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Clio Ownership; 6 Weeks in



  RB 182 Cup,E46 M3 CS
Hi Guys,

Just a quick update with some of my findings and thoughts after about 6 weeks of owning my Racing Blue 182 Cup. It's actually been more than 6 weeks but 6 is a nicer number than 7.7142. A little background, before buying I this little rocket I had never owned a hot hatch nor actually owned a supermini. I had access to a 2000 reg Ford Fiesta for a number of years as my primary car and it was brilliant (in some ways). So the 182 is my first foray into hot hatch ownership and indeed Renault/French car ownership! 600 miles in and here is what I have to say.
  • The Clio 182 is a good looking car
The facelift was a successful one (are you listening, Ford?) and this generation of Clio seems to have aged well. Add to that the extras that a 182/Cup pack/Cup bring and it is a nice purposeful little car.
  • Racing Blue is a good looking colour
This is quite a bit thing for me, I think Racing Blue really makes the Clio stand out and makes it look special. I know there are a couple of colours that have the same effect but as I own one in Racing Blue I've got to sing it's praises.
  • Racing Blue hides dirt well
Having owned a black car, I'm well versed in the art of being upset when the slightest amount of dirt spoils a freshly cleaned car. Somehow the Clio still looks relatively clean even when it is covered in winter filth which is a big thumbs up from me (you may beg to differ looking at the pictures below)
  • Visability is excellent and the body proportions make parking a doddle
The breadvan shape, short bonnet, lack of boot and small footprint all add up to make this car a joy to sling around in tight spaces (minus the turning circle, which might get it's own bold type bullet point later). I'd say it is probably the best car I've owned visability wise and that is always a big tick for me. I test drove a Megane 250 a few years back and decided the car wasn't for me on the titanic blind spots created by that body shape.
  • The turning circle is rubbish
I've got to be honest, this one took me by surprise having owned only rear wheel drive cars with different engine orientations for years. It makes perfect sense but the first time I tried to sling the Clio into a parking space I missed by a country mile.
  • The interior is rubbish
Yes we know, but I'm going to say it anyway. My personal favourites are the cigarette tray that keeps coming with the USB charger every time I pull the phone charging cable out and the steering wheel which is made out of the cheapest plastic I have ever seen, ever.
  • The steering wheel is rubbish
Yes we know again. It is too big, the quality is woeful and it is not a particularly attractive design. I completely get why people change theirs for aftermarket items or re-trim them but in the interest of originality I'll be keeping mine and moaning about it.
  • The steering isn't as good as I'd hoped
Ok shot's fired now. I had read many superlatives relating to the way a renaulsport clio drives and they all struck a chord with me. Having owned many Ford's I can say that steering feel, weighting and accuracy is important to me. I've always been a bit disappointed with my M3's steering despite it having the faster rack from the CSL, it feels slow, too heavy and slightly 'gloopy'. The Clio is a different brand of disappointment, it is pretty good but weighed down by two things that grate on me. Firstly is the size of that wheel, it is like piloting a container ship. Secondly is the self centering action, I feel like (at least in my car) it is too strong. For comparison, my favourite steering rack was the setup in the Mondeo ST220, light, accurate, perfectly weighted and with plenty of feel. The Clio's also sometimes feels a little vague but I'd like to drive it in the dry on a warm day to confirm this as most of my hooning has come on cold/damp/icy days like today.
  • It's an eager little thing
Yep, despite going through a couple of negative points I still love this thing. It is light, agile and quick. Having a large capacity engine in a light car is fantastic, all that extra torque makes it feel energetic in any gear which some petrol cars struggle with (and diesel at low RPMs before turbo saves the day). I bought the car to hoon around locally and it does that with aplomb.
  • Those ugly seats are comfy
Yes I bought a cup, yes it has the horrible fabric seats from the 90s. No I'm not going to swap the nicer leather and alcantara seats in. Keeping the cup a cup is part of the long game. The benefit of those cloth seats is that I think they'll wear better than the more special chairs in the regular 182/FF's. Despite the absence of lumbar support they are lovely to sit in. The only negative for the driving position for me is that the steering wheel (to my knowledge) doesn't adjust for reach so I feel like I am slightly too far away from it.
  • The engine isn't that special in most circumstances
I'll start by saying this; I am not an exhaust man. I never have been, but the Clio is the first car I've owned where I want an aftermarket exhaust. The engine itself is perfectly adequate, torquey at low revs and that nice timing change above 5000rpm ish. But it doesn't sound that special at low rpm and at high rpm everything is a bit boomy. Wanting to keep mine standard but needing a new exhaust anyway (my car is still on the original, or what's left of it) I will get an exhaust (still open for debate, I was looking at Janspeed catback until recently) but I'm not interested in any induction options even though that'd probably assist in easing my disappointment. The biggest annoyance of this lack of theatre is that when combined with the interior out of more cooking Clio's, when I am around town I feel as though I am just in your average 1.2 with no real cues as to the talent that lies within.
  • Torque steer
Torque steer was the biggest catalyst for going 'BMW', I used to get extremely frustrated at wrestling with the steering wheel accelerating in other high performance FWD cars and whilst it doesn't bother me in the Clio so much, it is there. The benefit of this setup is well known and I must say it is refreshing to not have to worry about putting a decent amount of power on mid corner or roundabout. In fact, it has been helpul in some instances (see following bullet point).
  • My Clio is remarkably tail happy
As with most points here, the lift off oversteer capability of many a hot hatch have been discussed many times before. But I have never really encountered this phenomenon. What I do have is a car with brand new Uniroyal Rainsport 2's on the front and some less shiny ying yang ling long's on the back. The result is hilarious but not a crowd pleaser, at quite sensible speeds on wet roundabouts the car will be going sideways without any real provokation. Thankfully FWD saves the day and a helpful dose of the loud pedal get's us pointing straight again. It is a trait that I would like to remove though, and I am the biggest advocater for good tyres so this will soon be rectified.
  • My Clio is not particularly economical
Yes this is a tuned engine of reasonable capacity, but 27mpg out of my last tank wasn't particularly impressive. More data is needed for me to properly gripe but I was expecting low 30's even though many journeys had been done on cold days over short distances. I would expect a 2 litre 4 cylinder engine in a car weighing a middle aged woman over a tonne to return mid to high 30's without trying too hard. This could be down to a variety of factors I know, but still.
  • I am glad I bought one rather than an EP3
This was the other car that met most of my criteria when I was searching. I had convinced my brother many years ago to buy an EP3 over an RX8 and whilst I think it was the right choice, I also found the Civic to be boring and ugly. I have exchanged much banter with my neighbour on the subject (him owning a recent Type R and now an EP3 too), but in my opinion the Clio is the better car. What do I wish the Clio had? The lovely EP3 gear knob/gear shift, it is a thing of beauty in my eyes and maybe the engine too. Oh and the reliability. But the Civic was a car that in non-type R form was only owned by people over the age of 96 and the nose is proper ugly. I also think like ginger people that Honda's don't have souls. Please feel free to hate me. That car was a hoot when VTEC did it's thing but day to day I would have not enjoyed ownership as much.

That's just about all I can be bothered to waffle on about for now. If anyone actually read all of this please feel free to tell me why I'm wrong, disown me from the forums or digitally high five me for pointing out the obvious. I just felt like having a blow off after taking my first proper drive in it today, half way up the Cat & Fiddle to look at a sky without clouds (a rare sight for me these days). Pictures below, which sadly for me have demonstrated just how much this thing needs a decent clean or maybe even a professional detail, it has obviously been washed by a gorilla for most of it's life.

Janaury18 128 (2).JPG

Janaury18 134 (2).JPG

Janaury18 137 (2).JPG
 
  PH1 V6
Well worth doing mate, and get a ceramic coating on it. It'll thank you when you come to wash it, it's much easier.
 
Need to get an inductiion kit, after market exhaust and a small wheel. It'll feel and sounds so much better for it.

I understand the whole oe mint thing but you can always return to standard when/if you sell it on.

Oh and poly Bush the dog bone, easily the best value mod these car can have. Sharpens the gear change up so much.

Love the RB's such a great colour in the flesh.
 

imprezaworks

ClioSport Club Member
  Mk5 Golf GTI :)
Will look through your post again. But.

Smaller wheel required, standard is s**t.
Economy. I get 35mpg.
What sizes tyres are on the car? The look chunky.
Tail happy? Shocks are probably fooked.
Noise. Exhaust or filter. Then get it mapped at efi.
 

imprezaworks

ClioSport Club Member
  Mk5 Golf GTI :)
Ah, decent tyres needed then. Or buy 15’s.

The profile to me looks big, could just be my eyes.
 

Coops Mk1

ClioSport Club Member
  Lots of Scrap...
Great write up, enjoyed the read

If it's not had a full suspension and steering refresh yet then I'd recommend that to steer the car in the right direction..... Sorry!
So every bush and joint/bearing up front ideally would want replacing to restore the original feel of the car.
I run mine daily standard induction and janspeed exhaust and there is no theatre at all, but that's how I like it as I do fair few miles in it!
And yes civics are ugly, I agree
 
  Listerine & Poledo
"The biggest annoyance of this lack of theatre is that when combined with the interior out of more cooking Clio's, when I am around town I feel as though I am just in your average 1.2 with no real cues as to the talent that lies within."

Slap a drainpipe exhaust on it and don't use anything higher than 2nd gear when in built up areas. You'll soon get the attention.
 
  RB 182 Cup,E46 M3 CS
Well worth doing mate, and get a ceramic coating on it. It'll thank you when you come to wash it, it's much easier.

Hmm I'll keep it in mind, I wonder what the cost/benefit would be of a car this value? I'll definitely do the highest level of finish I can achieve (hand polish only, but I'm half decent at claying/polishing/waxing) and see how it looks from there.

Get a fatty induction kit on, they sound absolutely brilliant, so much growl for a 4 pot!

Need to get an inductiion kit, after market exhaust and a small wheel. It'll feel and sounds so much better for it.

I understand the whole oe mint thing but you can always return to standard when/if you sell it on.

Oh and poly Bush the dog bone, easily the best value mod these car can have. Sharpens the gear change up so much.

Love the RB's such a great colour in the flesh.

I watched a youtube video a while back (because yeah I search for 182 exhaust videos online all the time, because yeah I have no life) with a 182 with a fatty induction kit, to be fair even with the low production value it sounded great. But I am going to stick to OEM as much as I can, warts and all. I'm griping but also accepting of the imperfections of the little b*****d. However, poly bushing the dog bone sounds interesting TELL ME MORE.

Will look through your post again. But.

Smaller wheel required, standard is s**t.
Economy. I get 35mpg.
What sizes tyres are on the car? The look chunky.
Tail happy? Shocks are probably fooked.
Noise. Exhaust or filter. Then get it mapped at efi.

Hmm I'm gonna look into this economy business, I wasn't exactly spanking it half the time. How much of an effect would having a back box riddled with bulletholes have on economy? My thoughts were not much but maybe that's not helping.. TO THE EXHAUST SHOP PLACE.

Great write up, enjoyed the read

If it's not had a full suspension and steering refresh yet then I'd recommend that to steer the car in the right direction..... Sorry!
So every bush and joint/bearing up front ideally would want replacing to restore the original feel of the car.
I run mine daily standard induction and janspeed exhaust and there is no theatre at all, but that's how I like it as I do fair few miles in it!
And yes civics are ugly, I agree

Ah cheers man I appreciate the poor attempt at the pun too ;). Standard induction and janspeed is still my preferred option. How different does the exhaust sound compared to standard? As much as I'd love to go through a full refresh I am trying to mind the pennies as this was supposed to be a minimal cost purchase (I know that's impossible but I'm trying SO HARD).

Thanks for the replies everybody and advice, keep the good stuff coming! I'm going to go and poly bush the induction thing and fit an aftermarket dog bone. cheers!
 

JB21

ClioSport Club Member
Having owned both the ep3 and 182 its such a tough one to choose a favourite, as a daily the ep3 nudges it due to build quality, interior, driving position and gearbox. The 182 however is much more of an event to drive, with that torquey engine and go-kart feel, however on track if that's your thing the Clio beats the ep3 pretty comfortably IMO.

If I had to pick a favourite it would be the Clio.
 
  RB 182 Cup,E46 M3 CS
Having owned both the ep3 and 182 its such a tough one to choose a favourite, as a daily the ep3 nudges it due to build quality, interior, driving position and gearbox. The 182 however is much more of an event to drive, with that torquey engine and go-kart feel, however on track if that's your thing the Clio beats the ep3 pretty comfortably IMO.

If I had to pick a favourite it would be the Clio.

Good to hear a well balanced argument for them, I drove the EP3 a couple of times but despite really enjoying it I couldn't get over the looks and image. It is funny you mention that the Clio beats the EP3 on track because I've had an earful from my EP3 owning neighbour saying the opposite. I doubted him but without any conclusive proof I couldn't argue otherwise. I'm not intending to track it much (well... maybe once or twice :D) so it isn't really that relevant to me.
 

imprezaworks

ClioSport Club Member
  Mk5 Golf GTI :)
After being on a track day with the honda forum when owning an ep3, i can safely say a good driver will keep pace with a clio easily.
 

Coops Mk1

ClioSport Club Member
  Lots of Scrap...
The janspeed is basically like standard really, it's very unobtrusive, personally I love it
 

JB21

ClioSport Club Member
After being on a track day with the honda forum when owning an ep3, i can safely say a good driver will keep pace with a clio easily.
There must not be many decent drivers about in the Honda fan club then as I've never really had an issue with the ones I've come up against on track.:tongueclosed:

On a serious note though you are right, its just the ep3 takes a bit more skill to get the full potential out of them, think it's down to the lack of torque and the need to absolutely ring the neck out of them and being in the right gear and revs to stay in vtec on exit.
 

Niall

ClioSport Club Member
I think most of your gripes with it can be sorted out with the typical mods people do to them. Glad you're enjoying it!
 
  RB 182 Cup,E46 M3 CS
That will be from the sidewalls of the uniroyal jelleysport 2's

Well yes they don't help. Do they do MPSS's in Clio sizes? If not I saw a good deal on the Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric (not the new one), I've never had them on a car but heard good things
 
Dog bone polybushed looks like this.

POWERFLEX1-SEPT.jpg


About £45-£50 on eBay. Check out the for sale section too as people sell em on quite often.
Would recommend the purple ones as the black ones can cause some cabin vibration.
Easy enough job to do. About an hour or so. Put them in the freezer first as this makes them easier to press is. You'll need some heat and beating to get the old bushes out.

The tyres can make a bid difference with turn in feel. I fitted some cheapie to pass the mot and the sidewalls were so soft it was laughable. They lasted 3 weeks before I put some decent tyres on.
 
  RB 182 Cup,E46 M3 CS
Ah James hero, I'll keep an eye out for one. Sounds like hard labour so I might have to subcontract that job to real men!
 
Nice little review and I have to agree on lots of your points (Mine is a 172 cup) although I do quite like the steering feel though!

As others have said, the polybushed dogbone mount is a brilliant mod. It can stop the knocking sounds on hard acceleration which affects many of these cars. It also makes the gearchange more direct. I cheated though and bought a used dogbone mount with the poly bushes already fitted. I’m no mechanic but it only took me 10 mins to remove the old one and fit the poly’d one.

I am a big fan of uniroyal Rainsport 3’s. They are one of the best road tyres available for this car and are great value. As others are mentioned, there are better choices for track work but mine is unlikely to get used on track so I’m perfectly happy with them.

Btw I’ve also fitted a silenced ktec exhaust system and ramair open cone (fatty). At low throttle the car is no louder than when it was standard. Give it the beans though and it sounds very angry! I didn’t like the engine/exhaust time as standard.
 
The tyre debate is one that runs and runs due to personal preferences, with Rainsports being called soft-sidewalled by some and ace by others. I've always been a fan of the Eagle F1 when I ran them on the valver, but I've not tried the newer Assymetric versions (because apparently cars with smaller wheels than 17 or 18 inches don't exist or drive quickly :neutral:). My understanding is that Michelins generally have some of the stiffest sidewalls, but I may be wrong. Either way, the PS3 I'm currently running have been very secure in the wet.

WRT front end handling, I had my front end completely overhauled - dampers, springs, bushes, top mounts, track rods - and it was night and day a better drive, so much tauter. It's not cheap but if you plan to keep it, it is worth doing IMHO.
 
  Clio 182
The low mpg might be a lambda sensor on its way out, the one closest to the engine. Mine is always around 37mpg but when the sensor packed up it dropped to around 27.
 

Allan H

ClioSport Club Member
  Ford Puma, Focus
Evol ones are neat and easy to fit. Changes the sound a bit too (on mine with induction kit) and gearchange is (slightly) better too after fitting.
 
  RB 182 Cup,E46 M3 CS
Nice little review and I have to agree on lots of your points (Mine is a 172 cup) although I do quite like the steering feel though!

As others have said, the polybushed dogbone mount is a brilliant mod. It can stop the knocking sounds on hard acceleration which affects many of these cars. It also makes the gearchange more direct. I cheated though and bought a used dogbone mount with the poly bushes already fitted. I’m no mechanic but it only took me 10 mins to remove the old one and fit the poly’d one.

I am a big fan of uniroyal Rainsport 3’s. They are one of the best road tyres available for this car and are great value. As others are mentioned, there are better choices for track work but mine is unlikely to get used on track so I’m perfectly happy with them.

Btw I’ve also fitted a silenced ktec exhaust system and ramair open cone (fatty). At low throttle the car is no louder than when it was standard. Give it the beans though and it sounds very angry! I didn’t like the engine/exhaust time as standard.

I'm with you on the uniroyals, if the boot fits it fits. When I saw that the garage had put a set on at first I was a bit disappointed as I prefer to choose my own tyres. But, for the car and it's use they are perfectly suitable and such good value. I had 4 fitted to my partners Toyota Celica and they have been brilliant, the commitment you can put in on a wet roundabout in that thing is amazing (and should never be spoken about in her presence!). I'm still mulling the ktec but I think anything induction wise is out. I'm trying to limit my spending to general maintenence and aesthetic improvement.

The tyre debate is one that runs and runs due to personal preferences, with Rainsports being called soft-sidewalled by some and ace by others. I've always been a fan of the Eagle F1 when I ran them on the valver, but I've not tried the newer Assymetric versions (because apparently cars with smaller wheels than 17 or 18 inches don't exist or drive quickly :neutral:). My understanding is that Michelins generally have some of the stiffest sidewalls, but I may be wrong. Either way, the PS3 I'm currently running have been very secure in the wet.

WRT front end handling, I had my front end completely overhauled - dampers, springs, bushes, top mounts, track rods - and it was night and day a better drive, so much tauter. It's not cheap but if you plan to keep it, it is worth doing IMHO.

I think that is a consequence of over wheeled new cars. The tyre manufacturers must do the maths and say that not many performance orientated cars run on 16's these days and a lot of cars on smaller wheels are older and run on lower budgets (I can see the logic, a lot of older cars I've looked at have ying yang ling long ditchfinders on them!). I would love to overhaul the front and I know it would make a difference but unfortunately for the poor Clio that's not the brief it was bought for. Primarily it is a car that I can pop to the shops in and take the hard wearing short journeys/bad weather away from the M3 which suffers when run in such condition (and is slowly driving me bankrupt as a result).

Put these V rated 205`s on the rear, and get 2 195/45r16 Y rated XL`s on the front.
The Extra Loads don't flex as much as the V`s, and 195`s don't tramline like the 205`s.

Good advice, I'll look into this. I've got to get rid of the rears anyway so it'd kill two birds with one stone I suppose.

The low mpg might be a lambda sensor on its way out, the one closest to the engine. Mine is always around 37mpg but when the sensor packed up it dropped to around 27.

This sounds like it might be a great shout! I had suspected it but I am not mechanically minded nor do I know of any Clio friendly specialist garages near me (South Stockport, if anyone knows of one give me a prod)

Good review there. Nothing is ever perfect and the clio has more in its favour than against imo.
If poly bushing the dog bone sounds like too much graft just buy an @EvolEngineering2013 one.

Evol ones are neat and easy to fit. Changes the sound a bit too (on mine with induction kit) and gearchange is (slightly) better too after fitting.

I'll look into the evol one, looks like a great little cost effective solution! I love cost effective.

Thanks for all the advice everybody! I love forums for this very reasons and cliosport is up there with the best.
 
  RB 182 Cup,E46 M3 CS
Just a quick update, it's no longer 6 weeks in but you know.. 9 months in, the Clio is currently my main car as the BMW is in the garage after a stupid car park prang has cost me both it's svelte lines and a stupid amount in repairs. The big issue with that is that the air conditioning is definitely not working, this was identified a few months ago and regassed to see if it was that or whether there is another issue. I reckon it was cold for 6 weeks to 2 months, a leak somewhere then? Is this common?

The big improvement recently has been tyres. Previously I'd had quite a lot done when it was MOTed, springs all round, front top mounts, rear discs and pads, new washer jets, exhaust. This improved the car considerably but it still felt a bit vague at the front and tail happy at the back in the wet. These issues were roundly resolved by the tyre swap. The ditchfinders on the rear were replaced with some good value Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymmetric 2's and these were swapped with the fronts (much to the confusion of the black circles pitstop). The result is that the Goodyears are much firmer and grippier at the front which makes the car much more alert, much more accurate and grippier. The Rainsports on the back mean that it is softer there and much more secure in the wet. As a result the little Clio is now showing why everyone loves them so much!

The only other thing to note is that there is an occasional misfire at low rpm. I previously had a problem along with a warning light that was traced back to an injector. I get the feeling this misfire might be spark plugs, I'm almost certain it's still on the originals so maybe this could be the next job? How much to replace them approx? That and the air conditioning, what's the worst case for the AC? Compressor replacement?

Really enjoying the Clio anyway, I still think maybe it's a bit less economical than I was expecting (32mpg overall), maybe a fresh lambda sensor might improve that?
 

Davyy

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
Re. Air con.. does it sometimes work? Is it always hot? There is a cog in the drivers footwell behind the left side trim which wears down and doesnt activate as such.

Needs a cable tie or jubilee clip around it.
 


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