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Offline baigent  
#1 Posted : 13 September 2016 18:01:19(UTC)
baigent


Posts: 9

For a moment, lets forget that we've read a number of reviews about the RenaultSport Clio 220 Trophy (and more so, the Clio 200 Auto). Reviews that say RenaultSport got it wrong. Did they?

As a long term owner of RenaultSport cars, both Clio and Megane models, I felt that I wanted sum up my thoughts on the car, especially after spending 3 years with a MK 3 Clio 200, the car this is often compared to. I've not driven the standard 200 Auto, so I can't comment on it, but here are my thoughts on my current car, Trophy No.1040 the replacement for a RenaultSport Megane 265.

The car itself looks pretty ordinary, it's not as bold as the Megane, or the Clio 200 for that matter. It doesn't have the visual width or the imposing stance on the road. People often mistake it for a standard Clio, the twin exhausts probably the only hint at it's performance. My car is Flame Red, not ideally what I wanted, but it was available immediately from the dealer and I needed the car quickly. It's a colour that does grow on you over time, although the clear coat is butter soft. You can see Renault's design language in all aspects of the Clio and it's definitely a more modern design, as to me, the MK 3 200 now looks dated. The Megane in my opinion, still one of the prettiest cars Renault has produced.

The build quality is good, some have commented that it's much better than the Megane. I'd say that some of the components have a newer feel, but overall there isn't anything significantly better about the Clio. The engine bay doesn't have the refined feel of the bigger car, and it's already developed a few annoying rattles, something I don't remember from the 265, certainly not within the first 1000 miles.

As far as convenience goes, the Clio has the majority of the features the Megane has. My only niggles are, firstly the wing mirrors need to be manually set to close, using the wing mirror adjustment stick (rather than closing automatically when the car is locked, like the Megane) the tyre pressure monitor doesn't give you current pressures (like the Continental system in the Megane), the fuel filler cap isn't the vacuum unit from the Megane and the fuel tank is 45 litres, meaning drive the car hard, and you are at the pumps, A LOT. One thing that should be noted here, the Trophy is intended to run on 98 RON fuel, I've run it on V-Power Nitro + from the first tank, so I'm unsure if there is a noticeable difference running on standard unleaded. Switching between the two fuels in the Megane was noticeable. It does have some other nice touches, the brake rotors look better than the units on the Megane (although obviously the Brembo 4 pot calipers are missing).

The first 500 miles in the car have been dominated by one thing, learning to get the best out of the gearbox. Yes, you read that correctly, I said get the best out of it. I've not owned an automatic car before, usually preferring a manual, due to the reactive nature of an automatic. I found the idea of a dual clutch box intriguing though, and after reading the literature for the Trophy and the improvements to the gearbox software, I was keen to try it out.

Anyone familiar with the later versions of the Megane will be familiar with the RS (now RS Drive) button, which in the Megane, altered the throttle mapping, power output and ESP setting. Here in the Clio, the button also adjusts the parameters of the EDC box.

As standard (Normal mode), the box can be used fully automatic or manually (selected by pushing the lever to the left when in drive). For driving around town and watching the fuel economy, this is ideal. I do tend to find myself switching to manual and using the paddles for a little more control, or to hold onto specific gears that bit longer, as the car changes at around 2K rpm, given light pressure on the accelerator pedal.

Press the RS Drive button once and you switch into Sport mode (you get an illuminated green RenaultSport logo at the bottom of the instrument cluster and the word SPORT, at the bottom of the electronic display). When activated, the throttle pedal mapping is more aggressive and the exhaust is more vocal.

As we have touched on sounds, I will say, there's little induction noise from the Clio, whereas the Megane had plenty. My Clio 200 had a very quiet exhaust, even after 3 years. The Megane, a completely different story, lots of burbles and grumbles on the overrun, and generally a decent pop when changing gear under throttle. The Trophy is very much in the latter category. The exhaust system is loud, after 900 miles it has plenty of drama on the overrun, at part throttle and when changing up or down under throttle. It's a very rewarding sound, and quite easy to get addicted to when flipping through the relatively short gear ratios. Again, in Sport mode you can operate in Manual or Automatic, the box will hold on to gears but change before the redline in Auto mode. This gives a sporty feel, and most of the time, is all you need. The software will still intervene in Manual mode, but this is not intrusive

The last mode is RACE, activated by pushing the gear lever to the left while in drive and holding down the RS Drive button. This enables full manual control and allows you to hit the limiter, you also get the familiar up-change 'beep'. RACE mode disables the ESP and gives the most aggressive throttle mapping. It also allows Launch Control, which I'm yet to use, as to be honest, in dry weather there's little point, the traction off the line is immense, something that was more difficult to achieve in the Megane (or Clio 200 for that matter). Race mode also removes the creep forward when you don't have your foot on the brake, which is a nice touch.

The box is very easy to live with, and soon disappears into the whole experience, the shifts are fast, very fast. Contrary to the majority of feedback on the car, the problem is not the box, it's trying to drive the car fast, as an automatic. If you drive it as you would a manual (using the paddles or gear leaver) it responds in the same way as a manual. There is no missing interaction, no loss of involvement, if anything the whole experience is enhanced due to the speed of the gear change.

I personally would welcome an EDC box in the forthcoming RenaultSport Megane, I'm sure the user feedback from the current unit in the Clio and the possibility to configure and adjust the software to suit the driver will allow the box to enhance the driving experience even further.

Once you've got used to the gearbox it soon becomes apparent it's very easy to drive the car quickly. It's quicker than a Clio 200, noticeably so, it still revs freely but there's more torque, which arrives much further down the range than the previous model. Power delivery is very linear though, it doesn't have the sudden thump of torque at 3K rpm like the Megane and as such feels more like a normally aspirated motor. It's certainly quick enough if you want to use all of the performance, and the car is very fun to drive on the limit, the combination of steering weight, grip, and the exhaust registering each gear shift (up and down) urge you to push on, but in auto mode you can switch back to the complete opposite.

The handling is superb, the lower ride height and firmer suspension keep the car planted and it feels like it has a wider track. One thing that really stands out is how quickly the car changes direction, the chassis allowing you to enter corners with plenty of speed and carry it through, the electronic differential helping with traction as you exit with the power down. What's also great about the car is when the gearbox is in RACE mode you can bounce the box up and down the gears knowing that you have the protection of the software to stop you from dropping it too far down a gear. I find that you don't have to set yourself up before every corner as you can correct the gear quickly and mid corner if necessary, due to the speed of the box.

At the limit, this makes moving forward feel like one continuous motion, rather than the on/off/on process that driving with three pedals and a gear stick produces. In some ways, as a new experience, it's like playing a video game for the first time, where the controller is the only input device you have to control the car, at first it feels odd but over time you find yourself able to concentrate fully on what's happening in front of you. You then realise that the control system has become second nature and that the technology is enhancing the experience.

Given what's on offer here I'm inclined to agree with Renault's comments on their website, that the Trophy "provides value for money in performance terms". Coming from a Megane 265 and looking at the specs on paper, I expected the Trophy to be a move backwards, equal to the move forwards I experienced when moving from the MK3 Clio 200. In reality, in practically every way except power output the Trophy stands up to the Megane. Given I paid nearly £30K for my Megane in 2012, I think RenaultSport should be very proud of what it's achieved.
Offline titian  
#2 Posted : 13 September 2016 18:21:31(UTC)
titian


Posts: 255

Top write up just got rid of my megane 265 as the heavy clutch was getting on my nerves, got myself a 330d auto love the paddles, never going manual again and getting a clio trophy next year.
Offline Steve-O  
#3 Posted : 13 September 2016 18:56:40(UTC)
Steve-O


Posts: 70

In full agreement. The box is superb and although a like a manual car (my other toy is a supercharged mk1 mx5) this is just progress. It's great fun to drive!
Offline g7egt  
#4 Posted : 13 September 2016 20:06:46(UTC)
g7egt


Posts: 1,622
Location: MK land of excessive tyre wear

Thanks for sharing.
Offline titian  
#5 Posted : 14 September 2016 09:19:19(UTC)
titian


Posts: 255

How do you find the ride quality compared to the megane?
User is suspended until 26/07/2046 21:22:23(UTC) MrVix  
#6 Posted : 14 September 2016 10:15:56(UTC)
MrVix


Posts: 4,183
Location: Obsequious Henchman from the Renaultsport Forum.

As you said ............. Don't always believe what you read'Wink LOL
Offline WB83  
#7 Posted : 14 September 2016 10:27:00(UTC)
WB83


Posts: 3,041

Good to read and glad the car is working for you.

Did you not like changing gears manually in your 200/265? It sounds like you felt having to change gears yourself got in the way?

For me, an engaging car means doing the work myself, and having full control over what the car is doing, as opposed to making requests to a computer that may or may not comply depending on what it's sensors say.
Offline @F1Ranting  
#8 Posted : 15 September 2016 06:34:36(UTC)
@F1Ranting


Posts: 529

Good to hear. May be in a position to get a new car at some point in 2017 & a Clio 220 is on the shortlist, along with a Megane GT but I have concerns about the gearbox.

What's at the top of the list seems to change daily!

Offline rs 1an  
#9 Posted : 15 September 2016 09:11:49(UTC)
rs 1an


Posts: 11
Location: witham

I have not found any issues with new Clio gearbox, the only reason you need a gearstick is to hold on to when you spin, I drove my trophy around Bedford all morning in the pouring rain and we never spun once, well done Renaultsport imo😎
Offline baigent  
#10 Posted : 15 September 2016 20:06:47(UTC)
baigent


Posts: 9

Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
As you said ............. Don't always believe what you read'Wink LOL


Absolutely MrVix! Always try it for yourself
Offline baigent  
#11 Posted : 15 September 2016 20:08:24(UTC)
baigent


Posts: 9

Originally Posted by: WB83 Go to Quoted Post
Good to read and glad the car is working for you.

Did you not like changing gears manually in your 200/265? It sounds like you felt having to change gears yourself got in the way?

For me, an engaging car means doing the work myself, and having full control over what the car is doing, as opposed to making requests to a computer that may or may not comply depending on what it's sensors say.


Changing gear manually doesn't define the driving experience for me. I think regardless of the method, there are potential drawbacks. I've missed gears before in a manual (which is far worse for the physical components than the gearbox software saying it's too early to change down). My point around the dual clutch box (EDC, DSG, PDK, whatever you want to call it) is that it's software based and as Renault has shown, can be improved based on installable revisions. Regardless of how much you enjoy changing gear in a manual, a good dual clutch box is going to be faster than you. Of course this is the first EDC box in a RenaultSport car and it's obviously needed revisions based on user feedback, but personally, I think it's brilliant that it's possible to improve something continuously and for the user to benefit from that.
Offline baigent  
#12 Posted : 15 September 2016 20:09:37(UTC)
baigent


Posts: 9

Originally Posted by: titian Go to Quoted Post
How do you find the ride quality compared to the megane?


My Megane had a sport chassis, so the Trophy does feel firmer. It gives a very clear picture of the surface you are driving over, the damping is excellent though and for everything but the worst faults in the road, it doesn't crash. My Clio 200 had a Cup Chassis and the Trophy feels similarly firm, although I'd say it feels more composed at higher speeds.
Offline WB83  
#13 Posted : 16 September 2016 09:57:05(UTC)
WB83


Posts: 3,041

Originally Posted by: baigent Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: WB83 Go to Quoted Post
Good to read and glad the car is working for you.

Did you not like changing gears manually in your 200/265? It sounds like you felt having to change gears yourself got in the way?

For me, an engaging car means doing the work myself, and having full control over what the car is doing, as opposed to making requests to a computer that may or may not comply depending on what it's sensors say.


Changing gear manually doesn't define the driving experience for me. I think regardless of the method, there are potential drawbacks. I've missed gears before in a manual (which is far worse for the physical components than the gearbox software saying it's too early to change down). My point around the dual clutch box (EDC, DSG, PDK, whatever you want to call it) is that it's software based and as Renault has shown, can be improved based on installable revisions. Regardless of how much you enjoy changing gear in a manual, a good dual clutch box is going to be faster than you. Of course this is the first EDC box in a RenaultSport car and it's obviously needed revisions based on user feedback, but personally, I think it's brilliant that it's possible to improve something continuously and for the user to benefit from that.


I'm sure it is quicker between the cogs than me!

To put it another way, it's about control. With the auto in your clio, you're not in control of the gear change. Sure you can make requests, but it's a piece of software deciding if it wants to comply with your request or not. Ok fine you say - I can focus on just steering and throttle/brake inputs and remove gear changing skill as a potential thing that slows you down. Why not devolve throttle and steering inputs too and remove all skill from the equation? To use your playstation analogy, it's like driving with all the assists on ie auto gears, auto brake, steering input damping etc etc. Sure it makes it easier to go fast but it is as much fun? Not for me, I'd rather be in control and slower than being faster and with an illusion of control.

Also, much as revised software can dramatically affect an auto box, the one in the clio is no iphone - you don't get free updates, iirc the only difference between the 200t 'box and the 220t 'box is the software mapping, but no 200t owners have been give the option to upgrade.


User is suspended until 26/07/2046 21:22:23(UTC) MrVix  
#14 Posted : 16 September 2016 11:29:38(UTC)
MrVix


Posts: 4,183
Location: Obsequious Henchman from the Renaultsport Forum.

Originally Posted by: WB83 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: baigent Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: WB83 Go to Quoted Post
Good to read and glad the car is working for you.

Did you not like changing gears manually in your 200/265? It sounds like you felt having to change gears yourself got in the way?

For me, an engaging car means doing the work myself, and having full control over what the car is doing, as opposed to making requests to a computer that may or may not comply depending on what it's sensors say.


Changing gear manually doesn't define the driving experience for me. I think regardless of the method, there are potential drawbacks. I've missed gears before in a manual (which is far worse for the physical components than the gearbox software saying it's too early to change down). My point around the dual clutch box (EDC, DSG, PDK, whatever you want to call it) is that it's software based and as Renault has shown, can be improved based on installable revisions. Regardless of how much you enjoy changing gear in a manual, a good dual clutch box is going to be faster than you. Of course this is the first EDC box in a RenaultSport car and it's obviously needed revisions based on user feedback, but personally, I think it's brilliant that it's possible to improve something continuously and for the user to benefit from that.


I'm sure it is quicker between the cogs than me!

To put it another way, it's about control. With the auto in your clio, you're not in control of the gear change. Sure you can make requests, but it's a piece of software deciding if it wants to comply with your request or not. Ok fine you say - I can focus on just steering and throttle/brake inputs and remove gear changing skill as a potential thing that slows you down. Why not devolve throttle and steering inputs too and remove all skill from the equation? To use your playstation analogy, it's like driving with all the assists on ie auto gears, auto brake, steering input damping etc etc. Sure it makes it easier to go fast but it is as much fun? Not for me, I'd rather be in control and slower than being faster and with an illusion of control.

Also, much as revised software can dramatically affect an auto box, the one in the clio is no iphone - you don't get free updates, iirc the only difference between the 200t 'box and the 220t 'box is the software mapping, but no 200t owners have been give the option to upgrade.




The problem is WB83 the Renaultsport demographic started to change as soon as they introduced the 200T. The people that now buy the 200T are 'the point and squirt' brigade that also like their 'on board toys'. This is not a bad thing however I always thought Renaultsport would leave this sector of the market to the VAG group etc.

The telling thing is what they will do with the new Megane, will it be a poorly executed 'auto only tech fest' like the 200T or are we going to see something special like Renaultsports fabulous pre 200T offerings.

I always looked upon Renaultsport as plugging a gap between the likes of Lotus, Caterham etc and the run of the mill Hot Hatches, unfortunately they seem hell bent on joining the masses.
User is suspended until 26/07/2046 21:22:23(UTC) MrVix  
#15 Posted : 16 September 2016 11:31:43(UTC)
MrVix


Posts: 4,183
Location: Obsequious Henchman from the Renaultsport Forum.

Originally Posted by: baigent Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
As you said ............. Don't always believe what you read'Wink LOL


Absolutely MrVix! Always try it for yourself


Unfortunately I had the indignation of driving one 18 months ago, not really something I wish to subject myself to again thank you very muchBig Smile
Offline Gerryb92  
#16 Posted : 16 September 2016 11:33:44(UTC)
Gerryb92


Posts: 116

Hell bent on joining the masses or moving with the times? Surely they were one of the first to implement a lot of technologies in this sector of hatch including the dual clutch gearbox. The list of others joining seems to be getting longer and longer.

In reference to your comments about a computer making decisions WB83, I wonder how you feel about brake/throttle by wire :)
Offline CraigI  
#17 Posted : 16 September 2016 12:52:16(UTC)
CraigI


Posts: 988

Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: baigent Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
As you said ............. Don't always believe what you read'Wink LOL


Absolutely MrVix! Always try it for yourself


Unfortunately I had the indignation of driving one 18 months ago, not really something I wish to subject myself to again thank you very muchBig Smile


It's not taken you long to start regurgitating the same stuff has it.

Offline WB83  
#18 Posted : 16 September 2016 13:52:57(UTC)
WB83


Posts: 3,041

Originally Posted by: Gerryb92 Go to Quoted Post

In reference to your comments about a computer making decisions WB83, I wonder how you feel about brake/throttle by wire :)


The same as I do about electric power steering! I don't like it, but don't think DBW throttles detract as much from the experience as losing the 3rd pedal does.

I thought brake by wire was pretty much only in F1/WEC at the moment? Obviously all modern cars have servo assistance but there is still a physical connection between pedal and calipers.
Offline del115  
#19 Posted : 16 September 2016 15:58:20(UTC)
del115


Posts: 1,403
Location: West Wales

Originally Posted by: CraigI Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: baigent Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
As you said ............. Don't always believe what you read'Wink LOL


Absolutely MrVix! Always try it for yourself


Unfortunately I had the indignation of driving one 18 months ago, not really something I wish to subject myself to again thank you very muchBig Smile


It's not taken you long to start regurgitating the same stuff has it.


Yup - all very deja vu.
Seems we have to go through this cycle every now and again.

Usual suspects............
One who once had a ride in one (golf club car park iirc) and others who seem to feel that not having a clutch pedal is somehow akin to relinquishing part of their manhood.
They are of course personal beliefs/opinions and as such quite valid.

Unfortunately what they do not seem to be able to tolerate are others whose opinions differ.
Offline titian  
#20 Posted : 16 September 2016 16:01:36(UTC)
titian


Posts: 255

Hydraulic steering ,manual gearboxes there all coming to an end ,emmisions will see to that ,having had most of the hot hatches for the last 23 years the clio and this edc gearbox is coming out of the dark ages.This talk of being in control is rubbish ,next we will hearing let's get rid of abs etc.One of the reasons people say the these type of gearboxes won't change gear etc is because your driving faster and smoother so have more thinking / reaction time,becuase of this type of gearbox the engine / gearbox should being more reliable .

Edited by user 16 September 2016 16:03:59(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Offline WB83  
#21 Posted : 16 September 2016 17:33:43(UTC)
WB83


Posts: 3,041

Originally Posted by: del115 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: CraigI Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: baigent Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: MrVix Go to Quoted Post
As you said ............. Don't always believe what you read'Wink LOL


Absolutely MrVix! Always try it for yourself


Unfortunately I had the indignation of driving one 18 months ago, not really something I wish to subject myself to again thank you very muchBig Smile


It's not taken you long to start regurgitating the same stuff has it.


Yup - all very deja vu.
Seems we have to go through this cycle every now and again.

Usual suspects............
One who once had a ride in one (golf club car park iirc) and others who seem to feel that not having a clutch pedal is somehow akin to relinquishing part of their manhood.
They are of course personal beliefs/opinions and as such quite valid.

Unfortunately what they do not seem to be able to tolerate are others whose opinions differ.


Cue the knob gags... LOL

I was just interested in the discussion about how having an auto box enhances the driving experience for some and detracts from it for others.

As an aside, I do think Renault should allow all autobox Clio RS owners the option of upgrading the software to give them the best possible experience.

Offline baigent  
#22 Posted : 16 September 2016 21:36:37(UTC)
baigent


Posts: 9

Originally Posted by: WB83 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: baigent Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: WB83 Go to Quoted Post
Good to read and glad the car is working for you.

Did you not like changing gears manually in your 200/265? It sounds like you felt having to change gears yourself got in the way?

For me, an engaging car means doing the work myself, and having full control over what the car is doing, as opposed to making requests to a computer that may or may not comply depending on what it's sensors say.


Changing gear manually doesn't define the driving experience for me. I think regardless of the method, there are potential drawbacks. I've missed gears before in a manual (which is far worse for the physical components than the gearbox software saying it's too early to change down). My point around the dual clutch box (EDC, DSG, PDK, whatever you want to call it) is that it's software based and as Renault has shown, can be improved based on installable revisions. Regardless of how much you enjoy changing gear in a manual, a good dual clutch box is going to be faster than you. Of course this is the first EDC box in a RenaultSport car and it's obviously needed revisions based on user feedback, but personally, I think it's brilliant that it's possible to improve something continuously and for the user to benefit from that.


I'm sure it is quicker between the cogs than me!

To put it another way, it's about control. With the auto in your clio, you're not in control of the gear change. Sure you can make requests, but it's a piece of software deciding if it wants to comply with your request or not. Ok fine you say - I can focus on just steering and throttle/brake inputs and remove gear changing skill as a potential thing that slows you down. Why not devolve throttle and steering inputs too and remove all skill from the equation? To use your playstation analogy, it's like driving with all the assists on ie auto gears, auto brake, steering input damping etc etc. Sure it makes it easier to go fast but it is as much fun? Not for me, I'd rather be in control and slower than being faster and with an illusion of control.

Also, much as revised software can dramatically affect an auto box, the one in the clio is no iphone - you don't get free updates, iirc the only difference between the 200t 'box and the 220t 'box is the software mapping, but no 200t owners have been give the option to upgrade.




I do understand the control aspect and yes you are sending a request for another gear, but the box doesn't say 'no I don't want to do that because I'm here to make things more difficult for you' it changes up (or down) faster than I could manually. Yes, it has to work within defined parameters but as they are adjustable the software can be reprogrammed and continually improved (as Renault has shown). I don't feel like the control has been taken away, I feel that the technology is translating what I want it to do far quicker than it could before, and for me, that's progress.

There is always an adjustment period when moving away from something that has become second nature and trying something new (hence my reference to Gran Turismo) but it's not a step backwards. Obviously that's my interpretation, and of course all things are subjective.

If a software upgrade can offer a tangible improvement to the performance of the vehicle then I for one am happy to pay for that. In the same way remapping can very easily unlock performance from existing components. Renault may not have considered upgradeability as an option, or they have, and it's currently not part of their business model, but software upgrades obviously have a place in the modern car (just look at Tesla).

Your iPhone comment is an interesting one though, I do believe that being able to receive software updates that enhance an existing product (within its lifespan) benefit the user and increase its usability, even Apple used to charge for OS updates on the Mac, but as technology improves, so do business models.

ps I have everything set to manual when I do get the time to play GT

Edited by user 16 September 2016 21:51:07(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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