RENAULT’S baby hot hatch was down the list last year, with its bigger brother Megane RS snatching the silver medal in 2016. However, movement in the class (four models dropped out and there were changes across the field) has given Clio a big boost. The sports Clio has a strong 1.6-litre, turbo-charged engine that produces 147kW of power and 240Nm of torque. It is a great-handling hatch with good safety, performance and ride comfort. Clio’s quirks worked against it, with things such operating the cruise control (you have to switch it on via a button down near the centre console and the buttons are hidden behind the steering wheel) and its slightly irksome dual-clutch gearbox (there is no manual available) hurting the little French hatch when it came to ergonomics, performance and smoothness and quietness. The RS didn’t score well against its rivals for standard features but it still has a good equipment list with items such as launch control, “Cup” chassis, RS Drive with three modes, a limited slip rear differential, heated Renault Sport leather seats with red stitching, climate-control air-conditioning, digital speedo, a rear camera, satellite navigation, seven-inch touch-screen and 18-inch alloy wheels. The RS is also covered by a five-year factory warranty.