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165,000 Mile Renault Clio 182 - Report 002


Black Gold Clio 182


Jethro updates us on life with his high mileage hero, and how he strikes a balance between useability and chasing thrills and performance.


At long last, the sun is starting to show itself more, the roads are rinsed of the salt and grime associated with a UK winter, and the chance has come to exercise the fresh (and very summer oriented) Nankangs I had fitted a few months ago. I concede that I may seem hypocritical in that I’ve done under 2000 miles after almost a year of Clio ownership, despite being an open advocate for people using their ICE cars while it’s still accessible, but there are reasons for this.


First off, there were the inevitable teething problems with buying a used car, so over winter there were periods of time that it was out of action due to various issues needing to be fixed. Secondly, the NS-2R tyres I chose at the start of January aren’t the ideal tyre when it’s cold and wet, lacking the bite and aggression that you need to instil confidence in driving when cold - not pushing it either, just pootling. They hadn’t seen any rain before my last entry, but I attended Goodwood’s Supercar Sunday last week and I got the chance to put them to work as the heavens opened on the way home. They were passable on the more arterial roads, where drainage is better and there is less standing water, but any roundabouts became a bit sketchy if you’re in a rush.

Stay off the power though, and you can play about a bit if the front digs in, as the lack of weight in the rear wiggles it round nicely and because you’re going wet roundabout speed, it’s easy enough to entertain with that feeling and adjust it as roundabouts come and go. All it requires is a glass half full perspective on the complete lack of grip and you can make it quite amusing. I did get a bit brave once though, and it solidified my dislike for understeer.



Black Gold Clio 182


If you daily your car and use it all year round, I’d suggest a more road biased tyre. The rain did show off a brilliant quirk of Clios though. I don’t know if it’s something you can get on regular models, but some 182s have automatic wipers, and lo and behold, mine still work. It’s not something that would be a deal breaker in buying a car, or that it’s a huge selling point for myself, but I find it incredibly charming to the point of comedy, so I’m glad they work.

Beyond winter though, the warm roads and longer evenings have given me more time to get out for a blast, and the little nugget is really starting to shine. I’m lucky enough to live near a few decent sections of road, with some well sighted turns, a variety of more stretched out sections, and a healthy dose of challenging twisties. These are where hot hatchbacks shine. Short gear ratios, agile front end and sticky summer tyres make it a complete riot, the stiff shoulder allowing you to pitch it in on the brakes, shifting all the weight to the front outside and effortlessly bouncing you round the apex like a golf ball off a marble floor. Tackling lower geared sections is a joy, and trying to keep it above the five and a half thousand rpm sweet spot for the angry little four pot keeps you busy stirring gears.



Black Gold Clio 182


For future, I have a few things in mind that I think would improve the experience tenfold as time and budget allows, likely starting with contact points in the cabin. What they say about these Clios having a questionable driving position is true. The seat is just an inch or two too high, which can make you feel a bit like the pope, perched on top of the car rather than within it. After a few journeys in the Clio I can set off in my Volvo V50 for a longer journey and feel as if I’m in a more driver focused car, just because you sit lower.


Ideally, I’d end up with a set of Recaro Pole Positions, and I’d probably get a new steering wheel at the same time, just as I feel the standard unit is again, an inch or two too wide. This effect is exaggerated in my car as at some point in its life, it had the wheel retrimmed, which makes it feel a bit chunky. Like a modern BMW wheel, just with way more circumference.

These are only minor hiccups though. I’m still absolutely in love with the car. It does everything I could want it to: tremendous fun when asked, whilst also being remarkably - and unexpectedly - good at the boring stuff. Whether that’s because it’s hard to have a tedious journey in this car I’m not sure, but still. It’ll manage just under 40mpg on a long run, the seats are really comfortable and it even has cruise control. Granted, it doesn’t work, but the thought was there. If you’re after a fairly cheap to run weekend toy, practical runabout or you just like to stick it to the big guns in something on a very accessible budget, I would absolutely recommend one.


 

Date acquired: July 2021

Total mileage: 165,021

Recent mileage: just over 1,000 (I know, not enough)

MPG: 30 average

Expenditure: £330 on tyres, £8.99 on a new cigarette lighter assembly for a Bluetooth adapter, £125 on a set of cup shocks, £32 on tracking, £6.99 on new hazard warning switch (old one broke and the hazards wouldn’t turn off).


 

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