Curvy new Renault Clio unveiled
Following this morning's leak, Renault has officially lifted the veil on its all-new Clio hatchback and our local contact has informed us that it'll be heading to South Africa during the first quarter of 2013.
Wow, what a leap forward it's made in the design stakes - compared to its relatively conservative predecessor. Perhaps it won't be to everyone's liking but you can't accuse it of lacking imagination.
At the front end it follows the path forged by the Dezir concept of 2010, while the rest of it is uncharacteristically Renault with hidden rear door handles, a pronounced shoulder line and recessed horizontal tail lights.
But would you really want to get physical with it?
Laurens van den Acker, a design head at Renault, calls it a “sensuous sculpture that stimulates desire.
“No acute or aggressive angles, just voluptuous curves that make you want to go up to it and caress it,” he adds.
Inside you'll find a dashboard sculpted in the shape of an aircraft wing and Renault also claims to have a long list of affordable options available. That and a very wide scope for personalisation both for exterior and interior styling.
Furthermore, Dynamique models boast an 18cm touchscreen infotainment system that can be personalised and enhanced with downloadable apps (yes, it connects to the internet).
An added bonus for music lovers is the Renault Bass Reflex system, which is built into the front doors and promises to deliver the volume and listening enjoyment of a 30-litre hope speaker system. This is standard on all models, along with Bluetooth-equipped audio systems.
Yet Renault has done more than just future-proof the styling and gadgetry - thankfully the engineers didn't spend too much time caressing the bonnet and for that reason you'll find a lot of new componentry beneath it.
67kW from just 899cc
Embracing the 'downsizing' trend in full force, the base petrol engine is a turbocharged 899cc three-cylinder unit that manages to muster 67kW and 135Nm at 2000. In the 'economy enhanced' version with taller gear ratios, claimed combined fuel consumption is just 4.5 litres per 100km, with tax-busting CO2 emissions of 99g/km.
Those with a greater performance hunger can opt for Renault's latest 1.2-litre four-cylinder direct injection turbopetrol with 89kW and 190Nm on command.
Offering the same output as this is a new version of Renault's 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel - this one has 220Nm of torque available and the eco version emits just 83g/km of CO2. Both engines are, of course, mated to an idle-stop system.
That's all Renault is prepared to speak about for now, but be sure that there will be a hot RS version in the pipeline too.