i thought id join this forum to voice my opinion as a Cilo V6 owner, mk1 model. also my colleague has a R32 (ukghost on here) so ive driven both and we have had a few blasts.
ok, first off the handling. the golf is better. ESP and 4wd will rarely be beaten, but as said a few posts up, the clio is much like an old porsche 911, it is tail happy (abit too much IMO) and needs a careful corner entry. too fast, and you wont be forgiven, even sideways or into the kerb. dont get me wrong, it goes round bends fast and well, but it takes some getting used to and cannot be driven fast straight away until its been learnt as the front end is light and vague.
speed wise, no contest. forget the figures that mags quote. the clio wins 0-100 by a fair margin (tested). it reaches 66mph in 2nd, and launches the same as the golf, no wheelspin just goes forward. the golf to me seemed to hit the limiter sooner than it wanted to. after 100 mph, i dont know and havent tested it.
desirability is down to personal taste. my clio is a beast and you have to see one to appreciate it. the noise is tremendous, TVR like IMO, and EVERYBODY looks. road presence has never been experienced like this before.
it is an acquired taste, and many think its max power (usually the ones that havent ever seen it in the flesh). the mk2 is more refined, with the extra toys being crusie control and all that, but the mk1 is the original hooligan of the 2 models. mk2 is slightly faster at 255 bhp and handles slightly better.
despite the practicalilty issues - it has a surprising amount of room under the bonnet for shopping, a handy cargo netted area behine the seats for 3 tesco shopping bags, although obviously not aimed at a family man.
all in all - ive voted clio, having driven both cars i found the golf a boring car, thats just my personal taste, and this is my opinion ofcourse. many clio v6's have coverd higher miles now and no problems at all. its a strong engine and box and is raced in clio trophy championships.
id probably say that they cannot be compared out right though, as they are a little too different. the clio is too extreme for many people, but the golf can be used as a practical everyday car. i find the R32 too common for me, i like exclusivity myself.
hope my contribution is welcome. [