Product Type: Renault cars
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Clio 1.4 RT: A Poor Man's Peugeot 306?;)
Renault Clio (1991-98)
Member Name: missbrowneyedgirl
Renault Clio (1991-98)
Date: 12/06/01, updated on 12/06/01 (6740 review reads)
Advantages: reliable, lots of standard features, cheap to run
ia_young has inspired me, so for once instead of slating my primary form of transport, I am going to give it a fair trial! Here goes...
As the title suggests, I was looking for a Peugeot 306 when I inadvertently bought my car. I had the cash in my bank account, a big smile on my face and ideas very firmly stuck in my head.
The first barrier I had to break was encouraging the car sales people to talk to me. Unbelievable but true, car salesmen do not talk to women in garages. Obviously because they need a man with them in order to buy a car... but hold on, I am getting side-tracked and that's a whole different opinion altogether!
Next cam the big crunch. I couldn't afford a 306... :( ...not unless I bought an L reg. basic model. 'Oh', said a rather disheartened missbrowneyedgirl. 'Well what about a Clio?' asked the car salesman. 'A Clio?', I thought, 'well, let's see it."
And there it began. A love-hate affair with a car I didn't want. When I saw it on the forecourt it was shiny and silver (priority one: colour - check!). It was kind of a similar shape to the 306, well from the front anyway. And, at a 1995 registration, it was 2 years newer than any 306 I could afford. It was starting to look very promising.
Next the engine: 'It's a 1.4 RT', informed the car salesman. I was later to mislead my brother into believing that this stood for Really Turbo - a illusion he carried around for years much to the amusement of anyone he told...;) On the test drive I noticed it was a lot nippier than the 1.1 Fiesta I had learnt to drive in. It was also the quietest engine I had ever heard, purring like a quiet kitten. These days it's more like a tiger with a bad chest infection but still...
And on to the important bit - the 'stuff'. Being a girl, stuff is the word I use to encapsulate all the goodies that come on a car, and I was very pleasantly surprised
with the standard package on the Clio.
Starting with the most important, a stereo control on the steering wheel! Yes, you can turn it up, turn it down, change radio stations or mute the stereo without taking your eyes off the road! Fantastic! It also has the added bonus of being able to fox passengers and prevent them from switching your radio station. Also on the subject of the musical facilities, the Clio RT has 6 built-in speakers (four in the front and two in the back) and the standard stereo is a Blaupunkt one. It sounds pretty good for a standard model and copes very well with high volume! One criticism I would make is the lack of storage space for cassettes - I have to keep the main ones in the driver door pocket and fill the glove box with the rest.
Next comes the electric windows, driver and passenger window buttons in the driver's door panel with one-touch movement on the driver window. Essential for any self-respecting visit to the drive-thru or for asking pedestrians for directions when you get lost (not that that happens to any of us of course!). Also helpful for clearing frost and/or snow in winter without getting out of the car. The possibilities are endless! Unfortunately the sunroof in the 95 RT is manual but hey, you can't have everything can you?
Getting a little more technical, (oh dear I am on dicey ground!) the RT has a sealed water unit. This means you never have to put water in the radiator as the steam is condensed and used again! I am sure it is very clever and if I knew how it all worked I would tell you! Effectively all it means to me is that I only have to remember to put water in the windscreen washers!
The next must-have feature I found was central locking. And better than that, central locking from an infa-red key fob, although the spare key doesn't have the infa-red bit so careful not to lose the main set. Another nice touch is a door-locking button in front of the gear stick. I often u
se this when stationary in the town at night or when my friend decides to try and open my boot as I drive away! As a women-safety feature I think it is excellent although there are dangers to be had driving around in a locked car.
Safety wise again, the Clio RT comes with a standard immobiliser that works with a key from a lock in the glove box. It flashes a red LED on the steering column when activated, which works nicely as a deterrent.
The standard things like jack and spare wheel are cleverly carried within the vehicle. the jack lives in a flap under the bonnet, opposite the windscreen wash reservoir and the spare wheel lives under the car and is released with a simple clip. I know I am rambling a bit here so I'll cut my features list short. Sorry to the nice footrest for motorway driving and the oil checker dial which I didn't get time to mention!
Through the years I have had the car it has caused me very little trouble. The only major part I have had to replace was the exhaust, which was relatively cheap compared to other cars. The car is very cheap to run, although it does fall into the higher tax bracket for Road Tax. I have managed to clock up 55,000 miles in the four years I have had mine, at one point doing 120 miles per day 5 days a week for 12 months. Personally I think the RT stands for Reliable - Totally!
Having said all that (are you still here?), I can see that my old jalopy hasn't done me so bad after all! In fact whether you have enjoyed this op or not, it has made me a happier missbrowneyedgirl! I really would recommend this car to anyone as a first car, although remember they are getting on a bit now so have it checked over by a professional.