The fourth-generation Renault Clio makes its debut in Paris
3 July 2012

The new Renault Clio 4 has made its premiere at the Paris motor show.

The first production Renault to have been designed entirely by Laurens van den Acker, the Clio 4 aims to be more instantly recognisable, more upmarket and more desirable than its predecessor, which never achieved the sales success of the first- and second-generation models: Renault UK sold 21,000 Clios in 2011, compared to 86,000 in 2002. 

Longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, the new car sits on an updated version of the existing platform, meaning torsion beam rear and MacPherson strut front suspension.

The architecture is “heavily upgraded” according to Benoit Bochard, Renault’s program director for small cars, with altered wheelbase, tracks, and notably a revised electrically-assisted steering system set-up to bring “a lot more steering precision, for a real upgraded driving sensation”.

The five-door only Clio 4’s exterior design is a deliberate departure from its predecessor. It is the first model in the range to get the new corporate face, bearing a bigger Renault badge and sleeker, integrated grille and headlights.

Prominent rear wheel-arches are inspired by the Renault DeZir concept, and go a long way to providing elements of the “sexiness and sportiness” that Van den Acker is keen to promote.

The rear door handles are hidden in the C-pillars. Bouchard maintains that the Clio 4’s design “offers enough desirability to satisfy those who might have bought a three-door”.

With price being such a make-or-break element in this class, Renault has taken the decision to drop the entry price of the Clio 4 by around £1000, bringing the base three-cylinder car in at under £10,500, in order to be more competitive with the Peugeot 208

A broad range of personalisation features will allow buyers to select different coloured body accents, including varying colours of side strip and diffuse, decals, and interior colour panels.

Crucially, the cabin is a dramatically more upmarket affair. All trim levels will get the same dash architecture (the Clio 3 was criticised for having cheaper dash layouts in the base model), which will include a 7-inch colour touch screen as standard in the mid- and higher-spec cars. 

The software used on this infotainment system, dubbed ‘R-Link’, is co-developed by Renault and Tom Tom and will be available with a variety of optional extra including internet connectivity and eventually speech-to-text functionality. Base cars will get Bluetooth and standard radio/CD. 

This together with a variety of material finishes, coloured inserts that can be personalised to match exterior colour choices, soft-touch rotary dials and a generally more solid-feeling cabin altogether goes a long way to supporting Renault’s assertions that the new Clio will up the brand’s premium appeal. 

Safety will remain five-star and Renault claims that efficiency will be class-leading. The eco-heroes of the range will appear in the form of a new turbocharged 0.9-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, and a heavily revised version of the 1.5 turbodiesel four-pot, both of which will put out around 90bhp.

The Clio will be the first application of Renault's new three-cylinder Energy TCe 90 engine. Renault claims performance is comparable with a 1.4-litre naturally aspirated engine. It develops 90bhp and 99lb ft at 2000rpm and returns 65.9mpg. CO2 emissions are rated at 99g/km.

The 1.5-litre diesel unit offers 162lb ft of torque from 1750rpm, and an economy-optimised Eco2 version with taller gearing has headline figures of 83g/km and 88.2mpg. That better's the Ford Fiesta Econetic’s figures to claim class-leadership. 

A turbocharged 1.2-litre four-pot petrol will also feature in the range from launch, and will be mated to a new six-speed dual-clutch auto as standard. The same gearbox will be optional on the diesel. 

Order books open in next month, with first deliveries beginning in early 2013.

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Comments
44

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

4 July 2012

I'm obviously in a minority but I like it. I wasn't sure but there are more and better photos on other websites (Car has some good photos) which I think show it off much better.

Myk

3 July 2012

What an over-styled mess!  There's far too much going on.  And this is supposed to be the car to debut Renault's new design direction? <shudder>

3 July 2012

I think not making a 3 door version is a mistake. A 3-door appeals to people who only carry rear seat passengers occasionally and arguably are more stylish than 5-doors (Renault clearly agree, otherwise, why would they bother to attempt mask the rear most doors with those ghastly 'hidden' door handles?)

I think they have also erred in making it bigger than the last model - 

Autocar wrote:

Longer, lower and wider than its predecessor

Surely, the problem with Clio 3 was that it was bloated and lost the cute looks of its predecessor? Instead, Renault should have made it smaller and returned the Clio brand back to its joy-and-verve roots - not made it bigger and more bloated.  

The interior, however is to be commended, particularly the technical advances contained therein, and the funkiness of the design. I can see buyers liking the vehicle only once they have sat in it.  

3 July 2012

I like the front end job and the back is ok, apart from the stupid black bit around the rear number plate.

But is it me, or is the side just a bit over done with lines and curves all over the place, in fact it looks like someone has bumped at right angles into the side of it.

The interior is ok, I like the choice of colours to personalise it, this needs to be more available on other cars, usually you have a choice of black, grey or beige.

27 September 2012

MooMooHead wrote:

The interior is ok, I like the choice of colours to personalise it, this needs to be more available on other cars, usually you have a choice of black, grey or beige.

- if you are lucky, normally it's just awful depressing grey.  It's good to see colour coming back but I bet it'll be a costly option!

3 July 2012

You could definitely tell it was done by a Mazda designer.

3 July 2012

I do not like this car at all. I agree the interior is fairly nice, but the exterior is way too fussy, messy, and unattractive. I also agree with points above that; a) It should have been made available as a 3-door as well, b) that it was a mistake to make it bigger. They should have kept it smaller, and focused on making it "light and nippy" that the original Clio was famous for. If the Clio isn't big enough, buy a Megane.

3 July 2012

This new Clio is to the old as Autocar's new forum is to the old.

 

 

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3 July 2012

From the front, I like it. There are definitely elements of Clio Mk2.5 there (triangular influenced headlights for example). But I tend to agree with the others. Looking at the side profile, it looks heavily over-styled, and slightly too Mazda-ish in the swooshes and kinks which lead the bodywork. Looking towards the back, it begins to look like a Scenic - not Clio-ish at all.

Inside isn't what I was expecting. Again, I don't think it looks French. The colour treatment is certainly a bit different and more akin to Renaults of old (Mk1 Twingo, anyone?), but the architecture still seems quite Mazda and generally vaguely Japanese, with far, far too much glossy plastic - it's as if Renault didn't know where to stop. Ergonomically, I never think it's a good idea for a manufacturer to place the cup holders next to the handbrake. A small matter, I know, but I've never thought it's worked. So I personally think Renault have made a bit of a pig's ear of the dashboard and general cockpit.

It is, however, interesting to see yet another touch screen. It seems these multifunctional touch screens are quickly replacing the traditional, tiny LCD screen that we've had for years. In the past 12 months we've had cars like the Peugeot 208 and Skoda Citigo using similar things - and they seem to work well. Maybe this is the start of things to come.

Overall I'm unsure. I like it, and there are things I don't like. I wonder if it is a mistake for Renault to discontinue a 3-door option, as I'm sure most previous Clios were probably sold in 3-door guise. We had a 3-door Mk2.5 and it was a right laugh. If it were me, though, I'd prefer to have the extra doors.

For me, it's a little over-styled, it's too big (should've been *smaller* - Peugeot 208 has proven this works wonders for handling and fun), and it should've been more charming and less sporty. Makes you wonder who Renault asks for design opinions. At the moment, I'd take the more characterful, more French, Peugeot 208. Renault need to stop chasing the Germans.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

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