THE diamonds are aligning for Renault. Its new Clio compact hatch arrives in showrooms next week priced from a sharp $16,790.
Aimed squarely at the Volkwagen Polo and the volume selling Mazda2, Renault has ample faith in this attention seeking Clio hatch.
It comes with two turbocharged petrol engine choices (a three-cylinder mated to a five-speed manual and a four-cylinder matched to a six-speed dual clutch), in three trim levels.
Customisation is a trump card of the new Clio with Renault offering a wide range of colour options, internal and external decals, trims and various features to ensure it stands out from the crowd.
And designer Laurens van den Acker has really hit his straps with this offering. With nice shoulder lines and beautiful proportions, it has to be the stand-out design in the light car segment.
This fourth generation Clio is just over 4m in length, sitting on a larger wheelbase 45mm closer to the ground than its predecessor with a wider front and rear track. About 100kg lighter than the third gen, it's nimble with impressive noise suppression.
Cabin fit and finish feels first class.
We sampled the new Clio in all variants across a wide variant of surfaces, in the city and the country and it impressed with its dexterity.
For those seeking a more urgent response the larger engine is the obvious choice. But anyone who doesn't stray onto the highway too often and is looking for a thrifty, honest little performer, the three-cylinder can do the job. Although there is no automatic transmission with the base model.
Renault has put a hefty focus on improving ownership costs.
Annual services are capped at $299 for the first three years, there is a five-year warranty with roadside assist over the same period, while analysis of the 40 most common parts costs across a range of models showed the Clio is one of the cheapest.
Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar says is team is working hard to remove some of the "negative stigma" associated with French and European cars, and he is confident the Clio is a package which can break the nexus.
A new insurance arm has even been developed to maintain quality repairers in the case of an accident.
"The new Renault Clio is a brilliant light car and through a high level of standard equipment, fantastic new engines and exceptional handling I'm confident the new Clio will appeal to Australian new car buyers," he said.
"Renault is renowned for its expertise in small hatches and the new Clio embodies the best of the Renault brand. We have a fantastic value proposition in terms of a beautifully designed vehicle with high levels of personalisation, at an extremely competitive price. Supported by our rapidly growing dealer network, capped price servicing and best in class warranty, this all equates to the new benchmark light European hatch in the Australian market."
Model: Renault Clio.
Details: Five-door front-wheel drive light-size hatchback.
Engines: 900cc turbocharged three-cylinder generating 66kW @ 5250rpm and peak torque of 135Nm @ 2500rpm; 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol 88kW @ 4900rpm and 190Nm @ 2000rpm.
Transmissions: Five-speed manual (0.9 only); dual clutch six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 4.5 litres/100km; 5.2L/100km (combined average).
CO2: 105g/km; 120g/km.
Performance: 0-100kmh in 12.2 seconds; 9.4 seconds.
Bottom line: Authentique TCe 90 (m) $16,790, Expression TCe 90 (m) $17,790, Expression TCe 120 (a) $19,790, Dynamique TCe 120 (a) $23,290.
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