BEHIND THE WHEEL:
WEDNESDAY MAY 25, 2015
Renault Clio RS
v Ford Fiesta ST
Mini Cooper S, Golf GTi, Audi A1, and the list goes on. These famous hatches have been ruling the streets with their practicality and sharp handling. With that, Renault has made a Clio RS200. Unlike before, it is now packed with a turbocharged 1.6 litres instead of a naturally aspirated unit that revs to 7200 rpm. It has also got a screen that shows you everything that is happening with the feeling almost like a Nissan GTR with additional two doors. Ford on the other hand, entered the competition a little later by going old school with the Fiesta ST.
First off, the RS200 allows driver to choose their driving mode only by a push of a button. Leave in sport and the car becomes sharper and the engine revs higher. Whilst it is fun to drive, it also requires familiarity as well. The reason is, in sport mode, the ESC turns off when you shift it to manual and turns on in normal auto mode. As much as I love the informative system such as the MMI from Audi, the one in the Clio is just too confusing and one certainly have to take their eyes off the road completely to make sure the right program was selected. I decided to ignore it, and after a round of driving, I must complement its braking strength and its body hugging seats. However, as the front passenger feels hugged, the rear passenger has upright and less body hugging seats.
I personally love cars that grant me complete control since I enjoy shifting gears manually. With that, the FordFiesta ST meets that criterion. Like the RS, it also has a 1.6L turbo engine. Unlike the Clio, the engine in the Ford is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Simply put, the way this little car handles puts me into euphoria. The 0.2 seconds acceleration deficit is quickly overlooked when one is having so much fun. The ride is sharp and thanks to its torque vectoring system, the car is as good as having no torque steer. Despite it being a front wheel drive, it certainly feels rear driven as the back always feels like it wants to come around. Disabling the traction control in the Fiesta is a lot easier than the RS200, and that is by simply pressing a button.
As a hot hatch, there should be a ‘click’ feel one gear is swapped from another that is missing in the ST. However, gear shifts are quick and easy. Another good news of the ST is that comes with two door to give it a sportier look, and a plus point to it, getting a large man in and out of the rear is an absolute ease. Likewise, the ST comes with bucket seats for the front. In addition, the rear seats are of more comfort than the RS. However, there is a downside to this exciting machine, and that is reaching for the seat belts. The reason is, the Fiesta has very long doors to allow rear passengers to enter and exit easily, making you stretch like an ape to reach for it.
Having driven both cars, it is pretty evident that Clio RS200 is doing most of the driving, which explains its complicated system that the driver needs to set up. What of the Ford then you might ask? Is it driven by its computers? Without any hesitation, the Ford allows you to have your own fun. All you need to do, is drive it. Along the way, one will be tempted to do some tire burnouts as an added fun. To sum it all up, both these cars have their ways. Whilst the Clio is a fun as a PlayStation, the Fiesta gets up and leave almost instantly. Price aside, the ST leaves smiles on its passengers and them wanting for more, and just because fun runs within.
The Ford Fiesta ST is never my thing as I’m more a person who favours cars that does speeding well in the bends and look menacing while not doing the fast bits. At a more than reason asking price of one hundred and fifty thousand, it drives and rides extremely well. I am genuinely pleased by the sounds that’s produced by a mighty 1.6-litre engine which by the way, is turbocharging done right. The Fiesta ST (reminded me a lot of the mark five Golf GTi) did no less damage of running through my mind for days and nights. The ST will not only remain as the best car I’ve driven this year but for years to come.