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

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

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
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m4/22869/new-2020-bmw-m4-throws-off-more-disguise-ahead-of-reveal
BMW M4

New 2020 BMW M4 throws off more disguise ahead of reveal

BMW’s next M4 coupe promises much, but will it deliver? Here’s everything we know so far
7 Aug 2020
Visit/bugatti/21646/new-bugatti-divo-deliveries-begin-ps44m-hypercar-hits-the-road
Bugatti

New Bugatti Divo deliveries begin - £4.4m hypercar hits the road

The very first examples of Bugatti’s Divo hypercar have rolled out of its Molsheim HQ gates
7 Aug 2020
Visit/news/20376/scuderia-cameron-glickenhaus-004s-order-books-open-for-674bhp-three-seater
News

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S: order books open for 674bhp three-seater

Announced in 2017, the road-legal Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S is now set to enter production later this year
6 Aug 2020
Visit/best-cars/15315/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps20000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £20,000 – evo garage

The evo team pick their favourite used performance cars
4 Aug 2020