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Renault Clio Estate eyed for Oz

Coming soon: Renault has all but confirmed its cute Clio baby wagon is Australia-bound within the next 12 to 15 months.

Australian launch for petite Renault Clio Estate on the cards for 2014

1 Oct 2012


RENAULT’S decision to build the new Clio Estate in Turkey has all but guaranteed its introduction to Australia late next year or in early 2014.

An announcement is expected soon on the local prospects for the baby wagon, which was unveiled at the Paris motor show last week espousing Renault chief designer Laurens Van den Acker’s new signature styling for the brand.

Given the green light, the Clio Estate would come to Australia hot on the heels of the just confirmed Megane wagon, giving the French brand a potent one-two punch in the niche small-wagon segment Down Under.

While the Clio Estate’s wheelbase is identical to the hatch, the rear has been extended by 201mm to 823mm, for an overall length of 4262mm and a load capacity of 430 litres with the rear seats in place – a 130L improvement over the Clio five-door.

To increase versatility, the Estate’s front passenger seat folds forward while the rear seats fold flat for dash-to-tailgate loading possibilities.

Stylistic flourishes include a sloping profile in the “sport wagon” fashion, Alfa Romeo-style concealed rear door handles and blacked-out pillars for a ‘floating roof’ effect, to give the petite Renault cut-through in the bitterly fought supermini class in Europe.

Underneath the skin the new Clio mirrors its hatch sibling’s front-wheel drive specification, with MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam rear end.

Under the bonnet are the choices of an impressively frugal and low-emissions 0.9-litre three-cylinder TCe 90 petrol, 1.2-litre four-cylinder TCe 120 petrol, or 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel dCi 75 or dCi 90 engines.

Some will be offered with Renault’s EDC dual-clutch transmission when production commences early next year.

Light-sized wagon choices are limited in Australia, with only the Skoda Fabia and soon to be discontinued Peugeot 207 SW providing any direct competition to the Clio Estate.

However, with its striking design and expected keen pricing owing to the relatively low cost of sourcing out from Turkey, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar believes his new baby will make big inroads.

“If we decide to bring it in, I believe Australian small-car buyers will really respond to its good looks and great packaging,” he said.

Aiding its chances of success (and credibility) would be a Renault Sport version – an idea that Mr Van den Acker admits has been kicked around in his mind, but not yet decided upon by management.

“I’d love to ask the (Renault Sport) guys to do an Estate version,” he said.

“For us it would be a piece of cake. If you look at the Estate, I could easily imagine an RS… which three years ago would have been a ridiculous thing to propose.

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