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Mk2 172 handling

Ive just purchased a Mk2 172 (Feb 2002) after a couple of extremely satisfying years in my 106 GTI. I adored the 106 especially the handling, it never let me down, I just felt the car was quite literally stuck to the road. The running costs were also excellent, £400 a year insurance, £100 a year servicing, cheap tyres (size) good fuel economy etc.

But I just needed something more refined, newer and reasonably cheap to maintain, thats why I went for the 172, found a guy needing to sell it quickly - £9k for 9 month old 5k miles Mk2 edition.

but to my astonishment it appears and I really hope its just mine, the handling is terrible compared to my 106, it just doesnt hold the road under any real duress. I took it out for a long drive yesterday to test it out, it just understeers terribly, as soon as I hit the gas it just pulls to the left when going round a tight ish roundabout, one I could take at 40-45 in my 106. I have absolutely no confidence the 172 will stay on the road something that never crossed my mind in the 106.

Do any of you more knowledgeable guys on 172s know what could be wrong with the car, all help would be greatly appreciated?

cant tell you whats wrong with yours but mine handles beutifully! absolutely stick!!! although they changed the suspension, and wideness of the wheel base on the cup esp for more control and handling!
  Subaru Forrester

I found it did take some getting used to after my phase 1 16v Clio. That felt like it was on rails. It does take a while to find the 172s limits but when you do and you get used to it they can be thrown around with the best of them.

Ive not driven a Mk2 though... :confused:

I can appreciate it may take a while to adjust, but Ive had many "hot hatches" including 2 Saxo VTS, AX GT, 205 GTI ,106 GTI and have been able to jump into all of them, bar one of the VTSs (which had been fitted with budget Matador tyres on the back, unbelievable I know, I lost the back end on numerous occasions untill I had them changed) and had real confidence in their ability. The 172 is quite frankly scary, I would expect understeer to cause a mild slide until correcting it, not mine, it just pulls to the left at no more than 20-25 MPH. Ive got it booked in at Renaults but wanted some background info I can throw at them as Ive heard the build quality isnt great on the 172.....

Quote: Originally posted by Stu_H on 06 November 2002

Get the tracking cheaked there is definatly something wrong with yours.

It sits perfectly on the road until I start pushing it round roundabout etc, if the trackin was at fault Id expect it to pull all the time.

I was wondering if the suspension needs stiffening up....

sounds like you have a problem, I have a mkII and it handles amazingly. It is like glue going round corners, and all the reviews you read say the same thing. There is no reason it should be any worse than your 106 GTI, it certainly should have half the cornering ability (45MPH vs 20-25MPH round a corner is a big difference). Garage should hopefully be able to spot something.......good luck!!!

get a cup!!!! there betta handling!!!!! made for the corners! they changed most of the 172 bits to improve handling and that! nuff said!

and Big bash, how did your vts compare to the 172??? performance wise??

Quote: Originally posted by DannyBoy on 06 November 2002

get a cup!!!! there betta handling!!!!! made for the corners! they changed most of the 172 bits to improve handling and that! nuff said!

and Big bash, how did your vts compare to the 172??? performance wise??
I dont believe theyve changed most of the 172s bit,s merely lightned it and a couple of teaks. I would give a lot of respect to VTS/106 GTIs if I were you, they are the best £4-5k you could possibly spend on a car. They are absolutely amazing fun for cost of ownership, I know, I had both for almost 4 years, you could not embarass a VTS/106 in your cup.....

Could try but im not too into the techy stuff, its in the brochure and on the spec, off the top of my head, its slightly lower than the norm 172, they extended the axles or whateva so the rear wheels or front wheels come out more, makin the car wider! (so its lower and wider, hmm im so smart) and also something to do with the steering, makin it better with addin somethin to the turnin circle and sh1t.

Obviously, (from the above) i dont know all the proper terms as i just love drivin it! but im sure someone with the knowledge like the captain or benr can explain betta if needed!

oh believe me i do give em respect, theyre good little cars, i aint sayin that! my mate had a gti for two years b4 he got his gtt and he loved it, just wanted to know what the vtss were like off the mark, cos ive never had a chance to compare. but surely itd be eatin 0-60 by a 172!!!! cmon!

As for not changin all the 172 parts, yeah your right, that was kinda overstated, what i mean to exlain i did in the string after!


Oh dear, of the mark is just childs play, at best your gonna trash your clutch. Yes youll beat it, but only marginally but one small gear change mistake and you wont. You bought your cup because its more of a track day car not a straight line bullet. If you wanted one of those get yourself a five grand MR2 turbo.....

Quote: Originally posted by Fred2001Dynamic on 06 November 2002

What tyres????? Check the pressures, then slamit in the weeds!!!!
Continentals...stock 172 ones at the correct pressure.....Need something a little more than stabs in the dark, Ive checked all the obvious areas. Surely some of you guys know more than this!!!!
  Renault Laguna Coupe

BB - theres something amiss with the car by the sound of it. Get it checked by your Renault dealer. Another idea is to see whether you can get a test drive in a different 172, then you can compare. 172s handle really well - weve proved this over and over at track days etc. You should expect no less from yours.

Quote: Originally posted by telford_mike on 06 November 2002

BB - theres something amiss with the car by the sound of it. Get it checked by your Renault dealer. Another idea is to see whether you can get a test drive in a different 172, then you can compare. 172s handle really well - weve proved this over and over at track days etc. You should expect no less from yours.
Yeah your right, Im trying to locate a dealer whos got a Mk2, they seem to be hard to get a test drive in......

Engine Size
Top speed

Saxo VTR

Saxo VTS
CUP 6.5 139 172

i know the vts is quickand a very good car but the figures say it all.


TAKE A CHILL PILL FELLA! everyones just puttin in their imput!

and i bought a clio cos i love em!

DannyBoy your right on paper a Clio has more grunt, you dont need me to tell me that but grunt doesnt always mean everything. You asked me a question you quite obviously knew the answer as to what are "vtss were like off the mark" as this comes down to purely grunt and power to weight ratio.

ok fella! kiss kiss made up!

just was curious about how they run, mid range pickup? and howd you feel bout your 172 now you have it in comparisson, (other than the handling of course) are you happy? or you prefer one of your previous cars?

cheers dan

I think weve come to general consensus that you have a dud there mate! Id take it along to your local dealer!

Yeah the extra grunt is aparant and well appreciated, the extra space and gadgets are also nice. If I could get the handling sorted Id be a happy man, but not until then!

Ive booked a test drive in for Saturday to compare it against mine....Lets hope they can rectify the issue or its up for sale, good job Ive still got my Pug...

Hes my stab in the dark.

Do you know why the guy selling the car sold it for £9K, quite a good buy if the car was A1. Did you do a check to make sure the car hadnt been in an accident and repaired, as this could seriously affect the handling? Just a thought.
  Silver Fabia vRS

BigBash - Id give the following a try:

1) Ring the bloke up who had the car before you and ask if he noticed anything or had any of the suspension replaced - why did he need to sell it quickly?

2) Check the tread depth all round.

3) Test drive another 172 and see if it is the same.

4) Get a dealer to check the suspension components as I doubt it will be tracking.

5) If all that fails change the tyres all round and the some people find the Continentals a bit rubbish. Personally they were fine for me but I now run 205/40 R17 Falken FK-451s which are great.

Hope this helps you out a little!

DannyBoy - The Cup is only 3mm lower than a standard MK2 172 and I think the front track is 20mm wider and the back is 10mm wider.

As Geoff said, a lot of people have said that the Continentals the car comes with are real crap and have no grip. For me (and Geoff) they seemed ok, were very slippy on the track when hot tho.

Ive found the Continentals to be great (though they are wearing very fast), they may not be the last word in grip (i dont want them to be), but are very progressive near the limit and are very forgiving. I think ill replace them with the same.

How many miles are people getting out of a set?


Yeah I had all the checks completed before making the purchase as at £9k it was a great price. The guy needed the cash quickly so I had him at a weak point, he originally wanted 10.5k. I was ultra cautious because he was desperate.

I know what sh*te tyres can do to the handling but not to this extent, as I said it pulls left causing the slide, as if there is no grip. If the tyres were that crap the back end would go as well and it doesnt just the front.

Ive read more and more reports of poor build quality on the 172 and Im wondering if its some kind of manufacturing fault. The alloys arent new as if hed clipped a curb at high speed and damaged the alloy and suspension.
  Renault Laguna Coupe

Stu - I changed mine at 7,000 but that was after a track day and a motorsport academy day (the academy day was by far the worst for tyre wear). I agree with your sentiments about the Contisports, they are very predictable on the limit. They do get hot quite quickly on the track though, but overall I like em!

I know everyone has their own views on things but i found the standard contis to be one of the worst tyres ever (in the wet)

Dry handling was reasonable but in the wet i found it hard to set off from junctions without spinning and the understeer was i wasnt trying to drive like a nutter in the wet cos i know better, but i like the car to feel assured in all conditions.

I changed my car from a saxo vts with oz F1 15" with Goodyear eagle f1 tyres to the mk2 172 with contis and i changed them within 8 weeks of having the car cos i couldnt bear the handling of them. i know run falken fk451 like Geoff and find them superb in all conditions and am just about to replace them after 10000miles and 2 track days cos they are a little light on tread now when its wet.

My you get it sorted cos for me the 172 isnt quite the dodgem car that the vts was but it certainly can handle with the best.


  Renault Laguna Coupe

.... and youre not the only one to get rid of the Contisports either J. Roamer did the same thing. Theres obviously a lot of personal choice in this. I like a tyre that lets the car slide a bit (weird cos its not the fastest way to get round a corner!). Off to Donington Park tomorrow though, and I must admit Im quite relieved that the forecast is DRY!

Let us know what you think of the Clio around Donnington. Im going there on the 15th of Feb with the Evo forum. It will be my first trackday so id be interested of your opinions of it.


hmmm.....i have complete confidence in my MK2, faithful predictable in every respect........

Continetals are fab, but you all must remember you are pushig 170bhp through the front wheels.....which doesnt help with understeer.

Are you a smooth driver or a rock ape, jumping on pedals is not gonna help. and 25mph round a roundabout is bad, even a MK3 golf diesel can do that....

doesnt sound right........

Its so strange how people believe totally contrasting opinions about the standard contis

I couldnt really fault them as a summer/dry/track tyre...i might just stick them on the car when next i go track daying.....they feel nice and responsive.

Its just if the road surface is damp/wet i find they offer virtually no grip and understeer excessively....with alternative tyres i can be a lot more confident about where the car will go and how its gonna react to standing water or an emergency manouver. I drive a lot of miles in mine (new on 23rd nov 01, now done 20000 miles)....and took the contis off within 2000 miles as soon as it was wet daily. I do kinda miss the 16" wheels sometimes too. They did feel different....hard to put a finger on exactly how but the 17"s falkenfk451s are good fun too.


  Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup

Ive only just done 650ish miles in my mk2 so havent really formed an opinion on the Contis yet, but I know in my Golf GTI the best thing I ever did was switch to Yoko A539s... they were amazingly quiet and very sticky - a vast improvement.

Anyone else got experience of Yokos on a 172? They also look wicked in my mind anyway...

My experience of the contis is strange. My first set of fronts lasted 8000 miles, they were superb in the wet and the dry, never had any complaints!

This new set seem to have a tendandcy to understeer and slip around at ridiculously low speeds, never had that problem with the first set!

  Honda Civic Type R GT

Ive just changed my original Pilots on the front at 14,500. Tended to find that handling was noticably affected by tyre pressure. Got Goodyear Eagle F1s on now and first impressions are that theyre superb, wet and dry.