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New Renault Clio leaked

New style: The fourth-generation Clio hatch, to be a five-door only, features distinctive styling trends laid out by recent Renault concept cars.

Hotly anticipated new Renault Clio appears online ahead of official reveal tonight

Renault logo3 Jul 2012

By MIKE COSTELLO

THE first image of the all-new, fourth-generation Renault Clio has been accidentally leaked less than 24 hours ahead of its scheduled unveiling.

This action shot of the new Clio, briefly published on one of Renault’s public websites, confirms speculation that the crucial light car would take on the daring styling template laid out by design boss Laurens van den Acker with the curvaceous Dezir and Zoe concepts.

As we reported yesterday, the new Clio will be officially revealed at 11pm tonight ahead of its first public appearance as one of the stars of the Paris motor show in September and the commencement of Australian sales around mid-2013.

The new Clio will mark a radical departure from the current-shape model by being offered only in a five-door bodystyle, with the rear doorhandles hidden in the C-pillars like the Honda Civic hatch.

Other notable design features include a distinctive grille design with a prominent triangular Renault badge and large sweeping headlights, deeply carved side scallops, sharply raked rear window line and beefy front and rear haunches.

The car in the leaked image appears to be a higher-specified variant, with chrome highlights, large five-spoke alloy wheels and front fog lights.

The current-shape Clio range has been around since 2006, with Renault Australia opting to offer only the hot Sport RS version on the local market, but the new Clio will have a much larger presence on the local market.

Renault Australia corporate communications manager Emily Ambrosy recently confirmed to GoAuto that the company will offer the complete new model range, giving it the ammunition to tackle fellow European light cars such as the Volkswagen Polo and forthcoming Peugeot 208.

Further details, including engine specification and interior shots, remain under wraps, but expect the French company to make strides in efficiency and emissions with a range of small-capacity petrol and diesel engines.

Renault has also invested heavily in electric vehicle technology alongside alliance partner Nissan, but with the Clio-sized Zoe EV set for European production from mid-2012 it seems unlikely that the Clio will come in zero-emissions guise in the foreseeable future.

Last weekend Renault used the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK to preview a disguised prototype version of the Clio Sport RS hot hatch, which is scheduled to go on sale both globally and in Australia six months behind the standard variants.

When the new Sport hit local Renault showrooms at the start of 2014, expect a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine with around 150kW of power, matched to a dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters (and possibly a manual version).

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