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Renault Clio (2012) first official pictures
First Official Pictures
03 July 2012 13:20
Renault's bold new Clio has broken cover, sporting a new look, technology overload and a raft of personalisation options to take the fight to the supermini class leaders.
We'll see in in the metal at the Paris motor show in September 2012.
Where has the Clio's new look come from?
The angular headlights, slim LEDS, enormous badge and grille surround are all recognisable from the DeZir concept car, and the Alpine 110-50 concept car.
A five-door only, there's hidden rear door handles cribbed from the likes of Alfa Romeo, Honda and Seat, and an upright rear with swollen flanks above the rear wheels and a diffuser-apeing bumper. The whole car sits on a wider track and its forward-leaning stance is more sporty than the current Clio.
Clearly Renault is hoping that the magic of its RenaultSport arm will rub off on all Clio versions in the styling department at least - even those door-mounted chrome flourishes recall the current RS Megane 265.
But can the 2012 Clio be as fun to drive as the RS cars?
We'll have to wait for the September launch drives to confirm that, but Renault are certainly giving it a go, with a totally clean sheet-design engine range.
The new Clio will be the first Renault to benefit from a range of fresh downsized engines, kicking off with a three-cylinder petrol unit, which Renault claims gives the performance of a 1.4-litre engine despite only displacing 899cc. A low-inertia turbo helps squeeze out 89bhp and 100lb ft, while standard stop-start cuts consumption.
There'll be a truly eco-focused version with taller gear ratios, that'll sneak into road tax exemption with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km. The three-pot marks a 21% efficiency improvement over the powerplant it replaces.
Higher up the power scale will is a four-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol, good for 118bhp and 140lb ft, figures comparable with a 1.6 engine, says Renault. Paired with Renault's new EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch gearbox), this powertrain will be on sale in early 2013.
Rounding out engine options is the diesel: this Clio gets a four-cylinder 1.5-litre with 89bhp and 162lb ft. Impressively, CO2 emissions for the diesel are as low as 83g/km.
Driver assists such as an 'eco mode' to improve efficiency by a further 10%, and a driving standard monitor should further enhance the Clio's green credentials.
Has the new Renault Clio's interior improved over the current dour cabin?
Most certainly. Of most interest is the 'R-Link' interface, which incorporates a seven-inch touchscreen display into the dashboard, compatible with voice control and with integrated TomTom navigation. You'll even be able to download apps to your own car to use on the move.
Sure to be popular with young buyers is the Renault Bass Reflex system, which incorporates front door-mounted loudspeakers with better bass performance and less sound distortion. BlueTooth connectivity for streaming phone conversation and MP3 players wirelessly is also included, and then there's the accessory options...
You can choose your favourite door mirror housings, grille bars, rear panel skirts, lower door protectors and wheel finishes, as well as a choice of roof graphics. Inside ,buyers can tweak the dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, grab handles, gear lever surround, air vent surrounds, upholstery materials and optional floor mats. All of a sudden, a union jack-roofed Mini could start to look a little old hat.
When can I spec up my own Clio?
The new Clio's launch will take place just after the car has been exhibited at the 2012 Paris auto show in September, and UK sales will likely start at the very end of 2012. Prices and further juicy details will be revealed nearer that time.