Advantages Refined, Head Turning Potential, Superb Handling
Disadvantages Very Impractical, Thirsty, Expensive to Maintain
The first time I saw one of these cars (on the cover of Auto Express in 1998) I knew I had to have one. I've owned 2 Escort Cosworths in the past, and this was the only car that finally gave me something to replace them with!I finally got my hands on one in April 2005. At that time the cheapest Clio V6's were still changing hands for £13k+, but I hunted long and hard and found one lurking in deepest darkest Devon, a 2001 example with 37,000 on the clock and going for a measely £11,000!
The Mk1 (cost £26000 new - 2001-2003) has the older rounded-style headlamps
Now this is not the sort of car you have as your only car - as it has virtually no boot (just enough room for a briefcase/laptop) has only 2 seats, with a small amount of on-show stowage behind them, and has a small under-bonnet stowage area. You can probably use it for going away for a weekend, but is certainly no family transport.However, as we also have a Zafira as our main car, the Clio is all mine, and although we have a child & a dog, mostly the Clio is just used by me. That doesn't mean it has an easy life though, I travel the length and breadth of the country for my job, and the Clio is my work car now. Used every day, it has racked up 12,000 miles in just 6 months, and they are some of the most enjoyable miles I have ever spent behind the wheel!
OK, at first glance, the future did not look too good for my mini-supercar - no stowage, 1 passenger max, 26MPG, expensive parts, noisy engine - I thought I'd have the car for a few weeks, then come to my senses and sell it on. But 6 months later, the reverse is true.Yes 26mpg isn't great, but then again, it's not bad - when you consider many other cars of this ilk return 16-20mpg. The engine is noisy, but hey, what a noise! I could listen to that unit rev all day long - it is the most glorious sounding engine I have ever heard, and to be fair, it's not all that loud, and you do get used to it. The car is surprisingly comfy, even on a long journey, and it has 6 gears so it cruises nicely on the motorway at close to 30mpg.
Then you pull off the motorway, and if you find a nice country road, you realise why you bought this car. In the dry it is quite simply the best handling car I have ever driven.
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