Renault’s bold new Clio has broken cover, sporting a new look, technology overload and a raft of personalisation options to take the fight to the supermini class leaders.
The first chance we will get to see it in the metal will be at the Paris motor show in September 2012.
The angular headlights, slim LEDS, enormous badge and grille surround are all recognisable from the DeZir concept car, and the Alpine 110-50 concept car.
A five-door only, there’s hidden rear door handles cribbed from the likes of Alfa Romeo and Honda, and an upright rear with swollen flanks above the rear wheels and a diffuser-apeing bumper. The whole car sits on a wider track and its forward-leaning stance is more sporty than the current Clio.
Clearly Renault is hoping that the magic of its RenaultSport arm will rub off on all Clio versions in the styling department at least – even those door-mounted chrome flourishes recall the current RS Megane 265.
The new Clio will be the first Renault to benefit from a range of fresh downsized engines, kicking off with a three-cylinder petrol unit which, despite only displacing 899cc with a low-inertia turbo it will squeeze out 66kW and 135Nm, while standard stop-start cuts consumption.
There’ll be a truly eco-focused version with taller gear ratios, that’ll sneak just 99g/km. The three-pot marks a 21% efficiency improvement over the powerplant it replaces.
Higher up the power scale is a four-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol, good for 88kW and 190Nm, figures comparable with a 1.6 engine, says Renault. Paired with Renault’s new EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch gearbox), this powertrain will be on sale in early 2013.
Rounding out engine options is the diesel: this Clio gets a four-cylinder 1.5-litre with 66Kw and 220Nm. Impressively, CO2 emissions for the diesel are as low as 83g/km.
Driver assists such as an ‘eco mode’ to improve efficiency by a further 10%, and a driving standard monitor should further enhance the Clio’s green credentials.
The cabin has undergone a serious overhaul. Of most interest is the ‘R-Link’ interface, which incorporates a seven-inch touchscreen display into the dashboard, compatible with voice control and with integrated TomTom navigation. You’ll even be able to download apps to your own car to use on the move.
Sure to be popular with young buyers is the Renault Bass Reflex system, which incorporates front door-mounted loudspeakers with better bass performance and less sound distortion. BlueTooth connectivity and an MP3 player is also included, and then there’s the accessory options…
You can choose your favourite door mirror housings, grille bars, rear panel skirts, lower door protectors and wheel finishes, as well as a choice of roof graphics. Inside, buyers can tweak the dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, grab handles, gear lever surround, air vent surrounds, upholstery materials and optional floor mats.
The new Clio’s launch will take place just after the car has been exhibited at the 2012 Paris auto show in September, and sales will likely start at the very end of 2012.