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(3/5dr hatchback, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 2.0, 3.0 petrol, 1.5 diesel [Authentique, Expression(+), Dynamique(+), Billabong, Privilege, Initiale, Renaultsport 172, Renaultsport 172 Cup, REnaultsport 182, Renaultsport V6, Renaultsport V6 255]) (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 116
Many breathed a huge sigh of relief when Renault updated the Clio in 2001. Not that there was a great deal wrong with its predecessor, but with it went the naming conventions that made choosing a Clio about as straightforward as explaining Fermat's Last Theorem to Victoria Beckham. The 2001 model year car changed all that, bringing with it Renault's 'family' dihedral grille and big headlamps. As a used buy, this Clio makes sense to those looking for an affordable and fun supermini of the old school. The 172bhp and 182bhp models make cracking driver's cars and the V6 is a monster. The diesel models have sold well and these tend to attract strong residual values.
Modelsword count: 2
Historyword count: 339
The Mk 3 Renault Clio superseded a model that had only been on sale for three years but which had re-established the Clio as one of the pre-eminent superminis. When it arrived in 2001 it took a little getting used to, adopting twin element headlamps similar to those used on the SEAT Arosa. With built in indicator units, they form a huge pod smearing upwards and outwards. The grille was treated to a completely different look, representing the latest family face of the Renault brand as first seen on the ill-fated Vel Satis executive saloon. Two new powerplants were offered, a 1.2-litre 16v petrol and 1.5-litre dCi common-rail diesel unit, the diesel being initially offered in 65 and 80bhp guises, the petrol unit generating a straightforward 75bhp. At the opposite end of the range, the acclaimed Clio Renaultsport 172 underwent some changes aimed at improving low speed flexibility. At launch, the petrol-powered range comprised a 60bhp 1.2 8v, the 1.2 16v, a 98bhp 1.4, 110bhp 1.6 and the Renaultsport 172. Diesel buyers got the two 1.5dCi variants, bringing the Clio diesel range well up to date. A luxury Initiale version, reminiscent in spirit of the old leather-lined Monaco variants, also debuted in summer '01. A stripped out version of the Clio Renaultsport 172, designated the 'Cup' was launched in Summer 2002. The Renaultsport Clio V6 was uprated to 255bhp in spring 2003 and gained a number of chassis modifications to make it easier to drive as well as, belatedly, the latest Clio nose. Then, for the 2004 model year, the Renaultsport 172 received 182bhp and changed its name accordingly. A 100bhp version of the 1.5-litre dCi engine was introduced and the whole range received revised front bumpers along with various specification tweaks. Next to arrive was the lightweight version of the 182 - the 182 Cup. An all new Clio went on sale in October 2005, although this 2001 to 2005 model remained in production at Renault's Slovenian factory with budget models sold in the UK badged Clio Campus.
What You Getword count: 308
The original petrol-powered range consisted of a 60bhp 1.2 8v, the 1.2 16v, a 98bhp 1.4, a 110bhp 1.6 and the Renaultsport 172 2.0-litre (later 182), offered in standard and even sportier 'Cup' versions. The 3.0-litre Renaultsport V6 255 Clio tops the range and diesel buyers get to choose from various 1.5dCi variants - the power outputs were changed as the engines were tweaked to meet changing emissions regulations. As for trim levels, well, where to start - there are so many. Renault kicked off the Clio range with the Authentique and Expression trims with an engine choice that included the 65bhp dCi diesel engine that probably makes more sense than the 1.2-litre petrol units most buyers choose. Every model comes decently equipped with ABS, four airbags, power steering, electric windows, a four-speaker fingertip control stereo and so on - though if you want air-conditioning, you can only get it on Expression models - and then only by paying extra. At least at Expression level, you get a wider engine choice, including the faster dCi 80 diesel engine and the 16v petrol 1.4. If you've a bigger budget and can't be bothered with all that messing around, the Privilege and Initiale models will probably suit. As well as air-conditioning, you can expect to find items like an alarm, an electric glass sunroof, a CD stereo, alloy wheels, front foglamps, sports seats and velour upholstery. That leaves only the sportier versions, from the mildly sporty Dynamique to the banzai Clio Renaultsport V6 255. The Dynamique models are basically just cooking Clios with sportier clothes, but the Renaultsport 172 and 172 Cup models really are outstanding small performance cars in their own right as are the later 182 derivatives. The 182 Cup model is still viewed by many as one of the best hot hatchbacks ever made: it's that good.
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