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New Renault Clio could be Australia’s most frugal car

Curvy: The new Renault Clio has been completely redesigned inside and out.

Fourth-generation Renault Clio officially revealed ahead of mid-2013 local launch


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4 Jul 2012

THE all-new Renault Clio, which was officially revealed overnight ahead of its public debut at the Paris motor show in September, is poised to become the most fuel-efficient car sold on the Australian market when it launches here in the middle of 2013.

Featuring daring new design both inside and out, the fourth-generation light hatch from the French car-maker will be powered by an updated range of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with claimed fuel consumption as low as 3.2 litres per 100km.

The current-shape Clio has a tiny presence on the local market – Renault Australia only sells the hot Sport variant here – but the company will offer the new range here in full, with at least two petrol engines and one diesel confirmed, as well as both manual and dual-clutch EDC transmissions.

The new model will enter the sub-$20,000 light-car battleground pitched at fellow Europeans like the Volkswagen Polo and forthcoming Peugeot 208, plus other popular models like the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and Mazda2.

The new model marks a significant departure from the current model by being offered exclusively as a five-door, with the rear doorhandles hidden in the C-pillar as on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Honda Civic hatch.

A bold front end design features a large Renault logo set against a glossy black background and between a pair of prominent headlights with LED daytime-running lights, leading to a sharply-raked rear window-line, pronounced side scallops and flared wheelarches front and rear.

Further emphasising the more dynamic approach, the new Clio has a lower ride height, wider front and rear tracks, and a reduced gap between the tyres and wheelarches.

The exterior can also be customised via a selection of different grille designs, mirror housings, rear panel skirts, lower door protectors and wheel finishes, as well as a choice of roof graphics inspired it would seem by more upmarket rivals like the Mini Cooper hatch and Audi A1.

In addition to the curvaceous new exterior design – inspired by recent concept cars like the DeZir and R-Space – the new Clio shares its tablet-like instrument fascia with the recently revealed Zoe electric car, which is itself due to appear Down Under next year.

Renault claims the dashboard has been modelled on the shape of an aircraft wing, while the higher-specified variants in the released images include piano-black and chrome trim, a motorcycle-inspired digital speedometer and a large central multimedia screen.

A seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, radio and phone/audio streaming will be standard on all bar the entry-level variants in Europe, while the new Clio will be the first Renault to incorporate Bluetooth audio into its Bass Reflex system, which boosts bass frequencies in the front door to give “the volume and listening enjoyment of a 30-litre home speaker enclosure”.

Further options will include high-end technology such as a reversing camera, keyless entry, voice recognition system and Renault R-Link internet-connected touchscreen tablet.

Like the exterior, Renault will offer an array of extra-cost customised additions for the cabin, including personalised trim finishes and colours on the dash, door panels, steering wheel, overhead grab handles, seat upholstery, floor mats, and gear lever and air vent surrounds,.

Renault has released details of three new or improved engines, headlined by a turbocharged 1.5-litre dCi turbo-diesel that produces 68kW of power and 220Nm of torque (available from a low 1750rpm) while consuming as little as 3.2 litres per 100km of fuel and emitting as few as 83 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

The current most economical internal combustion vehicles in Australia (naturally excluding full EVs like the Mitsubishi MiEV and Nissan Leaf) are the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion, Audi A1 TDI and Mini Cooper D, all of which are rated at 3.8L/100km.

Volvo will usurp this trio when it introduces a super-frugal variant of its new V40 small-car around February next year called the D2, powered by an 84kW/270Nm diesel engine returning a claimed 3.6L/100km when equipped with a manual gearbox.

While the final Australian engine line-up for the new Clio has not been confirmed, Renault Australia corporate communications manager Emily Ambrosy told GoAuto that the company would “definitely” offer at least one diesel powertrain from launch.

GoAuto understands there could also be a larger diesel engine option introduced, although details remain unclear at this stage.

Two petrol engines have also been revealed, including a turbocharged 900cc three-cylinder producing 68kW at 5000rpm and 135Nm of torque at 2500rpm (90 per cent of this torque is available at just 1650rpm) that consumes as little 4.3L/100km in economy-optimised form.

A larger, direct-injected 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol will also be offered, with 90kW of power and 190Nm of torque from 1750rpm.

Both this engine and the diesel will be available with an optional EDC dual-clutch transmission similar that found in the Megane.

Joining the petrol range from early 2013 in Europe (and the end of 2013 in Australia) will be a new unit specifically for the flagship Sport Clio RS, widely-tipped to be a turbocharged 1.6-litre with around 150kW matched to a dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters.

Renault senior vice-president of corporate design Laurens van den Acker said the new Clio’s design brought to the road the “style and emotion” from its recent concept cars.

“New Renault Clio was conceived as a piece of sensuous sculpture which stimulates desire,” he said.

“Like muscles, its curves express the dynamism radiated by the DeZir concept car. No acute or aggressive angles, just voluptuous curves that make you want to go up to it and caress it,” he said.

The new Clio will be sourced for Australia from Renault’s plant in Bursa, Turkey, the same facility that builds the larger Megane range for the local market.

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