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i was on the market for a 1.4 RT and told all my mates about it but ALL of them said clios are unreliable and when they go wrong, they really go wrong!
please help as i dont know weather to buy on or not
Hmmm...this is the age old question for Renaults. By and large, the Clio (all since 1991) are pretty tough. The 16v/Williams are a different case - though arent "unreliable" or poorly build - more on this in a moment.
The 1.4 Energy engine is very straightforward, is dead reliable and is tough - provided of course its serviced regularly. Ive actually never heard of a 1.4 that isnt modified or ill-cared for causing any trouble. The RT and other "normal" Clios will generally give very little trouble in terms of mechanical parts and they cope well with the power. The key thing is to keep on top of anything that is prone to deteriorating (like cv joint rubbers etc). Also, many RTs found homes with middle class women who have kept their cars well becuase of they have plenty of cash and concern!
Best not to buy a moded one with high miles I reckon. Lowering in particular is not kind to all the suspension and steering parts - and gradually youll find that you start to get more of the problems associated with the 16v/Willy...
...Which brings us neatly back to those cars. Wonderful to drive, fantasticly fast and big arches/bumpers/bonnet bulge mean theyre beautiful to look at. But a big engine in a small car takes its toll on all the other parts. For example, the chassis (despite being very stiff) still flexes enough to let water in through the sunroof, the engine mounts in particular cant take the power for much more than 60k miles and the whole steering/suspension moving parts assembly will keep you busy with problems beyond about 70k too.
Basically, Ive had three Clios and none have ever broken down. But the 1.2 caused problems after many miles combined with lowering, the RSi just got tired with all the miles - and my 16v doesnt like all the power the engine gives it!!!
I agree with Mike and Ben. I bought my Clio 6 months ago, although its a K plate its only done 46k. It used to be an Inland Revenue car so its got a complete FSH.
The engine hasnt caused me any problems, apart from a consistent rattle from the engine that isnt the tappets (had them adjusted twice). The main gripe would have to be the general build quality of the interiors, everything seems to rattle at some point or another.
As for being expensive when they go wrong; the prices are probably higher than average but its easy to find pattern parts, especially for the 1.4.
Overall Id say they are good first cars, pretty quick for an 8v and good fun to drive.
A friend of mine has a 1.4 RT (4 door version) and he absolutely thrashes that thing! It used to belong to his mum, so he treated it like a misbehaving gimp. Rev limitering it all the time, not using the clutch, hand brake turns, everything! he even tried his own version of "NOS" by getting an oxycetilene (i cant spell) canister and attaching it to the air intake whilst driving. Another mod was his leaf blower attachment for a home-made turbo. He does crazy things like putting a brick on the accelerator in neutral of a courtesy car and leaving it on the rev limiter for 5 minutes. Hes involved in rallying at oxford where he regularly takes the Clio through the stages, once breaking a drive shaft in the process. The car has just done 98,000 miles and seems to be ok still! only bad thing to go on the car was the clutch and that was ages ago.