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Renault Clio III vs Peugeot 207

Broadcast date : 6th August 2006

Itís not surprising that these two French icons are very similar in overall concept. What is surprising is how different they are in detail, and dynamics.

The engines fitted to our French duo were not directly comparable Ė 1,6 diesel for the Peugeot and 1,6 petrol for the Renault. Interestingly, they have similar power outputs.

But mechanicals aside, these two French companies appear to have very different car-building philosophies.

As far as road-feel is concerned, the Renault has remarkable ride composure for a small car, particularly on bumpy surfaces. 

Itís steering is super-light at low speeds, a bit unnervingly so, but this tightens up as speed rises.

For a 1600 we have to say the engine is a little disappointing. 

But the overall driving experience is excellent. The relaxed air to the Renault makes up for any lack of urge.

The Clio 3 is substantially heavier than the previous generation Clio, and although it runs the 0-100 gauntlet in 11,1 seconds at sea level, it feels substantially slower at the Reef, where its weight of over 1200 kilograms counts against it.

Itís equipped with ABS as well as Brake Assist, four airbags and anti submarining seats, to sum its safety attributes. 

Accordingly, Clio III gets a full-house five star Euro NCAP safety rating.

The 83 kilowatt petrol engine on the Clio needs to be revved hard to get the best out of it, and like many Renault engines, its not particularly comfortable once the rev-counter goes beyond 5500.

Itís a torque-orientated engine rather than a screamer, clearly with an eye to good fuel consumption.

Peugeotís 207 is much more brash in overall approach. It looks more of a street-fighter and its handling matches that. It has a different feel to the Renault. More taut, less composed over bumps.

It has a sportier rubber and wheel configuration, which imparts good grip. And its diesel engine plays the part.

Itís peppier at the Reef, thanks to turbocharging. The driving experience, the steering, is also more racy.

It lacks the refinement of the Renault, but maybe thatís a conscious attempt to be different.

We wonder, though whether that extra turbo grunt from the diesel would make up for the fact that itís R25 000 more expensive than the Clio 3.

Thereís a 1,6 litre petrol 207 on offer, but at R151 000, that too is R10 000 pricier than the Renault.

The 207 doesnít feel as well put together, as well-integrated as the Clio 3. Once again, we wonder what happened to good rough road-manners in a marque that was once famous for ruggedness.

The Peugeotís Hdi 1,6 litre diesel engine is no stranger to us, and itís remarkably light on fuel if you drive it with restraint. Typically diesel, it has plenty of low down grunt.

Renault Clio III 1,6 Dynamic
  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, 1 598 cc
  • Power: 83 kW @ 6 000 rpm
  • Torque: 151 Nm @ 4 250 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 11,1 seconds (Car Magazine)
  • Top speed: 188 km/h ( Car Magazine)
  • Fuel consumption: 8,1 litres/100 km (Car Magazine)
  • Price: R141 000

Peugeot 207 1,6 HDi

  • Engine: Four-cylinder turbodiesel, 1 560 cc
  • Power: 80 kW @ 4 000 rpm
  • Torque: 240 Nm @ 1 750 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 10,1 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 193 km/h ( claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 6,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R166 400
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