Renault Clio GT-Line (2015) Review

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The Renault Clio range in South Africa has been bolstered by the arrival of the GT-Line model, aimed at bridging the gap between the Dynamique and the fiery RenaultSport. We had a seven day romance with a very blue Clio GT-Line and here's how it performed.

I get the idea behind Renault's GT-Line. The base model offers adequate performance, but you're after something that looks the part and you either don't want/ or can't stretch the budget to the performance RenaultSport model. Enter the GT-Line. It has all the features of the normal model, while visually it looks racy.

What's Different?

The new Renault Clio GT-Line is different to lesser Renault Clios mostly in the visual department. For starters, there's that lovely blue paint. There's also a new 17-inch alloy wheel design, and a more aggressive front end bumper.

This redesigned bumper has moved the daytime running LEDs to the bottom edges as opposed to the near centre LEDs in the other models. It also gets a rear diffuser. This makes it look like a RenaultSport model, which is not the worst thing in the world! Finally, the exhaust receives a redesigned chrome tip.

The engine gets a very mild tweak, but don't get too excited. Despite its RenaultSport scuffplates and sporty bodykit, performance is orientated towards economy. Renault SA claims its 0.9-litre turbocharged three cylinder gains an overboost function that gives it a little bit more grunt. Power is still rated at 66kW and 135Nm, but when in Overboost Mode (2nd & 3rd gear) the Clio GT-Line gains 4kW and 15Nm for 40 seconds.

Features

Renault really hasn't skimped on the features of the Clio range, and the GT-Line is no exception. There are very few cars in this class that are as well specced for this amount of money. Cruise control, speed limiter, satnav, touchscreen infotainment system, auto wipers, auto head lights, hands-free access and start, eco mode as well as a start/stop function are all standard.

It's very safe too, thanks to numerous airbags as well as ABS/ EBD/ ASC. We at Cars.co.za rate the Renault Clio highly in terms of safety and it ranked No 2 in our list of safest cars in SA.

How Does It Drive?

Despite the marketing material saying it's got a touch more power and torque, I'd be lying if I said I could feel a difference. I even resorted to phoning a mate with a normal Clio Dynamique and drove both cars back to back, and didn't notice the overboost in action. Does this bother me? Not in the slightest.

The Renault Clio is a fun city car which offers reasonable performance along with dashing good looks. It's so stylish, and in GT-Line guise even more so. It makes the Volkswagen Polo look positively ancient in comparison. Sadly, that's where the goodness ends as the flaws of the standard Clio I reviewed in 2013 are still apparent.

See, while I can appreciate the downsized engine in the name of economy and emissions, it requires patience and skills if you're to get anywhere near the claimed fuel consumption figure of 4.5L/100km.

In reality and driving like Joe Average in traffic I was averaging 6.1L/100km, even in Eco Mode. I suspect it's the little turbo engine working hard to shift the Clio GT-Line about. The moment you start hurrying about, the consumption figure will rise quickly.

Renault Clio GT-Line Price in SA

The Renault Clio GT-Line retails for R224 900. The price includes a service plan of 3 years/ 45 000km as well as a 5 year/ 150 000km warranty.

Verdict

The Renault Clio GT-Line is not vastly different from the lesser Clio models, but it's light years away from the RenaultSport model in terms of performance. I've heard rumours of the 1.2 turbo Clio EDC making its way to SA with considerably more power, but I feel pricing will be a little on the high side, so this GT-Line will have to do for now.

I give the Clio GT-Line full marks for looking even more handsome than the standard model, if that's even possible. It does the fundamental basics right with European dashing good looks, class-leading specification and top notch safety features. I have my doubts over the fuel consumption figures, but I'd fork over the extra R7 000 on top of the Clio Dynamique's R217 900 just for the looks alone.

Second Opinion

The Clio has been a remarkable performer for Renault SA, showing that French cars can sell well here, they just have to look amazing and undercut the competition with way more kit. The Clio GT-Line's slight power increase is probably not enough to be noticeable to the everyday driver but the spec is impressive and the styling makes it an eye catching hatch. The increase in pricing does move it quite close to the even more popular Polo however. -Ashley Oldfield

We Like: Beautiful looks, generous specification, top class safety

We Don’t Like: Performance increase is hardly noticeable, fuel economy is nowhere near claimed

Also Consider: Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai i20, Opel Adam

See a comparison between the Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i20 here.

Renault Clio GT-Line Specs

Engine 0.9-Litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol
Power 66 kW
Torque 135 Nm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Wheels 17-inch alloy wheels
0-100km/h 12.2 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed 182 kph
Fuel Economy 4.5L/100km (claimed)
Fuel Tank Capacity 45 Litres

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