The new Renault Clio, which was unveiled at this year’s Geneva motor show in March, sees the return of the standard Clio range to Australia, with the previous generation only sold as the high-performance Renault Clio RS200.
Renault Australia will launch four different variants of the new Clio, offered with two engine and transmission choices. Despite the relatively small range, the Clio is highly customisable, with the number of possible permutations in the thousands.
The new Clio is the first car styled by Renault’s new head of design, Laurens van den Acker, who was previously in charge of global design at Mazda.
Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar says the Clio is positioned between the Mazda 2 and the Volkswagen Polo, something that is reflected in the car’s pricing. Nonetheless, it beats both its rivals with a five-year warranty and three-year capped-priced servicing program ($299 per service – 12 months/15,000km).
Measuring 4063mm long, 1732mm wide and 1448mm high, the five-door-only Clio is longer and lower than the previous generation. The rear door handles are cleverly concealed to give the appearance of a three-door hatch while maintaining the practicality of a five-door.
The entry model engine is an 898cc turbocharged three-cylinder petrol equipped with stop-start technology (automatically turns the engine off at idle and restarts when needed). Renault says the pint-sized unit delivers the performance of a 1.4-litre naturally aspirated engine.
The three-cylinder engine produces 66kW of power and 135Nm of torque, enough to move the 1019kg Clio from 0-100km/h in 12.2 seconds while consuming 4.5 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. The three-cylinder engine is only offered with a five-speed manual transmission in the base and mid-spec models.
The expected volume seller is the 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo that punches out a healthy 88kW of power and 190Nm of torque. With a power and torque advantage of 22kW and 55Nm over the three-cylinder respectively, the four-cylinder Clio accelerates from 0-100km/h in 9.4 seconds, helped by its six-speed automatic electronic dual-clutch (EDC) transmission by Getrag (the same company that produces the SST transmission in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution). Fuel consumption is rated at 5.2L/100km.
Renault says the four-cylinder engine was the work of several former Renault Formula One engineers.
The interior has been given a complete overhaul with a big emphasis on technology, helped by the inclusion of a seven-inch touchscreen on the mid- and top-spec variants, both of which feature satellite navigation. This makes the mid-spec Renault Clio Expression the most affordable car in Australia ($17,790 for the TCe 90 manual) with standard satellite navigation.
One of the appeals of the new Renault Clio will be its extensive customisation program, which offers buyers a vast array of choice in personalising their Clio. Customers can choose between chrome, black, red, blue and ivory for the exterior decoration of the grille, rear hatch and side protective moulding trims.
Additionally, the roof graphics come in a choice of ‘Tricolour’, ‘Sport’ or ‘Dots’, the Clio’s 16-inch alloy wheels are available in a choice of three colours and the 17-inch wheels get four colour choices.
The interior can also be decked out with black, red, blue or ivory. The steering wheel, door panels, gear lever and air vent surrounds can all be customised.
The customisation options, while extensive, are actually rather affordable. For example, picking a colour pack for the interior or exterior (on all customisable parts) is just $250 each. The matching wheels are $750.
The Renault Clio comes with an interesting feature called R-Link, which, among many other things, allows for the customisation of the engine note. Playing a synthesised engine sound through the speakers allows the Clio to mimic the sound of many other vehicles, including a hovercraft or bike.
Australian-delivered Renault Clios are built in Bursa, Turkey; the only plant that produces the French vehicles in right-hand drive.
- Renault Clio Authentique TCe 90 MT - $16,790
- Renault Clio Expression TCe 90 MT - $17,790
- Renault Clio Expression TCe 120 EDC - $19,790
- Renault Clio Dynamique TCe 120 EDC - $23,290
Read: Renault Clio Review.