Is the Renault Clio 182 Trophy the best hot hatch?
Nowadays if you say to people you own a Renault they are likely to dismiss it and not care as much due to Renault generally being thought of as a 'boring brand' by today's standards. But, many people do not realise that if you own a Clio 182 Trophy you are an incredibly cool person! The Clio was recently a car I rediscovered through watching Harry Metcalfe's (who is a great inspiration of mine) EVO diaries video which I will link at the end, he truly loves that car and I can see why. The Clio 182 Trophy is a weapon in all respects. Here's why.
Produced in 2005, Renault only made 500 right hand drive versions of the Trophy which is one reason why it is so special as well as 50 left hand drive cars. Yes, you can get the standard 182 but it isn't nearly as cool. This is because all Trophy variants came in that stunning red exterior colour, otherwise known as 'Capsicum red' by Renault which you can see in the photographs.
The Trophy also features a rear spoiler donated from the Clio V6 and as you can see is mounted on the roof. It has a unique to the Trophy wheel design which I think looks wicked, especially in that space grey-like colour. The wheels are actually 1.3 kg lighter than the standard ones resulting in better overall performance and clear weight saving.
Keeping the wheels in check are superb Sachs racing dampers which were a rather expensive option for Renault at the time but from what I have seen and heard, they make the world of difference and can be found on touring cars of that era. If you know anything about suspension, you will be able to relate to the excellence of this setup. The front of the car features plastic fenders in order to save more weight. In total the car weighs 1,090 kg which is slightly lighter than its competitor, the MK2 Golf GTI.
When looking at the interior of the 182 Trophy, you will notice Recaro bucket seats which were fitted around 10mm lower than the standard 182 seats presumably to give it that true go-kart for the road feel. Since Renault changed the front seats they may as well change the rear seats which they did by fitting a lighter rear bench style layout. Renault also made the car more 'track focused' if you will by removing the climate controls.
In terms of stats, the Renault Clio 182 Trophy has a 2.0L 4 cylinder engine with a five speed manual gearbox powering the FWD hatchback. It produces around 182 bhp and has a top speed of 138 mph. If you wanted one of these new, then that would have set you back around £15,000 but now you can find one for around £5,000 to £9,000 which I think is an absolute bargain for one of these. Yes, you can go out and buy a new Clio for £12,000 or so, but would you really want to when you can be scurrying around B roads in one of these?
The way it drives is not something I can really comment on as I have never driven one myself but from what I have read, this thing is a true weapon in the corners. This car practically lives on three wheels when flying round the bends and that is exactly what a true hatchback should be like. A bit of fun and not always taken too seriously, which in my eyes is where the Clio 182 Trophy overtakes the Golf in terms of fun factor.
Would I have one of these over a Golf? Most probably. I am a huge Volkswagen Golf fan and have always admired the MK1 and MK2 but this for me screams exactly what a true hatchback should be like. An absolute hoot!
I really urge you to check out Harry's video on the Clio 182 Trophy as he has a great story on how he came to own one. The link is from his personal Youtube channel 'Harry's Garage' which I would seriously encourage you to check out. He has by far some of the best car content on the platform.