Currently reading: Renault working on basic small hatchback concept
Renault has created a secret concept that points to the future of its small car range, but it is unlikely ever to make it out of Renault's innovation centre in Paris

Renault is working on a basic supermini in the same vein as the likes of the Citroën C4 Cactus.

The concept car is called the 'Value Up' and adopts a similar cost-saving approach to the new SUV-like Cactus, aiming to be lightweight, efficient and cheaper to produce.

It is built on a new platform, which is set to underpin Renault's future small cars. At 3.8m long, the concept would sit between the Twingo and the Renault Clio in the range.

The Value Up uses materials such as bamboo to increase strength and while reducing weight, and weighs just 830kg. Early suggestions are that a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol version would emit around 100g/km of CO2, while a plug-in hybrid version could emit just 45g/km.

The styling is that of a concept that is not too far off production, with large windows that stretch down below the normal windowline and into the doors. The rear doors themselves are hinged at the back and allow a large entry-point thanks to a wide opening angle.

Inside, there is bamboo on the door panels, floors and seat bases, while the front and rear seats are both benches. Although there is room for three in the rear, the front bench seat is designed for two. Due to the cost-saving nature of the car, it is unlikely that the bamboo trim will ever make it to production.

The dashboard is dominated by a large touchscreen display that spreads across the width of the car.

It uses two small LCD screens in front of the driver for the instruments and two 76cm x 17cm screens on the rest of the dash. One acts as a large infotainment screen, controlling the likes of the sat-nav, air conditioning and even the direction the door mirrors are pointing in.

The second display is in front of the passenger and is for entertainment. The system can play films and music and display photos and should be able to connect to the internet via a smartphone. It is compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems.

It uses a similar optical system to the Jaguar Land Rover screen that allows the passenger to see what is on the screen, but not the driver. An insider said the technology is ready for the screen to go into production, but a final decision has not yet been made.

Unfortunately, the Value Up is being used purely to develop new models. It is not expected ever to venture out of Renault's Paris innovation centre, or be shown at a motor show or even in pictures.

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Bullfinch 12 December 2014

Made Up

A car which won't be seen on the roads or at any motor shows or even in pictures. I wonder if anyone remembers the firm of E. H. Owen, 72 Comeragh Road, London W14. Their cars were advertised for years in The Autocar before the war but no-one ever saw one and now it's thought that no such car existed.