Ford's next-generation Fiesta isn’t the only supermini heading for the limelight. As our spies can reveal, Renault also has plans to shake up the sector – with an all-new evolution of the Clio.
Inspired by the latest Laguna, the Clio MkIV is expected to go on sale early in 2009. There will be three and five-door hatchbacks, plus a new estate, and the most obvious changes have been made to the nose. As part of a push to improve its pedestrian safety rating and road presence, it has revised headlights, a fresh grille, larger badge and reshaped bonnet.
At the rear, the alterations are less obvious, but include distinctive lamps and a sharp horizontal crease across the tailgate which helps to improve boot capacity. Changes to the supermini’s profile are less pronounced, mainly because the next Clio shares its chassis with the current machine. That means the wheelbase remains the same, as does the roofline.
Inside, however, a host of enhancements to the layout and equipment have been made. As a result, the Ren-ault will be more of a match for the new Fiesta, which promises to be the best-equipped car in its class.
Clio buyers can expect rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry and start, as well as a new satellite navigation system to replace the basic set-up in the existing model. Although details of the engines remain secret, it’s thought the French firm will carry over the current line-up – so the Clio will get a varied range of petrol and diesel units.