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I'm Rock, debating 197 vs 200 (but just looking)


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Hi I'm Rock, saw a Clio 200 today and it got me thinking about them, then I started looking and their priced reasonably well, so going to sus them out a bit here, I don't think I'll post much, just read and maybe ask questions to some existing threads.

Seems there's a lot of variants for the 200, and taking a look, the 197 looks like it would be, similar in some ways, built around the same time, obviously similar power, is a bit lower down on asking prices.

I have friends who talk about how good their french cars have been in terms of both bang for buck and reliability, so am interested to learn about what cars are around and the ins and outs of them.

Biggest concerns are, maintenance costs, trouble areas (will look up some used buying guides, some UK tend to be good at this), how the interiors last, seat height (how low can it go) + steering wheel distance, I have long legs but short arms, so cars with telescoping wheels are great but I'm doubtful these have any, but don't know yet.

Edited by Rock1000
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I have a later 200 Angel/Demon edition, these have telescopic steering wheel, I went this particular version as I wanted leather Recaro/interior, plus all the other options such as keyless, climate, projector headlights, 18's, privacy glass, basically I didn't want to have to do anything with it.

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The 197 and the 200 are both Clio Mk3. The 197 is the first introduced version also called Phase 1 while the 200 is the face-lifted version also called Phase 2. The differences are mainly optical. Technically they're basically the same except for some minor details. With the 200 the engine got a slight rework with a little more power in the lower rev range, the gear box (gear shifting) was changed and the suspension got a little rework but that's basically it.

These cars are presumably some of the best NA hot hatches and maybe even the best ones in the respective class every built. This is no fanboy talk but simply a fact proven over and over again. There's a reason while you (still) see so many around the Nürburgring Nordschleife for example. They're great track cars out of the box while being affordable.

There are some standard things to look out for (engine mounts, exhaust manifold flexis or gear box syncro rings as example) but the cars are generally quite reliable. Maintenance cost are ok but things like a cam belt change (which should be done regularly) can be a bit expensive. It also seems that it becomes more and more difficult to source certain more specific parts but there are often aftermarket options available.

 

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17 hours ago, Rock1000 said:

Hi I'm Rock, saw a Clio 200 today and it got me thinking about them, then I started looking and their priced reasonably well, so going to sus them out a bit here, I don't think I'll post much, just read and maybe ask questions to some existing threads.

Seems there's a lot of variants for the 200, and taking a look, the 197 looks like it would be, similar in some ways, built around the same time, obviously similar power, is a bit lower down on asking prices.

I have friends who talk about how good their french cars have been in terms of both bang for buck and reliability, so am interested to learn about what cars are around and the ins and outs of them.

Biggest concerns are, maintenance costs, trouble areas (will look up some used buying guides, some UK tend to be good at this), how the interiors last, seat height (how low can it go) + steering wheel distance, I have long legs but short arms, so cars with telescoping wheels are great but I'm doubtful these have any, but don't know yet.

As for the 197s maybe go try one out. The drivetrain and suspension differences are minor but are noticeable. Especially the shorter gearing and the stiffer suspension.

As for limited editions have a look in the Clio 3 section. There is quite a bit of info on them there. We joke that there are almost more limited edition 200s combined than standard 200s in Aus. 

Generally they vary in what gear is included with the car. Drivetrain and suspension is largely same as standard 200.

With seats, standard leathers (what I have in my Gordini) wear very well. Recaros side bolsters wear out. This is not just a Renault thing but general to all recaros. 

Generally all seating options feel high up. But recaros do have aftermarket seat frame options to get them lower. 

Hope this helps 

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If you are planning to use it as a daily, I would recommend against it. 

For a weekend car they give you great thrills.

They are expensive to run and maintain I must warn you outside of regular servicing.

Get a 200 and don't waste your money on a 197 unless it's the r27 as the regular 197s value is shit and they are very hard to sell second hand, as most people want a 200 with recaros or one of the limited editions.

Things that are very likely to need money. 

Engine mounts 

Clutch fluid change 

Gearbox synchros wear out due to poor driving 

Gear box fluid change is a must.

Suspension ball joints and other parts wear out over time and cost a chunk to replace.

Exhaust manifold can crack if the engine mounts are shot.

Catalytic converters can collapse but not sure on time frames.

Stereo is shit 

Seats wear out from getting in and out constantly.

See the Clio 3 as a great driver's car that does need money to maintain it rather than modify it and you will love it.

Sorry if that's sounds very negative

 

 

 

 

 

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On a positive, just get a Clio ll 182 Cup and waste your money on upgrades.

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Thanks for the replies everyone!

On 09/01/2021 at 1:37 PM, Friedchicken said:

As for the 197s maybe go try one out. The drivetrain and suspension differences are minor but are noticeable. Especially the shorter gearing and the stiffer suspension.

As for limited editions have a look in the Clio 3 section. There is quite a bit of info on them there. We joke that there are almost more limited edition 200s combined than standard 200s in Aus. 

Generally they vary in what gear is included with the car. Drivetrain and suspension is largely same as standard 200.

With seats, standard leathers (what I have in my Gordini) wear very well. Recaros side bolsters wear out. This is not just a Renault thing but general to all recaros. 

Generally all seating options feel high up. But recaros do have aftermarket seat frame options to get them lower. 

Hope this helps 

It does, I am sort of leaning toward starting with 197s and seeing how good they are, then considering 200s. The prices aren't worlds apart, except for some 200s that are special edition and very low kms (current 1 on carsales for $24k, with mods, low kms etc). I think I prefer the seat options, smaller silver wheels (seriously on both counts), and they don't look bad either, it's just the 200s look subjectively better to some people.

On 09/01/2021 at 7:12 PM, woot woot said:

If you are planning to use it as a daily, I would recommend against it. 

For a weekend car they give you great thrills.

They are expensive to run and maintain I must warn you outside of regular servicing.

Get a 200 and don't waste your money on a 197 unless it's the r27 as the regular 197s value is shit and they are very hard to sell second hand, as most people want a 200 with recaros or one of the limited editions.

Things that are very likely to need money. 

Engine mounts 

Clutch fluid change 

Gearbox synchros wear out due to poor driving 

Gear box fluid change is a must.

Suspension ball joints and other parts wear out over time and cost a chunk to replace.

Exhaust manifold can crack if the engine mounts are shot.

Catalytic converters can collapse but not sure on time frames.

Stereo is shit 

Seats wear out from getting in and out constantly.

See the Clio 3 as a great driver's car that does need money to maintain it rather than modify it and you will love it.

Sorry if that's sounds very negative

Sobering but appreciated. Guess it's all down to the drive then. I'd want to suss out how often these things need doing and when they were last done on any potential candidates. Maintenance is maintenance so things will wear out eventually, if it's not $1000s a year, then it's probably fine.

On 09/01/2021 at 8:24 PM, 63x1092 said:

On a positive, just get a Clio ll 182 Cup and waste your money on upgrades.

Well that's true, they are getting on a bit, but still like the 182 and 172, more basic cars I'm sure.

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19 minutes ago, Rock1000 said:

Thanks for the replies everyone!

It does, I am sort of leaning toward starting with 197s and seeing how good they are, then considering 200s. The prices aren't worlds apart, except for some 200s that are special edition and very low kms (current 1 on carsales for $24k, with mods, low kms etc). I think I prefer the seat options, smaller silver wheels (seriously on both counts), and they don't look bad either, it's just the 200s look subjectively better to some people.

Sobering but appreciated. Guess it's all down to the drive then. I'd want to suss out how often these things need doing and when they were last done on any potential candidates. Maintenance is maintenance so things will wear out eventually, if it's not $1000s a year, then it's probably fine.

Well that's true, they are getting on a bit, but still like the 182 and 172, more basic cars I'm sure.

1000s can be gone very quickly on the Clio 3 sadly.

If you wanted a cheap entry and wanted to drive it and not modify it, the 197 is okay.

Bear in mind if it has low KMs that it likely has not had anything major fixed yet. It will probably need to be replaced in the next few years as they are getting older also.

Gearbox rebuild is 3k

Ball joints wearing out is 1.5-2k

AC which seems to depend on the car, is also 2k for a condenser replacement. If the blower goes 600-1k

Manifold cracking can be expensive depending which route you take.

I daily drive my clio 197 and I enjoy it, but it certainly is not cheap.

They are a bit poo of fuel around town, but good at freeways cruising funnily enough.

Also steering wheels flake and need to be retrimmed.

I think they most annoying bit is that many places can work on them, but finding someone that actually knows the car and it's needs. The main ones in Melbourne are virage and auto Paris and alpine affaire. In Sydney it's Paul v and renotech.

They all charge around the 100-115 per hour rate.

 

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All honesty though. When you push it hard down a twisty road and you can give some serious machinery a very very good run for their money and even embarrass them, you do think it's the best car in the world. 

This is why I keep mine despite the ton of money I have spent on it.

When checking out a car make sure the gearbox shifts nicely. When it's cold it will be stiff and very crap, but once warm it should be smooth at full thottle. Then get the rest of the car checked out if you are keen on it.

 

Edited by woot woot
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Just now, woot woot said:

All honesty though. When you push it hard down a twisty road and you can give some serious machinery a very very good run for their money and even embarrass them, you do think it's the best car in the world. 

This is why I keep mine despite the ton of money I have spent on it.

When checking out a car make sure the gearbox shifts nicely. When it's cold it will be stiff and very crap, but once warm it should be smooth. Then get the rest of the car checked out if you are keen on it.

 

Yeah, I don't care what people say about modern cars, I still wait for the engine oil light to click off, and to have rowed through the gears once or twice and after a several minutes at least before giving it some, oil is oil, needs to heat up.

So all of those maintenance things, I guess like always, it just factors into the budget of the car, was it done recently? No, think of it as part of the cost of the car, and if it was, then it'll be an expense in the future. Annoying about the Gearbox rebuild that sounds frustrating, the rest seem manageable, ball joints could be done probably once with some good after market stuff (guessing) to make that last much longer.

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6 minutes ago, Rock1000 said:

Yeah, I don't care what people say about modern cars, I still wait for the engine oil light to click off, and to have rowed through the gears once or twice and after a several minutes at least before giving it some, oil is oil, needs to heat up.

So all of those maintenance things, I guess like always, it just factors into the budget of the car, was it done recently? No, think of it as part of the cost of the car, and if it was, then it'll be an expense in the future. Annoying about the Gearbox rebuild that sounds frustrating, the rest seem manageable, ball joints could be done probably once with some good after market stuff (guessing) to make that last much longer.

Yep pretty much. 197s can be had for 6k or less so if you plan to keep it and you are okay with maintaining it then you will enjoy it. The cloth seats are pretty good also if you don't want recaros.

I did forget about the timing belt and water pump 4-5 year interval costing about 1200 to get done also.

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I've owned both 197 and 200. They're both fantastic drives on both road and track. Highly recommended.

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If you're tall then you will definitely want the lowered set base (if recaro), it makes a world of difference. These cars are getting on a bit and some will require parts, but IMO once you do the car will last quite a while and be very enjoyable!

My experience my be a little different to some others but I have found the car quite reliable and not super expensive to fix but that may be because I like to do most work myself.

Two biggest things for these cars (any 197 or 200):

1. Timing belt change. If this hasn't been done within 4-5 years or 100K kms then budget 1000-1200 for replacement.

2. Gearbox crunching. Check all the gears go in and don't crunch. If it does then synchros most likely need replacing and it is expensive 2.5-3K job (with new clutch).

Secondary things to look for:

- Front strut tops flog out. No way to see if they are damaged without taking the cowl off unfortunately. Listen for clunking from the front.

- Inner tie rods. Listen for clunking while turning, especially noticeable at low speed.

- Lower ball joints. Similar symptoms to the strut tops.

- Engine mounts (mostly lower dogbone and torque mount). The lower dogbone mount flogs out quick on these and if left will eventually split the exhaust manifold flexi joints. Torque mount can flog out and cause clunking under acceleration.

 

Like others have said, they are very fun cars to drive which can give much more expensive cars a run for their money in the twisty stuff.

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Rock, everything mentioned above by everyone is absolutely valid. 

But Ill keep it simple for you: Its the most fun car you'll ever own and they are an absolute joy to drive. Treat it well and it will be fine. Would recommend to anyone who is a proper driver to buy one. 

Take it on your favourite twisty road and never look back 

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On 09/01/2021 at 8:24 PM, 63x1092 said:

On a positive, just get a Clio ll 182 Cup and waste your money on upgrades.

Could not agree more - the 182 is the best excitement machine this side of a Porsche GT3 !!!

Edited by slick
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On 14/01/2021 at 3:43 PM, Marcus36 said:

Rock, everything mentioned above by everyone is absolutely valid. 

But Ill keep it simple for you: Its the most fun car you'll ever own and they are an absolute joy to drive. Treat it well and it will be fine. Would recommend to anyone who is a proper driver to buy one. 

Take it on your favourite twisty road and never look back 

Twisty roads ???? NOT - take it Phillip Island and get serious !!!

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