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by Tim Beissmann

Renault has been spied testing its Clio-based baby SUV in southern Europe ahead of the all-new model’s anticipated launch in 2013.

Rumoured to be called the Renault Captur after the striking, high-riding crossover coupe concept that debuted at last year’s Geneva motor show, the prototype looks set to draw heavily from the design of the all-new Renault Clio IV five-door hatchback, which goes on sale in Australia in mid 2013.

Sporting the new family headlight, grille and badge layout developed by Renault’s new designer, Laurens van den Acker, the ‘Captur’ crossover promises simple, urban-friendly styling to compete with the likes of the Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax and Opel Mokka.

The Captur shares its basic underpinnings with the new Clio and its Renault-Nissan alliance cousin, the Nissan Juke, and as such is expected to feature the engines already used in those models.

A range of fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines will be offered depending on the region.

Our spy photographers believe the Renault Captur will only be available in front-wheel drive – unlike the Juke, which comes with the option of all-wheel drive.

The Captur will be the first of three new SUVs from Renault to launch in the coming years, with larger models based on the next-generation Nissan Dualis also in the pipeline.