Hot hatch becomes more lethal in every way imaginable

Performance hatchbacks have become so popular these days that it seems that just about every automaker has one in its lineup. Some companies only joined the hot hatch race in recent years, while others have been around for so long they might as well be considered godfathers of today’s hot hatches.

One company that counts itself as belonging in the latter group is Renault. Yep, the French automaker has been building these pocket rockets about as long as most people can remember. That tradition remains alive today in the form of two cars: the Renault Mégane RS 275 Cup-S and the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC. The latter, in particular, only made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show but in the year since, it has already made an impression in the tuning world.

Waldow Performance is the latest tuner to take a stab at the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC and the German tuner wasted little time giving it a full-scale overhaul on multiple facets of the hot hatch. The objective, it seems, is to make the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC more performance-conscious than it already is. That may be a challenge considering the lengths Renault already took to achieve that goal, but to its credit, Waldow Performance proved to be up to the task in giving the hot hatch the upgrades it needed to become even more of a threat on the road and the track.

There’s plenty to go by as far as the modifications are concerned. It’s a fitting upgrade for a hot hatch that already packs quite a punch by itself.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400
  • Displacement:
    1.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance High Resolution Exterior
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On the surface, it looks like a standard Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC. But if you peel the layers off of the modifications, you’ll notice that it not only looks sportier, but the enhancements, specifically the front and rear spoilers, also make the hatch more menacing to look at, thanks to the widening characteristics that the aerodynamic components have. As an added treat, Waldow Performance also dressed up the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC with a Smurf Blue vinyl wrap. The name might be silly, but the flamboyant color certainly isn’t. Rounding out the exterior changes is a new set of 17-inch alloy wheels shod in semi-slick tires.

Interior

2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance High Resolution Interior
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The German tuner’s work on the interior of the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC is a perfect example of a comprehensive upgrade that touches on the hot hatch’s unique identity. Waldow opted to leave out any luxury upgrades in favor of performance and racing mods that are very important to the car and its driver. First up are the Recaro “Pole Position” racing bucket seats, which are then complemented by four-point seat belts courtesy of Schroth. An Alcantara steering wheel was also added for good measure while the entire rear section of the hatch has been stripped down and replaced with full-on racing bars. If the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC didn’t look like it was race-ready before, these modifications from Waldow Performance have effectively changed the narrative on that.

Drivetrain

2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance High Resolution Exterior
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It has also created a modified engine software and added an NAP sport-exhaust with sound control capabilities

Here’s the good news: Waldow Performance is building a specific engine upgrade that adds more power to the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC. The tuner has already integrated a water-cooling system into the intercooler to improve the latter’s thermal stability. It has also created a modified engine software and added an NAP sport-exhaust with sound control capabilities. Together, these modifications carry enough potential to dramatically upgrade the hot hatch’s performance capabilities.

Now for the bad news. It does seem that the engine kit isn’t finished yet, hence the tuner’s decision to withhold on giving any performance numbers for the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC. According to Waldow, a modified turbocharger, downpipe, and a sport catalytic are still under testing and development in an effort to extract more power out of the performance hatchback. It’s unclear how long these tests will go, but if I were to give an estimate, I wouldn’t be surprised if this kit is able to get about 400 horsepower out of the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC’s 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Safety

2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance High Resolution Exterior
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In addition to the Club safety bar fitted into the interior, Waldow Racing also added a KW Clubsport suspension kit on the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC. The kit comes with adjustable rebound and compression stage, helping the car improve its overall grip on the road. The tuner also added widening tracks on both the front and rear axles to improve the car’s balance and added an aluminum strut brace on the engine compartment to keep all the mechanicals secure and intact. Finally, Waldow installed a new Brembo brake kit with steel flex lines and racing brake pads in order to achieve improved braking under any conditions.

Pricing

Waldow Performance has priced the whole program at €41,000, which converts to about $46,770 based on current exchange rates. That cost already includes the price for the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDS so if you take that out of the equation, the price for the kit itself could fall in the €15,000 to €18,000 ($17,120 to $20,500) range.

Competition

Volkswagen Polo GTi

2015 Volkswagen Polo GTI High Resolution Exterior
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Volkswagen released its new Polo GTI; what would you give to get this hot hatch in the U.S.?

The Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC has no shortage of competitors but two immediately come to mind. One is the Volkswagen Polo GTi, which is essentially a smaller version of the Golf GTi. Like its big brother, the Polo GTi received its own share of GTi-specific styling characteristics. It has a more aggressive front grille and bumper. It’s got LED taillights too, as well as a roof spoiler and the signature GTi red stripes and badges. It’s more of the same in the interior where the Polo GTi benefits from having front sports seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake lever, among other creature comforts.

If the Polo GTi does have one setback compared to the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC, you can find it when you pop open the hood. The Volks hatch may have a bigger 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but it’s only good for 189 horsepower. Fortunately for the VW, it also has 236 pound-feet of torque, compensating for the lower power output. As a whole, the Polo GTi’s power is good enough to help it sprint from 0 to 62 mph in around 6.7 seconds. That’s a hair slower than the RS 220 Trophy.

Read our full review here.

Ford Fiesta ST

2014 - 2015 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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Speaking of an automaker that has a number of challengers to the Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC, you have Ford, which can technically field either the Fiesta ST or the Focus ST against the Renault hot hatch. But for this exercise, let’s stick to the hatch that has a sub-2.0-liter engine displacement. That would be the Fiesta ST, a car that’s been touted as one of the best hot hatches in the segment. Some have even referred to the Fiesta ST as the “purest” of today’s performance hatchbacks, no small feat considering how many competitors are out there in the market today.

Two things come to mind when talking about the Fiesta ST. First is the performance. It’s powered by a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pumps out 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque. Impressive numbers no doubt, but not as impressive as the Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC. Still, the Fiesta ST is good enough to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 130 mph. The second important thing about thing about the Fiesta ST is its price. Whereas both the Clio RS 220 Trophy and the Polo GTi start comfortably north of $20,000, the Fiesta ST barely even gets there at just $20,945, making it the cheapest of the three hot hatches.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Renault Clio 220 Trophy EDC by Waldow Performance High Resolution Exterior
- image 672223

As much as I love tuning programs for sports cars and supercars, my personal favorite are still the kits for hot hatchbacks. Not only are they more affordable than others, but they also come pretty close in approaching the kind of performance you’d want to see in a road-going car. Waldow Performance’s program for the Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy EDC comes close to becoming an all-around impressive tuning program. The only drawback I can think of is the absence of any confirmed power and improvements. I’m not going to fault the tuner for that yet because it admitted that there’s still some work left to be done in that regard. I just hope that the details arrive soon because without it, this kit, as impressive as what’s already been detailed, is still incomplete.

  • Leave it
    • Performance numbers have yet to be announced
    • Plenty of other options available
    • Pretty pricey for the whole thing
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