Currently reading: Paris motor show 2012: Renault Clio 4
The fourth-generation Renault Clio makes its debut in Paris
3 mins read
27 September 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. 

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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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legohead 5 July 2012

Looks good to me...

There seems to be a lot of irational hate towards this design, particularly with regards to it being "fussy" and too big.  For a start, it's only 3.5cms longer than the old car, yet weighs 100kgs less.  It's actually norrower than a Fiesta.  And whilst I mention the Fiesta, I would consider it's design far more fussy with an abundance of creases and lumps, some of which might be considered unnecesary.  Could it not be down to excellent design that makes this car appear bigger than it actually is?

Renault have been consistently battered by the British motoring press over the past few years for  churning out conservative designs.  Surely they should be applauded rather han have their latest design written off before anyone has seen it in the flesh, for listening to customers and journalists and producing a rather well proportioned stylish design?  Maybe eveyone should just drive characterless Polos, Golfs and Audis...


petegeoff 5 July 2012

Each to their own!

It does seem to be how car makers are going now. Over-styled and bigger than the previous versions. Might take a bit of getting used to that red dash! No doubt real fans of anything Renault will like it. 3 cylinder engines seem to be the way forward now. Time will tell, I suppose? Perhaps we'll start to move away from diesel brainwashing now!

Flatus senex 5 July 2012

petegeoff wrote: It does

petegeoff wrote:

It does seem to be how car makers are going now. Over-styled and bigger than the previous versions. Might take a bit of getting used to that red dash! No doubt real fans of anything Renault will like it. 3 cylinder engines seem to be the way forward now. Time will tell, I suppose? Perhaps we'll start to move away from diesel brainwashing now!


The real brainwashing lies with the 3 cylinder engine. Cheaper to manufacture, supposedly with less internal friction but, because of the out of balance forces, likely to get increasingly rough with age.


Agree with the comments about the styling though.

petegeoff 5 July 2012

Time will tell!

You could be right about the 3 cylinders. Of the few I've driven they aren't as smooth as a 4 cylinder. I'm not suggesting 3 is better than 4. I still stand by the diesel brainwashing though. So many people wanting to buy a diesel even when there is no advantage. Regards.

Christian Galea 4 July 2012

Overall a good design, a-bit disappointed in some areas

I must say it's a-bit surprising to see such an overwhelming negative response - on another website I visit, the reaction was quite the opposite...personally I did expect something a-bit better, but I must say I quite like it, on the whole.

What I'm not sure of is the little window behind the rear doors (surely pointless?), the tail lights, oversized headlights and the dash design (don't like the air vents, the asymmetrical layout and the design in general could have been a-bit better - I prefer the Peugeot 208 in that regard, although I do like that little storage space just above the glovebox); that said, I do need to it in the metal first before I can pass any final judgement..