Our exclusive images preview the next Renault Clio; which is set to boast an electrified powertrain when it arrives in 2019.
Renault is aiming to have one of the most advanced and efficient superminis on sale when it launches the fifth-generation Clio at the end of the year. An electrified powertrain and basic autonomous driving functions will be introduced on the new model, which is likely to be the brand’s headline act at September’s Paris Motor Show before going on sale in 2019.
The supermini market has been bombarded with new models over the past 18 months. The arrivals include the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Citroen C3, meaning the current Clio has become one of the oldest cars in the sector.
While the new Clio will focus on the technology beneath the skin and the overhauled cabin design, Renault’s designers will also take the opportunity to give the supermini a new lease of life. The car’s looks will be an evolution of the current model’s, but inspiration from the Renault Symbioz concept will be evident in the C-shaped headlights and tail-lamps, as our exclusive images show.
Bigger changes can be expected inside, where the cabin will undergo a dramatic overhaul, according to Renault’s design boss Laurens van den Acker. A much larger, portrait-style touchscreen will dominate the dash and feature the latest smartphone connectivity apps, while a big jump in material quality will give a more premium feel. Van den Acker has previously said his design team needs to work on making future Renaults’ interiors as appealing as the exteriors.
The new Clio will be based on an updated version of the current car’s CMF-B platform, which it shares with the Nissan Micra, in order to reduce development costs. That means a conventional range of petrol engines will be made available to buyers, including the new turbocharged 1.3-litre along with a revised version of the 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo. Given the higher price point and current market trend away from diesel, it’s unclear whether Renault will offer the Clio with any dCi engines.
What will appear in the Clio for the first time will be a mild hybrid powertrain. This should make use of a small petrol engine paired with 48V electrics to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This type of electrification has been chosen because of its relative simplicity and affordability; Renault bosses have ruled out a plug-in hybrid version of the Clio, however.
Another way to help improve economy without passing on huge costs to consumers is by reducing the model’s overall weight. Renault will take lessons learned from the 2014 Eolab concept to help strip unnecessary kilos out of the car; this could include using aluminium in the construction, thinner glass and a simplified braking system.
The Clio will also play a part in the French manufacturer’s push towards electrified and autonomous vehicles. By 2022, Renault is aiming to have eight fully electric and 12 hybrid cars, along with autonomous tech rolled out across 15 models. The brand has committed more than 18 billion Euros into R&D, which will go towards helping develop the technology.
The autonomous tech fitted to the Clio will allow the driver to hand over control of the vehicle’s speed and steering function to the car itself. Laws dictate that the driver must have their hands on the steering wheel at all times, however.