Find a car review

Make
Model

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

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

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

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/mclaren/201759/new-mclaren-gt-review-woking-muscles-in-on-aston-martins-home-ground
McLaren

New McLaren GT review – Woking muscles-in on Aston Martin’s home ground

Is McLaren’s first grand tourer just a toned-down supercar, or something more nuanced and special?
17 Sep 2019
Visit/opinion/201760/its-time-car-makers-gave-us-the-wheely-good-alloys-for-free
Opinion

'It’s time car makers gave us the wheely good alloys for free'

The problem with the proliferation of alloy wheel choices is that it's exposing us to deliberately cack wheel design
17 Sep 2019
Visit/review/201600/milltek-volkswagen-up-gti-review-tuner-takes-supermini-to-145bhp
Review

Miltek Volkswagen Up GTI review

VW’s Up GTI is already a favourite of ours. Can Milltek’s upgrades improve it further?
16 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22773/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-chosen-by-those-in-the-know-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - chosen by those in the know

The perfect choice for those looking to extract every last drop of performance, we run down Goodyear's Eagle F1 SuperSport range
12 Jun 2019