It’s very hard not to be captivated by Renault’s hugely successful Clio range and this latest phase-2 iteration, dubbed GT-Line, simply enhances the appeal. First impressions are often lasting impressions and on this count, the GT-Line scores with its outstandingly glossy paintwork that does much to enhance the chic styling. GT-Line differentiators include 17-inch titanium alloys, matching wing mirror casings and inserts on the doors and hatch lid.
You’ll also notice a re-styled front bumper complete with sporty scoops complemented down the back by a diffuser and chromed exhaust tip.
Inside, the GT-Line is distinguished by a leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear stick gaiter and hand brake shroud which is further enhanced with bright blue stitching. Most obvious of all in terms of Renault Sport design cues are the heavily-bolstered front sports seats complete with GT-Line-embossed headrests. Although the cabin is fairly narrow, fore and aft space is reasonable for the class thanks in part to a relatively long wheelbase and those front seats that look so inviting offer excellent support.
The star of the show though is the turbocharged 1.2 motor that puts out a more-than-useful 88kW allied to a hefty 205Nm torque peak. Our high altitude route traversed a mix of average quality A-roads pock-marked with too many potholes as well as stretches of freeway, so the powertrain and underpinnings were put to the test in terms of open road running if not in terms of outright handling finesse.
All-out performance sees a top speed of 199km/h and a 0-100 time of 9.0s with a claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.3l/100km. Experience suggests a real world average of around 7.5l/100km is more likely.
Equipment levels, by the standards of the class, are high with niceties such as MediaNav controlled by a 7-inch touchscreen, USB and smartphone connectivity, ECO driving mode, cruise control and speed limiter all in place. Safety too is not forgotten as this Clio sports a 5-star EuroNCAP rating.
For those with a bent for a slightly sportier hatchback interpretation that doesn’t shout too loudly, the Clio GT-Line deserves close consideration. Its dynamic qualities are very sound, its refinement levels by the standards of the class are good, but most of all, it’s endowed with chic overtones that nonetheless do not dominate at the expense of practicality.
It’s yours for R264 900 and it’s backed by a generous 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 3-year/45 000km service plan.