Renault-Clio-RS200-v-Ford-Fiesta-ST-2

It seems like only yesterday we awarded the Ford Fiesta ST a win against its Peugeot 208 GTi and Volkswagen Polo GTI rivals (read more here), then went a step further by crowning it one of the best-ever hot-hatches created and one of the best available at any price. That may have been because it was only a couple of months ago…

But Australians love felling a tall poppy, and if there’s a car to slash the baby Blue Oval down it was always going to be the new, fourth-generation Renault Clio RS200.

French master Renault Sport has played a long and consistent game with its hottest Clio models. Until now, that is. The Phase 1 missed our shores, the Phase 2 arrived in 2001 but was replaced only a year later by a substantially facelifted model, while the Phase 3 came in 2008 and was discontinued last year. All had high-revving, non-turbocharged four-cylinder engines stuffed into a three-door body, with a manual transmission sprouting out of the console.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-10

The new Phase 4 Renault Clio RS200 gets a lower-revving, turbocharged four-cylinder engine in a five-door body, with a dual-clutch automatic the only transmission available. Philosophically, it could only be more different from its predecessors if it transformed into a rear-wheel-drive sedan … which might have actually pleased its purist following more.

While offering five doors and an auto is undisputably the ticket to sales popularity especially in this country, and the Clio RS200 is out to poach Polo GTI buyers, the new-generation model must perform the tricky balancing act of still offering the driving thrills a benchmark hot-hatch should.

The Ford does that brilliantly, but only offers three doors and a manual; the Volkswagen, not quite.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-37

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-7

Ford, and Peugeot and Volkswagen, have forced Renault’s hand to lower pricing. The previous Clio manual was available in hard-suspension Cup trim for $36,490, where the new car is $28,790 in the softer of two suspension tunes. No longer is climate control standard, as it is in the $25,990 Fiesta ST, but touchscreen satellite navigation is. The Ford also gets rear parking sensors, where disappointingly the standard Clio gets neither that or a rear camera.

Both climate and back sensors require buyers to part with an extra $5500 on the Trophy specification that also adds leather trim with heated front seats and R-Link app functionality and racetrack data logging. The system also allows different car sounds – such as a Clio V6 or Formula Cup car – to be channelled through the stereo, timed to match the revs of the actual car.

Or you can take a standard Sport and for $2500 extra choose the Cup chassis specification which lowers ride height by 3mm, tightens damping and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, up from 17s, and red brake calipers. That’s how our Clio RS200 was specified, priced at $31,290. A fourth option is to go the whole hog and add another $5500 to the Cup chassis for the Trophy equipment mentioned above.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-36

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-5

It’s a lot more simple in camp Ford. There’s no option for sat-nav, or leather, or an auto, or five doors. Looking at the Fiesta’s circa-2008 interior and its piano-black finishes with a Sony stereo seemingly modelled off a home theatre unit the decade prior, it will come as no surprise that there’s no app functionality either. Data logging? Car sounds? Depending on your perspective, the ST either needs no such gimmicks, or is simply living in a dial-up modem era.

In support of the former view, it seems the ‘Sport Technologies’ blokes at Ford of Europe have focused their attention on the tactility stuff that matters to drivers, such as gripping, lovely Recaro sports seats, a beaut little steering wheel and stubbly little gearknob.

The automatic versus manual debate is irrelevant when Renault fits tinny, clacky paddles to its hottest Clio and a tab on its gearlever that clicks in like a child’s toy gun. Otherwise the Renault interior smashes that of its rival, blending cool orange accents with high-resolution colour displays, slashes of chrome and piano black and neat bathmat-rubber plastics.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-11

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-15

There’s more rear-seat room, and obviously better access back there, while the 300-litre boot is 14L larger.

It is disappointing that Renault reduces its warranty for RS models to three years, unlimited kilometres, down from the five year, unlimited kilometre warranty offered in its regular models, though in this case it at least matches the Ford’s number of years and eclipses its 100,000km limit.

As part of each manufacturer’s capped-price servicing program, the Fiesta ST asks $305 for each of its first three services, annually to 45,000km, versus $299 for the Clio’s first three, still annually but with 10,000km intervals.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-13

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-14

Similarities between Renault Sport and Ford Sport Technologies continues under the bonnet, with both models utilising 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

The Clio makes 147kW of power at 6000rpm; the Fiesta 134kW at 5700rpm. The Renault delivers 240Nm of torque at 1750rpm, of which the Ford matches but makes across an astonishingly broad 1600-5000rpm. It also can match the Renault’s power and eclipse it for torque by a full 50Nm, for 20 seconds of pressed throttle at a time thanks to an overboost function.

Question: when in Australia can the throttle ever be kept pinned for more than 20 seconds at a time? Ford claims a 6.9-second 0-100km/h, 0.2 seconds slower than Renault’s claim for the Clio RS200. Regardless, the speed at which the Fiesta ST would be travelling after 20 seconds would be well past red and blue light territory.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-3

Perhaps it explains why, in gear, the Ford feels so much faster than the Renault. The Fiesta ST weighs 1197kg, slightly down on the 1218kg Clio, but not by enough to matter. It has to be the overboosted torque.

The Ford Ecoboost engine also sounds a lot better than that of its rival, with a deep intake warble that stays at a single pitch through the mid-range. It’s thanks to a ‘sound symposer’ not of the gimmicky variety, but a physical pipe that feeds the good noises into the passenger footwell.

By contrast the Renault engine has an industrial, slightly grainy soundtrack. The upside is lovely pops on full throttle upchanges, and burble and crackle when the throttle is lifted and revs are left to hang. The Fiesta ST could do with a fruitier exhaust.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-4

The Clio RS actually sounds at its best when launch control is used. Accessed via holding both steering wheel paddles back at the same time, the driver simply then needs to hold the brake and pin the throttle. The computers pin revs at 2500rpm, but the engine stutters like a racecar preparing for a dragstrip christmas-light countdown. It’s great to see a bit of mongrel in an otherwise sophisticated hot-hatch.

Launch control also no doubt helps the French hot-hatch achieve its excellent standing start acceleration time. It’s as effective and efficient as the dual-clutch automatic transmission is doughy and ditzy.

In normal auto mode, a soft throttle makes the Clio RS200 feel sluggish around town. Although the transmission is quick to upshift in this mode, no doubt to help achieve its 6.3L/100km combined cycle consumption claim, it’s slow to downshift when the throttle is prodded and slurs when doing so.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-26

Sport mode, therefore, becomes the default choice because it keeps the throttle lively and engine awake. But around town it hangs on to gears long enough to be annoying, yet during hard driving it doesn’t downshift aggressively enough when hard on the brakes heading into a corner.

More solutions await. Turn the RS Mode button to Race, which is available only using the manual tipshifter facility, and shift times are reduced from 270 milliseconds to 170ms. But if you want fast shifts – surely the point of a dual-clutch automatic – and gears to be held even if the rev limiter is nudged, Renault forces you to disable the stability control completely.

Otherwise, when either using the fixed paddles behind the steering wheel or the transmission lever tipshifter (which is the correct way around: push forward to downshift, back to upshift) the transmission mostly works fine. Well, except for the fact when, for example, a paddle is pulled to upshift to second gear at 6500rpm the computers won’t allow first to be selected again until revs fall below 4800rpm.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-32

In any gear, at any time, the Fiesta ST manual of course will permit its driver to perform a heel-and-toe downshift and whip the tacho needle up between the 4800-6500rpm zone in which the Clio automatic denies. To be fair, the Renault in higher gears is more amenable to permitting going back through ratios earlier, but it’s still not the crisp sporting automatic good enough to deny the existence of a traditional manual. The Fiesta ST also beats its rival’s claimed economy by 0.1L/100km, but its on-test 11.7L/100km extended that lead by 1.3L/100km.

Everything gels immediately in the Ford Fiesta ST. Its steering is perfectly weighted, wonderfully quick and hugely feelsome. The clutch take-up is a little high for some tastes, and the manual doesn’t have the short shift pattern of, ironically enough, the fabulous manual in the previous Clio RS, for example. But there are no complaints when the shifter is still slick and well defined.

There’s one setting for the throttle, too, and that setting is ideal, with the sort of crisp delivery to the right foot that rivals non-turbo cars unless the revs are really, really low. That said, the Fiesta ST pulls from 1200rpm, and hard from barely above that. Another 500rpm above its 6700rpm cut out would be sweet, but the same request can be directed to the Renault.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-18

Although the Clio RS200 Cup gets harder suspension than the Sport models, and lower-profile 18-inch tyres, it still rides more smoothly than the Fiesta ST. The Ford is very jiggly around town, though the Renault thuds a bit over expansion joints and smaller potholes too. The difference between them is more noticeable both over speed humps, where ultra-taut rebound damping in the Ford jolts the driver’s back, and sharp-edged imperfections, where it crashes slightly.

Critically, it is never annoying or hindering, and on a rough road at speed its first rate body control makes it feel hewn into the road surface, yet it never threatens to spit itself and its driver into the scenery.

One guest tester described the Fiesta’s ride as “on the upper limit of what is liveable”. It’s a perfect summary but one that arguably encapsulates how hot-hatches can just get to the edge of acceptable ride comfort if there are sizeable handling benefits. The same is true with the Renault Megane RS265.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-17

The Clio RS200 still has better absorbency at speed, and similarly high levels of body control, but the Fiesta ST has the handling edge.

Maybe its hardness helps, but the Ford communicates to its driver like few cars regardless of price. That allows the driver to dig deep into its amazing front-end sharpness and feel the grip levels of the excellent Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tyres, and once they eventually fade. When working the front end harder than you could in virtually any front driver, the rear end starts to dance ever so slightly, pivoting around to help the nose point.

In tight stuff, grab second, turn in, nail the throttle, and the torque vectoring control mimics a limited-slip differential like few electronic systems we’ve tested. It puts all its overboosted 290Nm to work fabulously well. There’s three stability control settings – on, Sport and off – and the middle one has complete trust in the chassis while curtailing only the dumbest of mid-corner throttle lifts.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-27

The Clio RS200 has different handling traits. Perhaps it’s only after driving a communications master, but the front end seems fractionally more aloof. Maybe that’s because the otherwise excellent steering is lighter, and shows up a slight vagueness not evident in its rival; maybe it’s because the suspension filters out more irregularities.

Whatever the case, the Dunlop SportMaxx tyres have less grip than the Ford’s in the dry, but they go well in the wet. They only amplify the wonderfully playful handling that results in the Clio RS200 being keener to oversteer than the Fiesta ST, bouncing from one side to the other during quick changes of direction where its rival stays flatter. Renault’s own torque vectoring system can be felt working, and working almost as well as the Fiesta’s, although its generally subtle stability control system interferes more often.

When everything gels and the transmission is in the right gear, the engine is on boost, the exhaust is crackling and the chassis is slightly sliding around, it remains an entertaining treat.

Renault Clio RS200 v Ford Fiesta ST-9

A champion hot-hatch all-rounder, the new Renault Clio RS200 blends a finer level of style, class, comfort, speed and handling than any other rival. It does, however, lack the sort of spark that has made its predecessors feel so special – particularly the 2005 Clio RS182, a personal highlight. In assessment terms, it also has a big chink down the middle of the car; replacing the manual with an auto only heightens the demands for a better effort than its dual-clutch.

The Ford Fiesta ST feels special. Maybe not in its cheap interior, though at $26K let’s not forget that it is actually cheap. But the spectacular handling highs easily offset the hard ride, and the engine and transmission soundly beat that of its rival. It may not please as wider audience as its swish French rival, but this segment is called hot-hatch for a reason, and when a hot-hatch can challenge the drive of cars twice and three times the price, the winner is clear.

Photography by Alex Bryden.

 

Ford Fiesta ST
 
Price: $25,990
Engine: 1.6 litre 4-cyl turbo petrol
Power: 132kW at 5700rpm
Torque: 240Nm at 1600-5000rpm
Transmission: 6-sp manual
0-100km/h: 6.9 seconds
Fuel consumption: 6.2L/100km claimed
CO2 emissions: 145g/km

Renault Clio RS200 Cup
 
Price: $31,290
Engine: 1.6 litre 4-cyl turbo petrol
Power: 147kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 240Nm at 1750rpm
Transmission: 6-sp dual-clutch automatic
0-100km/h: 6.7 seconds
Fuel consumption: 6.3L/100km claimed
CO2 emissions: 144g/km





  • Sumpguard

    I’d probably choose the Clio purely for the fact it looks so great. Otherwise they are so close it doesn’t really matter. The ford’s ride would get tiring in day to day use too. Both great cars regardless. Both need an interior upgrade though. The ford’s perhaps the better of the two .

    • Bagster

      The Clio needs an interior upgrade? It is a brand new model and the interior looks great. Refreshing after the bland VW fare

      • Sumpguard

        Each to their own. I don’t like the interior. Looks dated already.

  • Kampfer

    Well, one is manual only and other auto only… how many buyers actually cross-shop between them?

    • goku

      Me for one. The harsh sus on the ford ruled it out for day to day life. It’s fun, but that’s it. Clio sus soaks up all the bumps and begs for it to be driven hard, the comfort in the Clio is only let down by the lack of accomodation for broadshouldered people in the otherwise luxurious seats

  • sam

    For me the Renault looks fantastic inside and out and the Ford looks average inside and out.
    As great as the Ford is, not many people can live with hard suspension and 3 doors on a daily basis.

  • Zaccy16

    Great thorough review CA as per usual, every review i read of the fiesta ST it gets me longing for one more! no doubting the Renault is a excellent hot hatch and looks great inside and out (especially the rear of the clio) but the ford is cheaper and very desirable!

    • walkie86

      I’d have to agree, Zaccy. I’ve had the pleasure of driving both of these cars back to back on some good roads and the Fiesta is just great fun. It reminds me of my old Clio 182 and stays true to the “old school” hot hatch philosophy, even though it has a turbocharged engine.

      The Clio is also fantastic but in a different way. It is a much better daily driver proposition and is much more refined than the Fiesta and also past Clio models. The suspension in both Sport and Cup models is simply amazing in its compliance and ride quality.

      In fact, we just picked up our Sport Trophy for my wife today, which is a great compromise for us to share but if I had to choose one for my own car, the Fiesta would be it (mainly because I’d want a manual). But then again, second hand Megane 250s are getting close to the high-$20k mark, which would another strong consideration.

  • Rocket

    Sometimes simpler is better and I think Renault should have offered this car as a manual also. The over boost power and torque figures should be listed also as they are the max. Unless you are on an autobahn who is going to be flat out in top gear anyway for over 20 seconds as the review says.

  • Car Buff

    Daniel, Thanks for your great review. I am going to buy a Clio Sport Trophy for several reasons. I prefer Auto and really like the look (In & Out) of the Renault, plus 4 doors are a bonus. I do have one question for you though, if I opt for 18″ wheels as apposed to 17″ will this make any SIGNIFICANT difference to the steering feel, car ride dynamics, noise in cabin, or fuel economy?? By the way my other option was VW Polo GTI. Cheers,

    • Popper

      I test drove the one with the stiffer chassis and the 18s. I was expecting it to be too firm (e.g., for my dodgy back), but the ride quality was remarkable, perfectly fine and didn’t give me any grief at all.

      • Car Buff

        Popper, Thanks for your info I will take it on board, obviously I need to test drive the car first was just trying to find out from Daniel (the CA reviewer) that info about difference between 17″ & 18″ rubber, he drive’s cars day in day out and is the professional expert he would know the answers straight away, (or maybe I should ask his Mum!! see other Clio review Ha..ha LOL) so hoping he will answer my question. Cheers,

        • Peter.h

          There are no experts on this site; just people like you or Popper examining something then speak about in ordinary language. Truth be told, there will be almost no difference whatsoever between 17 and 18″. If you can tell a difference, you should work for the Blind Association (i.e. you’d have amazing senses).

          • Car Buff

            Peter.h, The “Expert” I was referring to is the author of this artical (Car Advice) Daniel De Gasperi, but I guess he does not reply to questions here. However I take your point on board that there should be “almost no difference” thanks. Cheers,

          • walkie86

            Car Buff – Dan does often reply, but he is overseas for the Detroit show for a week or so, so might not get back to you for a while.

          • Car Buff

            walkie86, OK understood thanks for that info. Cheers,

          • walkie86

            No problem.

            You do know that the 17″ and 18″ wheels are part of the different suspension packages (17s for Sport, 18s for Cup), right? I’d suggest that the suspension set up would have a great impact on ride quality than just the wheel diameter.

          • Car Buff

            Yes i know and understand what you are saying, but with the sport trophy there is a “option” to get 18″ low profile, the 17″ are standard. Cheers,

        • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

          Car Buff, i have the privilege of selling and driving these everyday. IMO i would choose the cup chassis as i would take it on club runs to track days etc.
          The tyre size makes no real difference but what does change is the suspension setups.
          the Sport chassis is softer (you can option silver 18″ alloys from the factory) but the Cup chassis can get a little fidgety on expansion joints etc but is nothing compared to the older model that was completley hardcore.
          both are easy to live with day to day but if you are doing longer distances and not doing track work, go the sport chassis

          • Car Buff

            Thanks Modern Man, and yes i am not doing track work so will go with the Sport Trophy, but oh how I wish they had “Gun Mettle Gray” or Oyster Grey as Renault calls it, as a colour option!! Cheers,

  • French Flair?

    Clio a good car but to –choose the Clio for the fact it looks so great– GET REAL the styling doesn’t flow at all and just looks awkward.!
    Fiesta : better looking
    better drive.

    • JooberJCW

      To me the Clio looks like an angry clown from the front.

      • TomW

        I’d have said it’s an angry bulldog.

      • Karl Sass

        Hahaha now that you mention it….

      • Bagster

        The Fiesta looks like a startled guppy

    • sam

      French Flair I think you are the only person I have seen anywhere online who claims the Fiesta looks good or better than the Clio. You are definitely on your own island with that opinion.

      • Sumpguard

        I don’t really dislike the ford but it is getting a bit dated now imo. As I said, both good cars but Clio for me. I’d prefer a manual trans though

      • bob

        Not really. I think the Fiesta looks fantastic also. Black out the wheels and lower it, like mine, and it looks amazing.

        • Phil

          Lower it? When it handles as well as it does, why mess with it?

          • lowered for looks

            Hey solely for looks, that’s fine.Phil

        • Ah my turn

          I prefer the “cleaner” looks of the Fiesta
          A bit plain but a far nicer shape overall.

      • Just above

        The 2 above don’t agree with sam.!

    • tezzer_j

      The Fiesta might be the better drive and even better value but to say the Fiesta looks better is bonkers!

      • ixlplix

        Fiesta looks miles better. If you actually use your eyes you can see the difference. (Just because it;s French doesn’t make it better looking)

        • French Flair?

          Thank you! Exactly ixlplix

  • Tom

    I liked most things about the Clio when I drove it, apart from the gearbox. With a manual, it would be 2 grand or so cheaper, so right on Fiesta ST money, and with a much nicer interior and better looking IMO. As a result of the gearbox though, I dismissed it as an option. Unfortunately, getting a test drive in an ST seems just about impossible. Now I guess the choice is down to a new ST or second hand Megane or Mazda3 MPS etc…

  • NM

    I would be interested what CA or anyone else for that matter thought if they were to compare Clio Trophy with Focus ST. I would think they are pretty close to each other now the Clio now has more doors and pricing would be reasonably close.

  • Tone

    I was expecting the last line of this review to say “Buy a Polo GTI instead”. Go figure.

    • sv666

      Veedud where left out after last weeks controversial decision to give the Rolf the chocolates over semi premium opposition.CA where showing there colours.

      • bart

        “You can’t handle there truth!”

        • bart

          Sorry “the truth”

  • Pete

    Hilarious how the Renault “fan boys” come on and rate any positive remarks for the Fiesta down.

    Firstly, whilst the suspension might be a little tauter than the Clio’s it is by no mean unliveable. Guys we are talking brand new cars here not second hand modified go-carts by the guy next door.

    Every review in the world whether it be in Europe, Asia or North America rates the Fiesta ST highly and the car to pick not only in its segment and price category but above all other brand new hot hatches for sale right now regardless of price. So you guy are telling me that these professionals who review cars for a living and have driven more machinery in a few months than you guys have had hot dinners are wrong? Are you kidding me?

    Renault got this latest Clio very very wrong and it won’t be the sales success they think it will be. Someone looking for extra space and more practicality is also practical with their money and would not value what an RS would offer.

    I saw the latest Clio RS on the weekend in the showroom whilst looking at maybe picking up a Megane RS and I can tell you the only humans that would fit comfortably in the back of the Clio are small children or dwarfs. People looking for practicality and space would not consider a Clio RS unless you are a weirdo. That is why so many people go out and buy these kind of cars and then sell them the following week on carsales with weak excuses as to why. Fact is they aren’t practical and nor should they be. They are aimed at a minority hardcore driver who doesn’t want to break the bank on a car they can enjoy driving through the twisties and still return reasonable fuel economy.

    I’m not a huge Ford fan, and not in the market for a Fiesta ST. But I take my hat of to Ford Europe, they have hit a home run with this car. The most hardest people in the world to please are the professional motor journalist. Damn they cant all be wrong and paid off around the world to love this car so much, even grumpy old Clarkson loves this thing.

    I also saw a red one on the road the other day (firs tone I’ve seen in the flesh) and I was so surprised as to how good it looked in the flesh, much better than pics online. Also if you know how to negotiate $25K drive away is a cinch! The only thing the car is missing is GPS, but if you own a modern day smart phone you won’t need it anyway.

    People also forget the Fiesta ST is built in Germany, and at that price point its pretty damn special.

    • Homer

      Don’t have the time, energy or care factor to critique your comment. Suffice to say you have have a very open mind, not.

    • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

      Hello Pete,
      Firstly let me say that i have driven both the clio and the st back to back, back to home and around the streets. i can categorically say that the fiesta is a better TRACK car and, although not as good as the older clio RS, a very good car.
      in saying this though the RS is outselling the ST within our dealership currently at 1.5 clio’s to 1 ST, this is solely due to the Customers wanting an auto 5 door car with performance for a value for money price. $2k for an auto and extra doors as well as extra features is a very good proposition.
      Also the motor writers do say that the pick of the small hot hatches is the Fiesta ST however as the guys at top gear showed, fun factor and rawness cannot always translate into performance. the clio was apparently the dullest of them all but went quicker in a straight line, faster around the track and was more livable.
      there will be people who say a manual and 3 doors is just what they are looking for or what we all should buy, but customers are not wrong with thier actual purchases and to normally get two people to agree on one car the more practical one tends to win 90% of the time.
      BTW i would buy a RS265 as i dont care about practicality. but i like to keep as much of my money as possible. unlimited budget would see me in a Jag XJ8 supercharged or a Lambo.

    • Neil_Way

      Don’t really agree with a majority of your points (and there’s no need to attack perceived “Renault fanboys”), but I would agree that the Clio is fairly cramped in the back. Seems so much smaller than the Fiesta and Polo.

    • I’ll take both

      No one will be getting a $25k driveaway deal when there’s a 4 month+ wait already. They’re selling more than they can get their hands on so most dealers will say take it or leave it.
      Haveing said that, I think both cars a great value for money at the RRP.

      • I’ll take both

        P.S. I spell good

    • Trophy

      ST Fiesta Fan boy ? If you can find one ( new ) at $25,000 drive away I’ll east a Clio.

      They should call the Fiesta the Guppy, coz it damn well looks like one ! Lol !!

  • Neil_Way

    Love the looks of the Fiesta, actually prefer the new Ford fascia when compared against the Clio. Shame we don’t receive the MyFord Touch system available for the US market though. Still unsure why Ford has decided to short-change customers in Europe and Asia.

  • justacar

    I have a Clio RS Sport Trophy. Got it because: 5 doors, EDC so wife can drive if need be, rarely carry more than 1-2 people but it can fit my 2 kids in the back, looks better (subjective). Didn’t get the Cup because it would be too harsh I think.
    Some ‘hot-hatch’ reviews have taken into consideration the ‘everyday drive’ factor and hence why the Golf GTI seems to win a lot of comparisons – it’s a good all-rounder but not trumps in any one thing (save perhaps build quality). So an an ‘all-rounder’ the Clio is better IMO. I haven’t driven the Fiesta but I read a lot of reviews both fron Aus and abroad and realise it is a better sporty drive but I don’t drive sportily 80% of the time.
    Just an opinion. Flame away …

    • realjarod812

      You pretty much summed up why I would get one. I currently own the last generation Rs Clio 200, and a great car that it is, it can be a bit rough for an everyday car.

  • nomanualnohothatch

    renault not even offering a manual option is a complete effing disgrace.

    • jake

      no it’s a marketting and cost decision

      • jake

        i mean marketing.

    • Megane 265

      Disgrace to Ferrari, Lamborghini, AMG, BMW Motorsport, Quattro GMBH and a few more names I cant remember now…Right??

      • filippo

        The difference is that Ferrari and the other companies mentioned offer a gearbox that lives up to the hype, not a half-baked job like Renault and VW.

    • Tom

      It just seems odd to me. They surely would have an off the shelf manual gearbox that would fit, such as the one out of the Megane, so surely they could have fitted that at not an unreasonable cost. It would seem a cheap way of giving the car a wider audience.

      • walkie86

        It’s a totally different engine so the RS Megane box won’t fit, “off the shelf”.

        The engine is actually shared with the Nissan Juke Nismo (not available here) which DOES come in a manual, so one would have to think that wouldn’t be too difficult to mate to the Clio. This is why I have hope that in the future, the RS Clio 4 will offer a manual.

    • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

      COSTS COST COSTS….
      There is a manual that hooks up to this engine already, however Renaultsport (who is actually a seperate manufactaer as per AMG and HSV etc) had a limited budget and had to prove their funding is justified went for a slightly more comercially viable option. Not unlike Porsche who were a supercar manufactuerer building an SUV. Sell more and stay in business is pretty much what dictated the shift.
      Also the manual Nissan put with this engine is nothing short of average so renaultsport would have had to redesign it to suit the character of a hot hatch.
      too many eggs for such a small basket of money, something had to give. remember it is a clean sheet design conceived and built through one of the toughest times in the european car selling sector. everything was scrutinised.
      Ford has a 5 year old car that has paid for itself yet they ONLY offer the three door and just one transmission as well and it i sthe cheapest one. what gives there? HAHA just joking, both went for different people and while one will take the reigns off the previous model Clio and try and tame the horse, the other will sell more in the long run. Lets face it VW have been doing this for a while now to great effect (albeit at a slower terminal speed)

      • filippo

        I doubt it’s a cost issue at all. In the context of how much
        money Renault spends in having different RS models and engines, I’m sure the
        cost of retaining a gearbox from a previous model is a pittance.

        What I suspect
        Renault is doing is making a point, much like VW did with the Polo GTI. It’s
        like when Apple released their own maps application with iOS6. They could have
        kept Google maps, but wanted to force people to use their new technology. Renault
        realise the risk they are taking and maybe even have a production-ready manual
        version in case things go pear-shaped. But in the end they are hoping that the
        sales they pick up in Australia will be greater than those they will inevitably
        lose from existing RS owners (especially in Europe).

        • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

          obviously costs and money is not your forte.
          gearboxes are not a straight swap as you think.
          They need to be engineered to match the specific engine block (a 2.0 engine gearbox may not match a 1.6l engine block very easily.)
          Plus they need to make sur ethe gear ratios and diff ratios are aligned with the engine charectaristics.
          (i.e. Turbo vs NA)
          this all take engineering time and therefore money.
          lets say it take approx the same amount of time to engineer both transmissions to the right standard that you or i expect, yet the projected sales volume based on ACTUAL market research and not just blogs etc, states that 20-30% of sales would be manual, why would you make both if you could excel at one?
          This is exactly the reason that Ford DO NOT offer an auto behind the ST when they clearly have one for this engine in the Kuga.
          Specialisation is very common with most thisngs in the world.
          Do you want your heart surgeon to also be a cancer specialist or would you prefer them to concentrate on one thing and one thing only so you know you got the best.
          The Apple vs Google maps thing is a bit different, Google released their own phone (not redily available in aus yet) and wanted extra money from Apple who were not willing to pay.

          • Car Buff

            Hey Modern Man, Just to change the subject for a moment. Could Renault Australia Lobby HQ to add a couple of colours to the Clio RS 200 range, Maybe “Oyster Grey” and “French Blue” this would certainly improve the sales I think? Cheers,

          • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

            Yep, not alone on that front. we used to have french blue in the old model which i think would look great in an RS version of the new one.
            The reason for no grey in the RS clio is that it is seen in France as a very PSA colour and peugeot and citroen tend to use it alot in their advertising and brochures, hence they try to stay away from it.
            i still love oyster grey, and they do use a similar colour (Lunar Grey) on the 265. hopefully just a matter of time.

          • Car Buff

            Modern Man, Thanks for the feedback. If Renault get lots of requests from Australia and around the world they will include these colours, but unfortunately it will take time and be to late for me! Cheers,

          • justacar

            I wanted the Oyster Grey and was bummed when it wasn’t availble.

          • walkie86

            Oyster and Lunar Grey are the same colour, just named differently in various markets (unfortunately not available on the Clio RS).

            And I wish the Clio 4 RS came in French Racing Blue :-(

          • filippo

            No need to get personal Modern Man. It’s an opinion, as is yours.

            I just don’t believe cost is the deciding factor. You can disagree with me, but please try to control your emotions.

          • justacar

            I don’t think he’s being personal. Modern Man mentioned he works at a dealer which sells both Ford and Renault so he has some industry knowledge and it pointing out you are wrong. That’s not a personal atack IMO.
            My opinion is that everything has a cost, sl different drive train needs different production line. R&D. Churning out the same thing is the cheapest.

          • filippo

            “obviously costs and money is not your forte.” That wasn’t personal?

            Unless he sat in the Renault boardroom when the decision was made, then his opinion is no more valid than mine. Working in a dealership is so far down the food-chain it’s not funny. I never attempt to pass my opinion as fact, which is a piece of advice I would like to pass onto others.

            He said that everything comes down to costs, but if that were true, then why does any manufacturer offer a transmission, engine, AWD or FWD choice? Why does VW still develop Golf GTIs/Rs with different transmissions? The answer is never black and white. Costs play a major part of course, but to think that it’s the only consideration is a little naive. If Renault were to only choose one transmission in the development of this car, a manual would have given them more worldwide sales.

          • TheRealThomas

            Funny you mention the boardroom comment because both modern man and myself happened to be in France with members of the Renault board and the cost issue was exactly the reason they gave us for not providing both transmissions.

  • Motorhead

    Being auto only makes the Renault out of the question for me, I’m not old enough for slushies yet & still enjoy driving. I’ve never liked small 4 doors either it’s much easier to get in & out of the larger doors of a two door than the cramped 4 door.

  • bri

    Just test drove both of these within 30 mins of each other (the Ford and Renault dealers were conveniently located next to one another). The Clio is good, but the Fiesta is awesome – leaves you smiling every time you hit the accelerator.

  • Gerrit Wagener

    You stated that the Fiesta is $10,000 less than the Renault Clio RS200. How do you get that?

  • Ross KO

    I used to work for Ford and driven Fiestas every day… they have bad handling and interior feels cheap… and mechanically they are not even average. I wouldn’t buy one.

  • davie

    clio rs can do 0-100 in 6.3-6.5 sec with launch control :) amazing

  • Bagster

    Personally I prefer the Clio as I am not keen on the Fiesta grill which is too big and gives it a startled guppy look. Thing is in NZ the Fiesta is $35k while the Clio is $45k which is crazy when for that price you can buy a low mileage RS265 which kills both of these.

  • RnD

    Fiesta ST, great driver involvement and great BFYB

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