500 rpm yet. It feels like it wants to go faster and is very keen low in the revs. When I can eventually rev this baby up I feel that I'm in for a treat! My old car was a saxo vts and this would eat it for breakfast. The power is always available on the cup whereas on the vts I had to seriously rev it before I got anywhere near the power the cup has at just 3500 rpm. The build quality is like a quantum leap from the saxo and I like the nice little touches such as speed control wipers and audio, and the audio control on the steering wheel. The gear change is shorter and the handling is excellent. Altogether this car is in a different league. A head turner. Can't wait to go up against some competition!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th January, 2004

20th Jan 2004, 15:15

Just picked up a 172 cup.

Great car, but weird idea with no spare tyre. Renault say its because they are 16"???

What do you think?

I understood that it was standard equipment for all road cars (jack, wheel brace and spare tyre)

23rd Jan 2004, 03:29

It's all to do with saving weight. Even though the size of the alloy is bigger, the tyres have a lower profile and therefore should fit into the space for the spare.

How many miles have you done? I picked mine up last Monday and have done 540 miles. Not long before it's run in and I can see what it can do. The miles per gallon display is increasing every day. I took it on a long motorway run two days ago and it is up to 30.9.

Have you had any problems?

2003 Renault Clio Renault Sport 172 2.0L 16v from UK and Ireland


Very Impressive for the Price!


Where do I start!

When first purchased there were many rattles, knocks, vibrations. These are very annoying and are impossible to get rid of unless you want to dismantle the interior.

The rear speakers have been replaced as they had blown without me even turning the standard sound system up, very suspicious! This was done under warranty, but at the expensive of my time having to take the car in twice.

The headlight washer jets have lost their nozzles so they fire water out about 2 meters in front of the car! Quite amusing if you stop at a pedestrian crossing!

The Traction Control/ESP has some sort of intermittent fault that Renault couldn't fix because they could not be sure what was causing it. This causes the annoying yellow lights to show on the dash sometimes and on more than one occasion has provided some unexpected, but interesting steering mishaps when taking corners quickly. If that stupid light did not come on the dash id turn it off all together, the cars more fun and faster to drive without it anyway.

I am not too impressed with the Hydraulic power steering. It seems to be too light when accelerating and braking hard and the car tends to want to wonder all over the place. I'm not sure if this is a fault or if its supposed to do that, but I prefer the electronic assisted power steering that the rest of the range is fitted with.

The clutch and gearbox need re-designing. The clutch bites too high, and the gearbox is in-accurate. When driving hard 3rd and 5th gear pop out. This is potentially dangerous not to mention embarrassing! Renault say they can't do anything about it unless they experience it on their test drive, which is never going to happen as it requires you to drive outside the speed limit!

General Comments:

Don't get me wrong I love this car. The faults it has spoil it though.

The cars standard equipment is excellent for this class of car, the price makes it a bargain, and it is probably the best looking car in its class.

The Chassis is superb, and the whole car works well giving it fantastic handling and adhesive traction for the twists and turns, but also cruises well through urban areas and long motorway journeys.

As for the engine, it is fantastic. When I bought this car is was a toss up between this or the Civic Type R. In the end, the Clio was much cheaper and better looking, so I spent my money at the Renault garage. Now I am glad I did. I have not had as many boy racers try it on as I expected, but when they have I've come out with a big smile on my face because unless its something seriously special they don't stand a chance. I've kept up with Porches and top end Mercedes and BMW's on the Motorway, and the only time I've really felt out of my league was when I looked in my rear view mirror on a roundabout to see an Evo 8 front grill!

This car is fast, and I have got used to it now, but I still love to get my foot down and wait for the variable valve timing to kick in. You can have so much fun overtaking in this car, just as long as you realize you need to have your revs up and be in the correct gear, and its important to get the gear shift right as the rev limiter kicks in when it feels like, depending how hard the engines being pushed.

Now there releasing the Sport 182, which in a way I wish id waited to buy as the twin exit exhaust and extra 10bhp are attractive additions, but I could not have had the last 4 months of fun!

If your going to buy a Clio Sport your in for some fun, but don't expect it to be all plain sailing, don't be too disappointed if you have to keep visiting the dealership!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2004

29th Jan 2004, 06:09

Great review!

I've wanted a Clio 172 sport since one completely destroyed me in a race in my Peugeot 306 S16 (which is a rare thing!)

It's a shame to hear about all the niggles and dealership problems though, this puts me off a bit, I think I'll wait and get a 2nd hand 172 cup, at least then most of the problems will have been sorted!!

Happy driving!!

12th Jan 2011, 20:42

I agree with the above comments, in this top end range of cars, you think the manufacturer would use better materials. The interior of the Clio is far too plasticky, and what doesn't rattle falls off.

Yes, they are quick, and are quite forgiving if you get them out of shape (which is quite easy). I know exactly your feeling when big powerful cars see you tear past at pace, and it will surprise most in a tear up, leaving them smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. I only came unstuck once in mine, and when I saw the M-tech badge on the rear of the Beemer, I knew it was pointless.