Renault works up estate version of the Clio to rival Peugeot's 206 SW
22 February 2007

It looks like Renault's chic Clio supermini is about to grow a more practical side. Autocar's spies sent us these pictures of a heavily-disguised junior load-lugger doing the development rounds in northern Norway earlier this week. The slanted headlights and broad bumper air dam of the car they show belong to last year's new Renault Clio. Here's the proof, then, that although the French hatch may have grown popular for its good looks and affordable style, it will be getting a more useful, bigger-booted sibling before too long.Judging by these pictures, it doesn't look as if there will be major mechanical changes underneath the Clio estate. Its wheelbase looks identical to that of the standard hatchback, while the rear roofline and rear overhang have grown in order to provide the necessary extra space. How much extra? Well, there's 288-litres of storage behind the rear seats of the standard Clio; expect that to go up to about 450- in the wagon.The supermini-based estate car market lost its only UK member when Peugeot's Ryton plant closed and sales of the 206 SW stopped. It’s a type of car whose territory has been encroached upon by small, practical people-movers like the Honda Jazz and Vauxhall Meriva, and van-based workhorses like the Fiat Doblo and Citroen Berlingo. If, once it's launched later this year, Renault chooses to offer the booted Clio to UK buyers, it'll be one-of-a-kind.Although certain industry commentators have suggested that this booted Clio means the beginning of the end for Renault's slow-selling Modus mini-MPV, Autocar's sources say that isn't so. Renault has a slightly larger Modus on the way that, it hopes, will more clearly justify its price premium over an ordinary supermini. This Clio wagon, therefore, might only be intended for markets in Eastern Europe, South America and China, where there's more established demand for small, affordable load-luggers.

Our Verdict

Renault Clio

A multi-talented contender that can stand comparison with the best

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