2014 Renault Clio Cup Trophy review
Mark Higgins’ first drive 2014 Renault Clio Cup Trophy review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
In a nutshell The Renault Clio Cup Trophy adds premium equipment and improved ride and handling over the Clio RS Sport.
Practical Motoring says The track-focused Renault Clio Cup Trophy offers better ride and handling for those looking for a weekend trackday car that’ll also get them from A to B easily, but the $8000 premium might be a little hard for some to justify.
AT A GLANCE it’s hard to pick a Renault Clio Cup Trophy from the $8000 cheaper Clio RS Sport, so lets start with what’s different between the two.
Outside they look almost the same except the Cup Trophy bodyshell is 15% stiffer and although you can’t see it, you sure can feel it. The Cup Trophy wears one-inch bigger (18-inch) alloy wheels and slightly lower profile tyres. There are red brake callipers, a reversing camera and that’s about it.
Like its less expensive brother, the Cup Trophy features large sweptback headlights, a black single blade and grey mesh grille and below the daytime running lights are built in to the full-width air intake, that also incorporates the front spoiler. Its profile highlights the sharply angled windscreen, long roofline, narrowing side windows, large C-pillars, puffed rear guards and black 18 inch alloys with liquorice strap profile tyres. At the back there’s the large F1 inspired diffuser that delivers 80 percent of the rear downforce and two large rectangular exhausts, one on each side.
Inside; and again is familiar aside from the leather pews in the Cup Trophy as opposed to cloth in the RS Sport and the R-Link system in centre of the dash. Red highlights and stitching throughout the cabin lift the black and grey interior and the three spoke, black leather steering wheel has a ‘straight ahead’ red band stitched to the top. Behind the wheel are the metallic grey shift paddles. The leather clad sports seats are cosy and supportive, and the adjustment range of the wheel ensures a comfortable driving position is quickly found.
The Clio has ample leg; head and shoulder room up front, but behind things become more cramped with little leg and headroom. The smallish 300-litre boot doesn’t house a spare tyre, just two bags for the glue and compressor to get you out of trouble, or roadside assist if you don’t want to get grubby.
The instrument cluster consists of a large central digital speedo, a black faced red needle fuel gauge on the right and a grey faced red-needle tacho on the left. Between the two is the indicator light for the RS drive’s three modes – normal which is the default setting, sport and race, plus the multi information display that’s operated by buttons on the end of the wiper stalk.
Next to the instrument binnacle and above the console is the R-Link touch screen that has the sat nav, Bluetooth, audio streaming, phone and audio controls and if you hit the menu button up pops the RS Monitor 2, which is what really sets the Cup Trophy apart from the lesser Clio models. This piece of computer wizardry will keep any tech-head or boffin amused for hours on end with the menu button revealing a variety of dials, histograms, graphics that can be tailored, so the driver receives a smorgasbord of real-time data including: Torque, power, water temperature, intake air temperature, turbo pressure, throttle valve aperture, brake pressure, steering wheel angle, engine speed, transmission oil temperature, temperature of EDC clutches and wheel torque.
It also displays acceleration times to 50km/h and 100km/h and standing time starts to 400m and 1000m as well as 100km/h to zero braking times. A ‘G’ Force diagram is included and shows you longitudinal and lateral acceleration, with maximum recorded values. And to impress your mates, screenshots can be saved on a USB stick.
Real-time wheelspin, torque and power curves can be seen plus a diagram of the EDC transmission internals including the selected gear, pre-selected gear and clutch temperature. We’re not done yet, there’s also a stopwatch, which can be activated manually or automatically by GPS system and a track layout can be uploaded from a USB stick.
But wait, there’s more! It also indicates distances covered by the tyres, dampers, brake pads and discs since their fitment. Then there’s driving tips, a shift light that adjusts the timing of gear shift indications, steering inputs that are recorded during a track session and matched to GPS coordinates. Everything can be recorded and up to one hour’s driving time stored on a single 3MB file. And finally, you can prepare for track sessions by saving track layouts onto the USB stick using the RS Replay website. All that’s missing is the race car transporter and pit crew.
The Cup Trophy shares the RS Sport’s 147-kilowatt (at 6000rpm) and 240Nm of torque (at 1750rpm) direct injection, 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine and twin-clutch six-speed gearbox. It sprints to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds, (which the RS Monitor agreed to within one tenth) and has a top speed of 230km/h. Claimed fuel consumption is 6.3L/100km (combined) but we only got 9.2L/100km and the engine note is amplified and piped into the cabin via a mechanical membrane.
The stiffer body and lower profile tyres can be felt as soon as you get behind the wheel and one consequence is the rear hatch sometimes groans over uneven surfaces. Another is that you feel every ripple on the road demonstrating the Cup Trophy is built with billiard table smooth racetracks in mind and not much else.
On the plus side, there’s no body roll or pitching and if you throw it at a racetrack, flowing corners or twisty roads, the Clio Cup Trophy will delight. The wide stance, a wheel at each corner, grippy tyres and electronic differential give the Cup Trophy agility, poise and assurance behind the wheel. The progressive 320mm front and 260mm rear disc brakes harness the power very effectively.
And despite its stiff ride, it still makes you want to drive the long way to your journey’s end, just like the Clio RS Sport did. Even though it has a track focus the Clio Cup Trophy has a premium feel and is well equipped with cruise control with speed limiter, keyless entry and start, climate control air-conditioning, heated seats up front, automatic windscreen wipers and headlights, sports body kit, paddle shifts, the R.S. drive with normal, sport and race mode, sports body kit, R-Link information unit and 18-inch alloys.
The five-star ANCAP rated Clio RS Sport has front, side and curtain airbags, anti-whiplash design headrests, ABS with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Traction Control, Cruise control with speed limiter and Hill Start Assist and a reversing camera.
It has a 3-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, three years roadside assist and capped price servicing for just $299 per year for the first three years.