The Turkish-built GT Premium is top of the range in a six-variant Renault Clio line-up, not including RenaultSport (RS) specific models.
At $30,000 for what is a B-Segment (Light car) hatchback, you would expect a fairly extensive standard equipment inventory and the GT Premium delivers: reversing camera; rear park sensors; fixed-glass sunroof; keyless entry/start; sat nav; climate control; seven-inch touchscreen; upgraded Arkamys audio; LED DRLs; and 17-inch alloys.
Servicing costs work out at $897 over three years and a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty applies.
Sporty under and overtones include: heated leather front sports seats; spoilers; unique bumpers; paddle gear shift; acceleration, g-force and lap time electronic recorder; RenaultSport logos; and an R-Sound Effects app that mimics hot Renaults, Alpines and the Nissan GT-R.
But the gear that adds substance is the RenaultSport-tuned chassis incorporating slightly-firmer springs and dampers and RS Drive Sport mode, which enables larger throttle openings, faster gear changes and better (heavier) weighted steering.
The result is an all-round engaging drive – one where the handling, steering and ride competency suggests the GT Premium could handle more power and torque than the sum of its 1.2-litre, turbo-petrol four-cylinder’s 88kW and 190Nm.
However, there’s a little lag moving off – particularly in stop/start city driving – attributed to the six-speed EDC transmission, which is not one of the slickest around. For better drive out of corners, it’s best to engage the Sport button to hold the lower gears longer. Unfortunately, as with all the Clio range except for the entry-level TCe90 variants, there is no manual transmission option.
As it stands, the GT Premium completes the 0-100km/h sprint in 9.4 seconds, on par with a 1.4-litre turbo Alfa Romeo Giulietta Progression or Audi A3 Sportback.
Brake feel and retardation is up to the task despite only rear drums complementing ventilated discs at the front.
ADR combined fuel figure is 5.2 litres/100km on 95RON PULP. However, our test returned 8.7.
The interior is comfy and accommodating – for the driver and front passenger, at least – with the seats providing good lateral and upright support. Not so the rear, which feels a little tight and enclosed for adult passengers.
All-in-all, this is one of the better warm – as opposed to hot – hatches.