Modern new car that evokes the era of gentlemanly driving of yore
by Nigel Wigmore
SONY DSC SONY DSC
SONY DSC SONY DSC
BEAR with, as Miranda Hart might say, while I get a bit misty-eyed about the Renault Clio. This car has permeated my dreams since I spotted an old gent in Kensington driving a classy green Clio RT with tan upholstery two decades ago.
Why get excited about a Clio? Well it is one of the most successful super minis ever made. But that’s not the reason. There was something about this old gentleman dressed in his tweeds and with his soft brown felt hat and rolled brolly on the back shelf that conjured up motoring of a bygone age. I told you I was getting dewy eyed. (Maybe in him I could see myself 20 years on — which actually is about now!) Anyway, what brought this on was this week’s drive, the new Renault Clio GT-Line, which as you would expect is a far cry from the Clios of old. But more of that later. What has preoccupied me this week from being with this Clio is the influence various cars can have on you after one single, solitary sighting.
It is, without getting too prosaic about it, a moment of revelation and might still explain why despite the often onerous task we face every day of getting from A to B in cars many of us still love them to bits.
After I saw that green Clio RT in London I must have parked that image somewhere in my subconscious until years later I actually went out and bought a similar one and cherished it until it “had to go”.
You know that time when a car becomes a tad embarrassing to remain in the family and on the drive. Not my decision, I hasten to add, because I would probably still have that same Clio to this day, lovingly restored, and kept under wraps. Not sensible I know because you have to have deep pockets to own any sort of classic car, even a modest, modern one.Of course the New Clio GT-Line (from Renaultsport) I have been driving this week is a far cry from my original Clio — and why not? Once a carmaker proves a particular model is a winner there is no end to the variants they might develop in its name.