11th Jan 2007, 10:06

The problem with the 197 is the engine and the driving experience, its substantially slower than the outgoing 182 model, not just a fraction, its really noticeable from the drivers seat. Couple that with the lack of feel through the steering wheel and you have a nice car, but it fails to impress the driver.

I am very sceptical about how much weight they can lose from it because the car is already a very basic spec similar to the old Cup versions with cloth seats, poor stereo, manual air con, no xenons or auto wipers / lights etc.

I accept that it does handle well because unlike most cars, the suspension has been tuned for British roads.

However Autocar are alone in their praise of the car, their sister magazine EVO rate the new Mini Cooper S higher and say the 197 is inferior to the old 172 and 182s.

Auto Express also rate the Mini higher, again stating that the 197 lacks poke to haul its weighty body along.

The Williams, 172 and 182 were all best in class in their day and the 197 cannot join them in the hall of fame.

I have only seen 1 197 on the road and I live in a large city, they are not selling well. The success of the model depends on the upcoming Civic Type R. The 182 managed to keep up with the old Civic and was a superior drivers car, lets see how the new Civic fares against the 197.

30th Apr 2007, 10:00

I bought one in February and initially thought it a bit under par, it felt like there was turbo lag or something?! But I think it's just getting used to a different car. When you properly plant your foot on the loud pedal, it really does go!

I had a Xsara VTS previously and loved the noise and immediate urgency, but it was always tiring on longer journeys. The Clio is actually quite good and comfortable on long journeys.

The thing I can't get over is how big it feels inside for a so called supermini!!! There's plenty of room for 4 which was a major pre purchase concern for me.

I love it and it certainly looks the business.

30th Apr 2007, 13:25

I have just bought a 197, upgraded from a 172 Cup which I owned from new for 3 years.

The 197 represents a new era of hot hatch. Refinement, build quality and safety are becoming more important to car manufacturers. Gone are the days of the tiny car with the mental engine!

All I ever seem to hear are complaints or biased comments referenced from a few reviews (Evo) from people that don't actually own the car or have never driven one.

Accept the fact that your 172/182 has as many faults (if not more) as my 197. The people that I have spoken that actually own one, love them!

22nd May 2007, 09:39

Instead of making comparison's to cars that can no longer be purchased new (172 / 182) please can we have more information about the 197. I previously owned a 182 and am more interested to know facts about the 197. I know the new civic type r is being banted around in comparison, but you can buy a new 197 for under 14k which is substantially less.

27th Sep 2007, 11:38

Is this just before the engine on your Scooby blows up and needs a rebuild?

28th Sep 2007, 07:49

Is this just before the engine on your Scooby blows up and needs a rebuild?

You are joking. Scooby's are just about the most reliable cars on the road, they just don't break...Period.

1st Oct 2007, 10:39

I didn't say that the clio image was any different and in fact I agree with you on that point. I would disagree strongly on your second point because it is clear that many of these drivers are very young and aptly fit the categories listed. The amount of power tampering with these cars is behind believe and the evidence of rebuilt or re-con engines stated in sale advertisements is certainly not what sensible adults would do.

2nd Oct 2007, 05:08

Yes you are right, but I was answering a queston about image, I see many family men driving around in their STI's, I don't see many younger drivers to be honest, it can be disappointing when often you pull up beside them and see their kids in the back.

8th Nov 2007, 09:44


I'm the guy who wrote the original review (which everyone hates lol)

I think the issue is that the 197 is heavier than the old car so the initial bite of the engine is less impressive than the old car.

The point I tried to make is that with the gearing and higher rev limit it feels a lot faster. You get through the box quickly and in these days of speed cameras I think it is nice you can get that trill without mounting up silly speeds.

I main thing I liked about it was the handling. I have never driven anything which was such a pleasure to go around corners in. You can really push it and still feel safe. Since taking out a 197 I also drove the new civic type R. Like the clio it lacks low down grunt, but the handling isn't even on par with the clio.

I would still have one if I was in the market for a hot hatch of this type. I prefer it to the corsa (although I haven't driven that).

Since last year though I have gone off renaults and moved onto Alfa's. I have put a deposit on a 147 GTA. It is the total opposite to the 197. Blisteringly quick, but not great in the corners (You can drive it fast, but you have to work much harder)

It is all a matter of opinion anyway. I think you should get the car that appeals to you. Some people like Japanese cars, some like 182's, some like 197 and some like Alfas. They are all different and appeal to different people.

9th Nov 2007, 10:45

Nobody likes Alfa because they're rubbish and you're making a big mistake buying one. A new set of tires every 3 days, only good in a straight line, and losing value all the time. Buy a Focus ST2, a Civic Type R or an Astra VXR instead (the VXR is better looking than the Alfa, puts its power down better, and it's faster).

12th Nov 2007, 12:37

You are wrong my friend. I will accept that it is not the best in its class, but it has so much character. The electrics do a pretty good job of keeping it on the road and personally I think it drives very well. The main thing is that it sounds like a proper powerful car which the astra does not.

It did however develop a fault within about 30 minutes of ownership which isn't a good start.

I would say the alfa is loads better looking than the astra anyway.