Renault Clio 138

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

Renault Clio 138
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).

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

Most Popular

Used car deals of the week
Used car deals main
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
2 Dec 2021
Aston Martin V12 Vantage officially coming in 2022
V12 Vantage teaser
Aston Martin Vantage

Aston Martin V12 Vantage officially coming in 2022

Aston Martin’s dreamy small body/big engine combo is back, a new V12 Vantage is coming next year
1 Dec 2021
Morgan shows off new 3 Wheeler in designer sketches
Morgan 3 Wheeler prototype 1
Morgan 3 Wheeler

Morgan shows off new 3 Wheeler in designer sketches

Morgan's given us a look ahead at its new 3 Wheeler
2 Dec 2021