Saturday – Automatic For The People

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The Renaultsport Clio may look every inch a hot hatchback but the most surprising feature is that you can only buy it in automatic form. Will enthusiasts opt for a manual Fiesta ST or Peugeot 208 GTi instead?

Well, if you like fast cars then flappy, steering wheel gear changers are where it’s at. F1 drivers don’t do battle with a boring old gearstick – they keep both hands on the wheel avoid the distraction. Which is why the Renault is slightly faster than both of its key rivals.

This racey Clio also has an RS Drive setting, which really ups the tempo by adjusting throttle response and shift speed that exploit those 200bhp to the max.

Where the Clio falls short is styling. It’s not enjoyed the subtle touch of the designer’s brush. The sporty bits, like the deep front grille and wheels are very much in your face.

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