Renault Clio GT

Does flagship's understudy match its sparkle?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

With its fresh front end and aggressive styling tweaks, the new GT ticks all the right boxes for hot-hatch fans on a budget. The interior also gives off the right signals, with its grippy bucket seats and sporty touches. However, it’s a shame that the lacklustre engine can’t live up to the racy looks. The GT is an unfortunate case of a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

If the Renaultsport Clio is too hot for you to handle, then take a look at the warm GT model.

It bridges the gap between the range-topper and lesser models, offering sportier looks and a sharper drive, but without the same thirst for petrol or the price tag of the flagship.

Our example immediately stood out thanks to its exclusive Malta Blue paint, 16-inch anthracite alloys and twin exhausts, while a gloss-black grille and chunky bodykit complete the aggressive styling tweaks. But the GT is more than just a pretty face.

For added body control, the front and rear springs have been stiffened by 15 per cent, and the power steering has been quickened for a more direct feel.

Two engines are on offer, the 1.5 dCi 106 diesel or a 126bhp 1.6-litre petrol unit exclusive to the GT. We tested the latter, which appears to be no slouch on paper, but in reality felt short of puff and produced a booming noise that became tiresome on the motorway.

The GT is sure to win many admirers for its looks, polished handling and excellent value, but it’s a shame that Renault didn’t see fit add another 25bhp. That would distance it further from the base models without threatening the 200.

Rival: Suzuki Swift Sport The small Suzuki serves up massive of fun and is excellent value. Its modern design cements the Swift’s place as an unexpected performance hero.

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