Renault has always had an affinity for producing hot hatches, and things have been no different with the Clio ever since the Williams version in the nineties. In the early 2000s the second generation Clio was given the full Renaultsport treatment and equipped with a 2 litre 16V engine producing, unsurprisingly, 182bhp. Along with the standard 182, customers were also given the chance to order the limited edition ‘Trophy’ (not to be confused with the 182 ‘Cup’).
The agile 182 Trophy was Renault’s farewell to old-school hot hatches before the far bigger and much heavier Clio III arrived later in 2005. A few tweaks and adjustments to the standard 182 meant the Trophy picked up rave reviews from motoring magazines across the country, dispatching the competition accordingly when placed head to head. The secret was simple, amongst the other minor adjustments Renault fitted the Trophy with new race-ready Sachs dampers, allowing for better suspension control and greatly improving the car’s handling. It may not have been quicker than some of the competition, but the total driving experience was second to none.
Other Clio Sport models, such as the Williams and the Renaultsport V6, have seen values skyrocket in recent years
Back in 2005 the Trophy cost a reasonable £15,500 from new, and you simply couldn’t have more fun for that money. Renault produced just 500 examples for the UK market, each with an exclusive numbered plaque, along with a further 50 for the Swiss market. Even better news for current owners is that only around 300 remain on the road in the UK, and for the rest of us… well, we’ll just have to look a bit harder if we want to buy one!
So why would we consider this limited edition Clio a good investment today?
They don’t come much more exclusive than this, and there’s nothing a car investor loves more than a limited edition model. Each one is painted in Capsicum Red with ‘Trophy’ decals and Recaro sports seats, and look out for the individually numbered plaque on the seat runner.
The large spoiler and unique alloys do give it an edge, but… it is still a Clio. It goes under the radar somewhat when compared against some of the other cars we review here, but who cares. It’s all about the unadulterated driving experience with this one!
This model seems to have stood the test of time pretty well, but watch out for gearbox and clutch issues if they’ve been previously abused. The downside to those expensive dampers is that they will need some TLC, but in general keep up the service record, perform preventative maintenance and it should be fine.
Price When New
Under £16k back in 2005, very affordable fun. If you can find one now you’ll pay about half that for a decent example.
Not a game changer as such, but this car certainly closed the chapter on the small, light and lively hot hatches of the eighties and nineties. Everything that has come since has been discernibly heavier, and simply not as much fun.
Back in 2005 the Renault marketing team didn’t order a 182 Trophy for themselves as they didn’t think there was a market for such a model. How wrong they were, the 550 sold in no time at all with barely any advertising!
Time to Buy?
Prices have already started rising and this is a very sought after car so get in quick. Two or three years ago you’d have paid around £5000, nowadays you’ll be lucky to get one for £7000. There really aren’t that many out there either, in fact when we had a look online we only managed to find one or two currently on sale.
If you can find one then it would make a fantastic investment. Prices are on the way up so even if you’re looking for a short term venture then this may be the one for you. What’s more, it’s an astounding car to drive and would be brilliant fun to own. In a couple of years’ time you almost certainly won’t be able to pick one of these up for less than £10k!