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Renaultsport Clio 197/200: Buying guide and review (2006-2012)

Renaultsport Clio 197/200: Buying guide and review (2006-2012) Classic and Performance Car
Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200
When the Renaultsport Clio 197 arrived in 2006 to replace the much loved Clio 182 it had big shoes to fill. Thankfully Renault has consistently managed to stay at the top of its game in the hot hatch sector, and the new car – now based on the Clio mk3 – was no exception. Despite its added weight, a more powerful engine and shorter gearing gave it an edge in acceleration. On the limit handling was perhaps a bit less engaging, however suspension upgrades and a mid-life update soon addressed these issues. 

By the end of production the Clio 200 had matured into a class leading hot hatch, it is still a viable daily driver and being the last manual shifting, naturally aspirated Renaultsport Clio makes it a tempting second hand buy for any nostalgic petrol head. 

Which Renaultsport Clio to buy?

The first Clio 197s were available in one specification level, a big step up from the previous generation, items such as keyless go, cruise control and air conditioning were all standard fare. Available in three-door body style only, the roomy Clio 197 was still a fair bit more practical than its predecessor, but tall passengers should still stick to the front seats. 

A year after launch the F1 Team R27 special edition was launched, other than unique red brake calipers and anthracite alloy wheels they also came standard with the newly released Cup chassis which transformed the handling dynamics. This became an option on all cars later in the year. The 197 Cup was also released the same year and was a stripped out standard car making do without most of the interior luxuries, it featured the Cup chassis and was £1000 cheaper as a result. 

Gearbox ratios were changed across the range in 2008, providing for less buzzy motorway cruising. Uprated synchromesh rings were also phased in as early cars could exhibit issues engaging third gear. A lux model was made available in mid-2008 most notably featuring leather seats, climate control and unique alloys.

A mildly face-lifted Clio 200 was launched in 2009 and introduced detail changes that amounted to a much improved car. Cosmetically, new bumpers, paint options and updated interior trim were introduced. Under the skin power was up by a marginal 3bhp but more crucially midrange torque was improved providing for a more flexible driving experience. The suspension received a major overhaul, with new front suspension geometry virtually eliminating torque steer and revised spring and damper rates providing a more supple ride. 

For a well-resolved car that offers a great blend of what makes so many Renaultsport hatchbacks great, the face-lifted Clio 200 is hard to beat. The earlier 197 cars should not be dismissed though as they are still a lot of fun and can be found at a substantial saving over later cars. Although for our money we would look for one with a Cup chassis and make sure that the gearbox is in good fettle.

Performance and specs

Renaultsport Clio 200
Engine 1998cc 16valve DOHC I4 
Power 197bhp @ 7100rpm 
Torque 159lb ft @ 5400rpm
Top speed 140mph 
0-62mph 6.9 seconds 
Fuel consumption 34.4mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2585mm
Length 4017mm
Width 1768mm
Height 1484mm
Curb weight 1204kg

Common problems

• The gearbox synchros came in for some criticism for being a bit fragile on earlier cars and 2008-on models featured revised components but issues can still crop up. Changes should generally be smooth on both version once the gearbox oil has warmed up.
• Engines are robust however be wary of aftermarket modifications as gains are small and free flow exhausts and modified intakes can make the cars very noisy. 

• Cars approaching the 72,000 mile mark will require an expensive cambelt service, factor this into the pricing. 
Fuel consumption is right foot dependant although don’t expect modern day levels of efficiency.

• Look out for warped rotors, front tyres that are excessively worn on the outside edges and excessively stone chipped front ends. These all indicate excessive track use.

• Suspension systems and brakes can wear out quickly if a car is tracked regularly. Knocking noises from the front of the car may indicate a failing steering rack but are not too pricey. Steering link rods can wear out regularly and are also not prohibitively priced.

• Interior trim can wear around the seat bolsters and on the steering wheel. Creaks and squeaks are generally normal but anything louder should be investigated.

Model history

2006: Renaultsport Clio 197 launched
2007: F1 Team R27 special edition released with standard Cup Chassis, Cup Chassis optional on standard cars. Stripped-out 197 Cup released featuring fewer luxuries and a Cup Chassis
2008: Lux version introduced with leather interior, climate control and auto-on lights. Gearbox ratios revised across the range
2009: Renaultsport Clio 200 launched with revised bumper, headlights and interior trim. Improved mid-range torque, uprated front suspension including softer settings on standard cars. Satnav and sunroof become available as optional extras
2012: Final Renaultsport Clio 200 rolls off production line

Clio special editions

Silverstone: Cup Pack, silver paintwork with black roof.
Gordini: Unique blue paintwork with white stripes
Raider: Leather seats, Megane R26.R alloys and red or matt grey paintwork

Owners clubs, forums and websites

www.cliosport.net – Enthusiast site for all Renaultsport Clio models
www.clio197.net – Enthusiast site for 197/200 Clio models
www.renaultsport.co.uk/forum – Renaultsport forums for all models

Summary and prices

The earliest cars start at £3500, admittedly a very tempting entry point that will see you behind the wheel of a high mileage Clio 197. For a few thousand more though you can get one of the face-lifted Clio 200s which offer a more polished drive. The lowest mileage 2012 cars can be seen for between £9500 and £12,000, with limited edition versions generally commanding a few hundred pounds more. 
Cup chassis equipped cars are more planted though even standard versions handle well and can offer a more compliant ride. There is a lot of choice out there so take your time and get the car that is right for you.

The Clio 197/200 models are sporty all-rounders, offering a raw analogue driving experience that some enthusiasts still prefer over the current, refined, paddle shifting, turbocharged Clio RS models. A future classic in the making, now is the time to get one. 
Words: John Tallodi 
Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200 Renaultsport Clio 197/200
Last updated: 19th Aug 2016
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Renault Clio
1500 22995 GBP
  • Renault Clio Sport Cup 197

    £5,250 £5,250

    Great condition . FSH , Mot Feb 2018 cambelt and waterpump done 52k just had two new tyres and rear brakes done £5250 ono

    • Mileage: 55000 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale

    £2,995 £2,995

    182 BHP - 0-60- 6.9 SECS -FULL DOCUMENTED SERVICE HISTORY - NEW SERVICE AND CAM-BELT., Next MOT due 08/05/2018, Full service history, Excellent bodywork, Interior - Excellent Condition, Tyre condition Good, Climate Control, Cruise Control, Computer (Driver Information System), Alloy Wheels (16in), Electric Windows (Front), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD), Upholstery Cloth/Leather, Alarm. 5 seats, Black, Excellent Finance Rates - Warranties- Professionally Valeted -Viewing by Appointment,

    • Mileage: 75000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale
  • Renault Clio

    £6,500 £6,500

    Air Conditioning, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Central Locking, Cloth Upholstery, Colour Coded Interior, Height Adjustable Seat, Retractable Headrests, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, ABS, Air Bag, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Twin Air Bags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Wash/wipe, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, MP3 Player, Radio, Stereo, HPI CHECKED AND CLEAR, Cambelt Changed, 17'' Alloys, Full service history FUTURE CLASSIC!!!! Renault CLIO Cup with 2.0 engine and 6 speed manual gearbox, 17'' Alloy wheels, Brembo Brakes, Cup Chassis, CD Player plus much more. This Clio comes with FULL Service History including Cam Belt, Water Pump and Tensioners, HPI Check, approved pre-delivery inspection and comprehensive RAC warranty for your peace of mind. Part Exchange is welcome and Low rate finance is available upon request. This Renault Clio can be viewed at our showroom in Chichester, West Sussex. Call us today for a test drive, WE ARE OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK!

    • Mileage: 49950 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale
  • Renault Clio

    £3,500 £3,500

    Two Owners, Service History, Air Conditioning, Twin Sunroofs, Climate Control, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Height Adjustable Seat, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Wash/wipe, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Headrests, We provide an Inclusive Parts & Labour Guarantee, Extended Guarantees are Available, Delivery Available at cost, Service history OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK - A SELECTION OF UP TO 200 CARS AND VANS AVAILABLE. Click on dealer 'VISIT WEBSITE' link for many more large photographs of this car. We are a West Sussex Trading Standards Approved 'Buy with Confidence Dealership', West Sussex Trading Standards 'Approved Buy with Confidence.

    • Mileage: 92184 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale

    £2,250 £2,250

    RENAULT Clio RENAULTSPORT 182 16V finished in Blue (Manual), 109,100 miles only 3 previous owners from new, MOT 25 03 2018, part service history, 2 key, 3 months warranty, free 12 months AA breakdown cover , please call for more details;;Only GBP 2250;;

    • Mileage: 109100 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale

    £4,495 £4,495

    2007 (57) Renault Clio Sport, 2.0 Petrol, Manual 6 Speed Gearbox, 197 BHP, Only Covered 90,000 Miles With Full Service History, Two Owner Car, Good Condition Inside and Out, Drives Very Well, Radio/CD, Adjustable Steering Column and Wheel, Front and Side Air Bags, Alarm , Alloy Wheels, Anti Lock Brakes, Body Coloured Bumpers, Remote Central Locking, 3X3 Centre Rear Seat Belt, On Board Driver Information System, Cruise Control, Deadlocks, Electric Windows, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Programme, Front Fog Lights, Immobiliser, Electric and Heated Mirrors, Power Assisted Steering, ISOFIX Anchorage Point, Drivers Seat Height Adjustment, Split Rear Seats, Factory Fitted Tinted Glass, 5 Seats, Sold With 12 Months MOT and 6 Months Warranty, Part Exchange, Finance and Extended Warranties Available, For More Information Please Call 01472 488029 Or 07871 627974 Or Visit www.camelotcars.co.uk For Full Stock Listings ;;Service History;01/10/2008 Sutton Park Renault 11,086 Miles;30/09/2009 Shakespeare Service Centre 19,634 Miles;21/01/2011 Sutton Park Renault 29,691 Miles;17/01/2012 Sutton Park Renault 37,684 Miles;07/03/2013 Sutton Park Renault 49,043 Miles;14/07/2014 Heneage Motor Company 57,321 Miles (Inc Cambelt);14/07/2015 John Smith Autos 70,509 Miles;23/06/2016 John Smith Autos 83,314 Miles;

    • Mileage: 90000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale
  • RENAULT CLIO RENAULTSPORT 197. From GBP 151 per month. 2007

    £4,995 £4,995

    Red / Black cloth sports seats;3 owners in total;Full service history;V5 doc;New MOT;Supplied with a cambelt replacement;Service book and handbooks;Part exchange welcome;Low rate finance arranged;;Finance Example: 36 Month Contract;Total Cash Price of Goods: GBP 4995.00;Less Deposit / Allowance: GBP 495.00;Amount of Credit: GBP 4500.00;Total Charge for Credit: GBP 935.28;;Total Balance Payable: GBP 5435.28;Total Amount Payable: GBP 5930.28;ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR) 13.5%;Repayment Schedule: 36 Monthly Payments Of GBP 150.98

    • Mileage: 69000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale
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