This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Renault Clio Renaultsport (13-16) review.

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The Renaultsport Clio has always had a 2.0 16V engine. This produced 172 bhp when it was launched in 2001, but was uprated by 10 bhp, to 182 bhp in early 2003. Performance figures are impressive. The 172 gets to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and onto 138 mph; the 182 has a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 139 mph. Cup and Trophy versions are lighter and quicker – 60 mph comes up in 6.9 seconds with both versions; top speeds are identical.

Lines up well with its rivals.

The 182 excels when it comes handling. The chassis is superb, allowing the driver to take bends confidently and with some speed. Steering is quick and precise and the gearbox is well matched to the engine. This hasn’t been sacrificed at the expense of ride comfort, which remains comfortable enough for day-to-day driving on normal road surfaces. Optional Cup upgrade tweaks the chassis for even more focus.

The 182 Trophy model is the best of the lot, but only 500 were brought into the UK between June and September 2005. It’s based on the 182 Cup, but comes with a few chassis tweaks. The ride height is lowered further (the Cup is already lower than the standard 182) and race dampers – normally used only in competition cars – are fitted. This gives the 182 Trophy improved control at speed and improved traction.