Few cars have reigned as class leader for as long as the Renault Clio Renaultsport.

Every previous iteration of it has been our hot supermini of choice for a simple reason: each was an enthusiast’s dream.

Fast, light, cheap and adjustable, with a heady 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine and twangy Cup chassis, past versions positively clamoured to be driven hard and devoured track duties just as readily as they spiced up a commute.

To anyone lucky enough to have spent a decade and a half behind its oversized steering wheel, the Renaultsport Clio was a formula of devilish perfection. But apparently not one immune to change.

With an all-new Clio comes a seismic change to Renaultsport’s established approach. Like the standard model, the RS 200 must now be bought with five doors. Its engine has been downsized and turbocharged. And the gearbox has been automated. Although a more track-focussed RS 220 Trophy has recently been added.

These changes are intended to make the former tearaway a more appealing prospect to a broader cross-section of buyers.

Top 5 Hot hatchbacks

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Peugeot 5008 2018 long-term review hero front
    18 March 2019
    First Drive
    Did six months with Peugeot's seven-seater prove it has a place among...
  • Lynk&Co 01 PHEV 2019 first drive review - hero front
    15 March 2019
    First Drive
    Youthful styling on a Volvo technological base make this plug-in hybrid SUV a...
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2019 road test review - hero front
    15 March 2019
    Car review
    Hyundai’s US-market breakthrough SUV aims for greater European success

But can a softer, more sensible Clio RS live up to our lofty expectations?

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Peugeot 5008 2018 long-term review hero front
    18 March 2019
    First Drive
    Did six months with Peugeot's seven-seater prove it has a place among...
  • Lynk&Co 01 PHEV 2019 first drive review - hero front
    15 March 2019
    First Drive
    Youthful styling on a Volvo technological base make this plug-in hybrid SUV a...
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2019 road test review - hero front
    15 March 2019
    Car review
    Hyundai’s US-market breakthrough SUV aims for greater European success