Renault will launch a new mini-MPV at the Paris Motor Show next September to compete with the Vauxhall Meriva and Fiat Idea. It will go on sale in the UK shortly afterwards.
The car will be the first new-generation Clio to be based on the B-platform shared with the new Nissan Micra; the next-generation Clio supermini will not appear until early 2005.
The new MPV is presaged by the two Be Bop concept cars Renault displayed at the Frankfurt show, pictured below. Although production versions will neither look like them nor contain as many innovations, we can expect to see a fresh take on what Renault calls the ‘four-metre MPV’. Expect Scénic styling cues, but with a front end all of its own.
Surprisingly, given its success with the Espace and Scénic, Renault is late with its mini-MPV. Design chief Patrick le Quément said Renault was diverted by its deal with Nissan. ‘People left for Nissan, projects were delayed. But I think it was worth it.’
The Be Bop concepts show where Renault is headed with its mono-volume cars in the future. There are 10 design patents on this car, ranging from the rising glass upper tailgate to a boot floor that slides nearer to the rear when the lower tailgate is dropped.
Ultra-slender seats are side-mounted to a rigid central tunnel running the length of the car. This allows massive legroom for the occupants of the pair of rear chairs, whose compactness allows them to be folded under the front seats, creating a vastly more roomy and versatile cabin.