Renault Clio 138

138bhp warm hatch Renault Clio bridges gap to range-topping Renaultsport Clio 197

Evo rating
Price
from £12,810
  • Feisty engine, supple chassis
  • Lifeless steering

If there’s one thing our experience of the Clio 197 has left us crying out for, it’s more power (or, more specifically, more torque). So, at first glance, a Clio 138 may not appear to have a lot to offer.

In fact, the truth couldn’t be more different. The Clio Dynamique S 138, to call it by its full name, is quite terrific in isolation, and still pretty impressive when you line it up alongside the 197. Its 2-litre VVT engine pulls cleanly from 2000rpm, with a torquey delivery that makes it feel quicker than the 197 in normal driving. The chassis is neat and responsive, too. It resists understeer well and the rear always seems involved in hooking you into the apex, the optional traction control remaining very unobtrusive (good job, as it’s not switchable).

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Push really hard and things start to lose their sheen. The supple suspension can’t control the mass of the body over crests and suddenly you feel that the chassis can’t keep up with the feisty engine. Like the 197, it also suffers from light, lifeless steering.

Having said that, these faults only become apparent on very testing roads. Most of the time the 138 feels quick, nimble and great fun. It might not set your trousers on fire, but it’s an endearing and effective warm hatch.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1997cc, 16v
Max power138bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque143lb ft @ 3750rpm
0-608.5sec (claimed)
Top speed127mph (claimed)
On saleNow
Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/renault/clio/201841/all-electric-renault-zoe-rs-to-replace-clio-rs
Renault Clio

All-electric Renault Zoe RS to replace Clio RS?

11 Oct 2019
Visit/renault/clio/22182/all-new-2019-renault-clio-revealed-to-rival-next-peugeot-208
Renault Clio hatchback

All-new 2019 Renault Clio revealed

29 Jan 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/best-buys/202007/best-sports-cars-2020

Best sports cars 2020

If you value driving thrills but can't stretch to the price of a true supercar, a sports car could be the ideal middle ground
29 Nov 2019
Visit/auctions/201922/ultra-exclusive-mclaren-senna-gtr-stars-in-rm-sothebys-abu-dhabi-sale

RM Sotheby's Abu Dhabi auction highlights

Yet another RM Sotheby’s auction is on the horizon, and we’ve picked out the top lots 
29 Nov 2019
Visit/jaguar/f-type/22839/2020-jaguar-f-type-revealed
Jaguar F-Type

2020 Jaguar F-type revealed 

An updated Jaguar F-Type has been revealed with a consolidated engine range and new front end
2 Dec 2019
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019