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Ford driver seeking Renault advice


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Greetings- I'm an outsider! I've been intrigued by the RS Meganes and Clios for years. I've recently participated in some low-level motorsport events and I'm just learning the ropes about driving technique and car control. My current car is ideal to learn how to drive properly, an 09 manual zetec fiesta which is a sweet little car with nicely sorted chassis and suspension. But I'm going to succumb to an RS car in the near future as I chase a bigger hit!


I have a particular penchant for the Clio 182 Cup and the Megane 225 Cup.


My requirements are

-a vehicle that's liveable as a daily commuter (we're a 1 car family) Rarely carries more than 2 people.

-competent as an occasional track day/tarmac rally car

-I love small, light well-sorted cars

-I lust after the Megane but fear it will be too heavy for my Clio 1000kg tendencies?

-$25k budget.


Does anyone own both these cars - or driven both? I'd love to know your impressions on the driving experience both on road and track, to better inform my decision




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Howdy Jim


The 182 is a cracking car, and best suited for chasing class victories. The Megane is faster outright, but struggles in it's own division (usually up against far more tuneable japs).


As an everyday proposition, however, the tables turn. The Megane is easier to live with, more spacious, quieter and generally more civilised.


I have had the honour of owning both, and the family has a 172Ph2 and a 225Ph1 Cup in the garage. Best of both worlds (also see Dansa's Two Ph1 thread :wink: )

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I have a 182, a friend with a Fiesta Zetec with Konis and have driven several Meganes. The 182 is like a more rapid, more hyperactive Fiesta with more creaks in the cabin. Much as I enjoy the Fiesta and its remarkable abilities the Clio is a whole step up for entertainment and involvement.


Megane, as long as you get a Cup or R26, almost shares the fun factor of the Clio but gains refinement and space - and they are fast. I don't think you'd be disappointed moving into one from Fiesta if you can afford the extra over the Clio or need the size and comfort.

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I have had a 172, and currently have an '07 Fiesta Zetec and 225 Megane in the garage. Is your Fiesta the WQ, or the later WS model as I believe 2009 is the year that the new model came out? I actually have both of these as well, as it turns out. The WS Fiesta is a LOT softer than the WQ as it never came with sports suspension (the earlier WS did, and the latest WT does) but rather, it has the same setup as the lesser models (CL, LX, Ghia).


I moved from the Clio 172 straight to the WQ Fiesta and while I found the Clio a little more balanced and manoeuvrable, the Fiesta has far greater corner speeds and road holding. A well sorted Clio 182 will return the Clio to front-runner status. That, and the Clio has a far better engine and chassis.


I am selling my WQ Fiesta, but as I do have this car, the WS and the Megane 225 at the moment I can say that if I have the choice of any drive on a nice weekend I will pick the Megane. If I'm going to be stuck in traffic then I'll generally pick either the WQ Fiesta or the Megane. The RSM is more enjoyable, but it is more hungry for liquid dinosaur.


Reviewing your criteria, the Megane will feel "bigger" in terms of it's handling charateristics. But only marginally. Given you'd also like to track the car, and I suspect you'd like to win in a class, then the Clio is definitely the one for you as trixie has stated. If you're after something more comfortable, but equally as fast as the Clio when you need it, then get the Megane. You'll just not be competitive in your class.

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Firstly, welcome!


Secondly, for $25k you can get a second-hand R26, a barely used 197 or maybe (if you're lucky) a second-hand 200.


If you want one car that can do everything well, day in, day out, on the track, off the track, get the R26. If you need 5 doors, get a phII 225 Cup.


If you prefer NA and don't mind a slightly smaller boot, get a 197/200. It will still do everything well (and handles better than the Megane)


You say you like the 182 Cup, but they are in the $10-15k price range. They're a totally different beast to the R26 and are more hard-core and lighter than the 197.


Go and drive them all and I think it will become clear which best suits you 8)

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Welcome along, sounds like you are doing things properly starting in a sensible car and doing clubsport events.


As a natural progression I would recommend the Clio 182 Cup and leave it stock, they are a fun and capable car that can compete well at club sport style events being a non turbo, it will also be rewarding at track days.




(and handles better than the Megane)



This is not a fact its a claim, Clio drivers think Clio's are superior, Megane drivers think Megane's are superior, truth is both are good and shine differently, neither is better than the other really, a good driver will be fast either way.

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What a response! Wasn't expecting such rapid and generous feedback...nice work people.


I don't care which car is 'quicker' - as long as I'm smiling and can feel connected to the car I'm happy (and can live day to day with it)


As this discussion is now advancing, and in response to your questions to me, here we go-

Must be:


-Fun (for me) and comfort (for wife) absolutely important (I feel I'm being MORE than reasonable with current setup!)

-Approaching Fiesta levels of civility, comfort, ease of operation (if this is possible from either meg/clio cups - am I dreaming?) -

-Side airbags/ESP equipped- bluetooth and cruise would be nice! (fiesta is well loaded)

-I don't envisage a great need to win class etc...I'm out there for a laugh/Neither do I envisage any need to tune (didn't they do that in Dieppe?)


Your feedback has advanced my thinking and right now I'm tending towards Meg..so, honestly what are the let-downs/weaknesses of this car. If I've researched correctly, they seem to incl:

-squeaks and rattles

-driving position too high (gasp) -if agreed has anyone replaced the standard driver's seat?)

-fast depreciation

anything else?


honing it down, Meg Cup and R26- again is R26 tending towards too hardcore for daily life?



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If comfort is a factor (especially to suit the wife) I would go a non-cup Megane (or Clio).


I had a 182 cup which was great but a bit harsh for everyday driving. That's why I chose the non cup megane as my next car, and it still handles very well regardless.


Never heard of high driving position issues with the meg - this applies more to the Clio. Seats are fine. And all cars depreciate (especially European), I don't think this is exclusive to Renault.


Good luck.

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R26 is less hardcore than 225 Cup. They backed off the suspension to allow more roll to aid the LSD.


PhIII Clios and PhII Meganes will be at least equal to, if not as civil as, your Fiesta. Renaultsport really know how to do sporty, aggressive suspension that is compliant and won't break your back - just drive one!


I think you'd be happy with either a Clio III or Megane, but for your budget the Megane is hard to beat - turbo torque, slightly bigger, less frantic for long trips but 99% as fun and involving as a Clio, and the LSD is a real bonus on track days (well, in an R26)


Buying a second-hand 225/R26, they will have already had a big hit on depreciation. If you can't afford to lose about $10k in the next 3-5 years, then, well, buy a cheaper car to start with.


All RSs have air-bag equipped seats and if you want to stay legal and replace the seats you'll be looking at a few $k...


But again, go and drive the different models and variants to see the differences for yourself! If you're in Sydney, I can offer a look at a 197 and an R26 8)

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All RSs come standard with climate control, auto lights, cruise (with speed limiter) and auto wipers


Some have (in various combinations) Xenons, full leather, sunroof, CD stacker, recaros, brembos, LSD, metalised windscreen.


The R26 is a beautiful thing. My 182 Cup was beautifully compliant for what it was, and while sometimes a slight annoyance on the freeway, was more than capable and comfortable for the daily commute.


Try them, they're all different cars, and anything that wears a RenaultSport badge is a cracking drive - these aren't sticker specials 8)

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it's funny gauging people's reactions when they get in the 182 Cup. People who have been used to modified sports cars find the car soft and comfortable but find the seating position too high, people that drive everyday cars find it too raw for everyday use and the seating position great.


except for bluetooth, a 2nd hand R26 is the closest Renaultsport that fits the bill. You should test drive one, you'll sign up straight away.

is Jeffie's R26 still for sale?

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R26, it's a no Brainer. To give you an idea a friend of mine owned a 997-GT3 and bought an R26 as a daily driver ended up selling the GT3 as he just didn't drive it anymore. The rattle and squeak thing is not entirely true, my 172 is approaching 10 years and 253,000k's and has none. Besides rattles are usually easily fixed with a little investigation and ingenuity if they are evident.


Driving position on the Megane is fine, and even in the 172/182 is easily fixed if it's a problem. Equipment levels are mostly there I would think but R26 owners can answer that one. The only issue that I could see is that looks wise the Megane can be a love or hate thing, if Mrs Jim likes it then you're sweet!

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love the R26 as a daily . driving postion is excellent . LOVE the looks - i just admire it everytime i see it from afar .


although driving walikes 172 silver bullet yday - a lot of fun for the $$ .

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I'm an ex R26 owner and I took the missus' 197 for a punt down Putty road today. They are both great cars and I can see why someone would favour either over the other.


The 197 has more feel more of the time, but is harder to hustle while short shifting compared to the R26 due to the lack of torque. You need to be more precise with your steering and throttle inputs with the 197, whereas in the R26 you can put your foot down and the LSD will pull you through a corner like nothing else! The Meganes longer wheelbase makes it more stable over bumps, and just feels more planted in general.


My personal preference is for the 197 (could do with some better rubber though), but each to their own.

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The R26 is a great choice which fits your budget and is super quick. But just bare in mind, the Clio is probably a more rock solid track car. It will be cheaper to maintain. No turbo, cheaper on tyres, and a simple cable operated clutch.


Im not sure how the clutch set up works on the ph2 Meg's, but if they anything like the 250's with internal gearbox clutch hydraulics then they can potentially be expensive to repair. If your on a budget the Clio will keep your costs down and still offer a heap of fun. If you can afford the extra maintenance costs, then the Meg (especially the R26) will give you huge grins come race day :D


Of course, the Megane will be more practical as a family car.



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Ditto Dish,

A nice welcome and good reading on here.

I'd go a 197 or with luck, some sort of R27.

But all the best, and hope you score a prize.

Look after it, regardless which wins.



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If you live with a slight lacking bottom end oomph, a Clio 197 would be my choice. They're ridiculously capable machines. Perfect as a daily and cracking on track. Being NA, newer and lower km than your average R26, they'll be cheaper to own as well.

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