The all-new Renault Clio, a crucial future model for the French brand, has been spied testing

The next-generation five-door Renault Clio has been spied during winter testing. The crucial new Clio will be revealed at the Paris motor show in October and go on sale by the end of the year, promising to bring “sexiness and sportiness” back to the brand.

The all-new Clio 4 has taken on great importance in light of Renault’s decision earlier this year to slash its UK model range in a bid to return to profitability. The Clio 4 will be a much lower and wider, instantly more recognisable and have a much higher quality interior than the forgettable Clio 3, which has never come close to scaling the highs of the best selling original from the mid-1990s.

See spy pictures of the next Renault Clio

At the start of this year Renault’s product planning chief Beatrice Foucher told Autocar that Renaults needed to become “German first and French second”. She added: “We need to improve quality first before we think about design and innovation. There’s just no emotion in the current car so it’s not hard to improve the design and sexiness.”

The Clio 4 is the first all-new model to be designed by the firm’s design chief Laurens van den Acker, who joined Renault from Mazda in 2009. Speaking to Autocar, the Dutchman said the Clio’s looks would lean heavily on the styling of the acclaimed DeZir low-slung sports car concept from the 2010 Paris motor show.

“The DeZir is the spirit and DNA of what’s to come from Renault,” he said. “I hope the sexiness and sportiness of the DeZir will transfer to Clio 4.”

Design touches will include a much bolder DeZir-inspired front-end, with a more pronounced lower bumper, and a more upright front black gloss grille emblazoned with a large diamond Renault logo. The grille will be flanked at either side by smaller, less rounded, more technical headlights, another trait of the DeZir concept.

The Clio 4 will have a slippery silhouette to make it as aerodynamic – and sporty - as possible. It will have a much lower roofline and will “hug the road”, according to van den Acker. The wheel arches will be closed in to further contribute to the sporty stance.

“We have to be bolder,” said van den Acker. “Renault has been criticised for making great concepts and not making theme into production cars. This is something I want to do from the very start.”

The Clio 4 will only be made as a five-door model this time around. Van den Acker claims the five-door will look just as sporty as three-door thanks to a clever solution for the rear door handles, which are likely to be hidden in the C-pillars, a design that can be seen in the spy pictures.

“It will be a sporty car even with five doors,” said Van Den Acker last month. “It was a challenge but I think we managed it.”

Despite the lower roof for Clio 4, interior and boot space is likely to match that the Clio 3 thanks to some clever packaging. The two cars will be similar in length. “We would love it be shorter,” said van den Acker, “but it’s physically impossible.”

Foucher said the Clio 4 would get a “driver-focused interior, with more emotional design and higher perceived quality with improved materials on the dashboard”.The Clio will also benefit from Renault’s new R-LINK integrated tablet computer, which has been co-developed with TomTom. It includes a full range of mobile connectivity, a live traffic update sat-nav system and downloadable apps from Renault’s own app store.

From launch, downsized petrol engine range will include a base 0.9-litre three-cylinder unit with around 90bhp and a new 1.2-litre TCE with a likely 112bhp to replace the current 1.6 VVT. A core version of Renault’s 1.5-litre dCi unit with around 104bhp is likely to be the only diesel at launch.

Foucher confirmed there would be another Renaultsport model, but the chances of it keeping the current 2.0-litre engine are slim. She instead indicated that a smaller, turbocharged engine was a more likely powerplant for the cult model.

Although the standard Clio 4 will offer a high degree of personlisation, Focuher said a Citroen DS3-style more premium version was also under consideration. “When we build a £20,000 car, we don’t think about the £30,000 version. Citroen do this very well.”

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Comments
14

22 February 2012

Sure that's a Renault?....looks like a Yaris.

Peter Cavellini.

22 February 2012

[quote Autocar] The Clio 4 will be a much lower and wider, instantly more recognisable and have a much higher quality interior than the forgettable Clio 3, which has never come close to scaling the highs of the best selling original from the mid-1990s. [/quote]

The original was small, cute and fun, where as the Clio 3 ballooned in size and lost all the charm of it's predecessors.

Unless the Clio 4 has been shrunk back to well under four meters (which they haven't), then they can throw all the design flair at it they want but it still isn't going to re-capture that spirit.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

22 February 2012

[quote TegTypeR]The original was small, cute and fun, where as the Clio 3 ballooned in size and lost all the charm of it's predecessors.[/quote]Agreed. I think this change became far more noticeable when Renault gave it a face-lift. The launch advert back in 2005 highlighted its chicness perfectly, I thought. Since then Renault have really taken their eye off the ball. I really really hope this new model brings back some of that spirit, but as Teg says, if it's bigger than the car it replaces, it won't have that character. It looks closer in size to a Mk1 Megane Coupe in those pictures... and the rear end, at least from these spy shots, does look remarkably similar to the current Megane. Which isn't really a good thing. Fingers crossed, eh...

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

22 February 2012

French car makers need to think about being French. If I wanted a German car I'd buy one.

22 February 2012

Don't try and compete with the Germans because you'll lose to the Germans. I have owned both generations of Renault 5, and loved them. Light weight, spirited handling, comfortable and supportive seats are what I remember. French flair is what can sell Renaults.

22 February 2012

Pretty much a make or break car for Renault after recent performance.. As with all supermini's, there isn't enough 'mini' Recent mazdas have been good lookers, so a beaut might still lurk under that disguise.

22 February 2012

[quote Autocar]Renault’s product planning chief Beatrice Foucher told Autocar that Renaults needed to become “German first and French second”. [/quote]

I despair of senior managers who so completely misunderstand their own business. A few years ago, Renault cars sold like hot cakes because of their charm, innovation and joie de vivre, all the things German cars lack. If only Renault could get back to what they used to do so well, rather than making cars which are just like everyone elses.

Come on Renault - rediscover your soul!

23 February 2012

...aaaand she then went on to mention quality and reliability through improved manufacturing processes. That's what she meant by being German first. She's absolutely right in that regard. Nobody is going to buy a stylish, chic product if it falls apart after a year.

26 February 2012

Looks to be quite a pert shape, as it should be for a little Renault. Not sure about the Swastika motif though.

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

26 February 2012

Looks quite nice. Good luck to Renault. E

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