In 1990, Renault produced the Clio, a B-segment or supermini car designed with a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. It is currently in the fourth generation of its production, after amassing success throughout its previous generations, especially in Europe. In 1991 and 2006, Clio received the European Car of the Year award, making it one of the only two cars to have ever won this award twice (the Volkswagen Golf is the other one).
History of the Renault Clio
The Renault Clio succeeded the Renault 5, a supermini produced from 1972 until 1996. The Renault 5 came both in 3-door and 5-door variants, launching two generations throughout its life. The first one went in production from 1972-1985 and the second one from 1984-1996. Overall, the car became extremely popular in France and generated sales from around the world. Cumulatively, the first generation of the Renault 5 sold over 5.58 million vehicles.
First Generation Clio I (1990-1998)
Before the Clio, Renault used a number to represent its car models, such as the Renault 5, which preceded the Clio. It made its debut in 1990 at the Paris Motor Show, and shortly after, it entered different parts of the European market. The Clio shared many similarities with the Renault 5, such as its floorplan and also its suspension. Renault released it as 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks. In 1993, the French automaker launched a limited-edition Clio, called the Clio Williams, producing only 3800 cars. Still, due to popular demand, it released two more limited editions, named Williams 2 and Williams 3, at a later time.
The vehicle received a minor facelift in 1991, changing the design of the front seat and also incorporating a smoother version of the Renault diamond badge. By 1992, a system built on electronic fuel injection technology replaced the carburetors in the petrol variants to conform to pollution regulations established by the EEC. The second phase of the first generation rolled out in 1994 with upgrades to both the exterior (including the front grille) and the interior, and the third phase came out in 1996 with new engines that delivered improved fuel efficiency.
Second Generation Clio II (1998-2012)
Launching in 1998 after culminating the previous generation, Renault Clio II came with a noticeably round shape to make the car design less weighty and more durable. Renault released this generation as 3-door or 5-door hatchbacks and 4-door sedans. New engines powered them, including a 124 kW version as part of the new Clio Renault Sport.
Changes came in the year 2000 when Renault revised Clio's specs, added a brand new instrument cluster, and also included an additional airbag for the passenger. Several facelifts followed in 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2006. In 2001, the facelift included complete restyling of the exterior and enhancement of the interior. The one in 2003 installed new equipment such as climate control and cruise control. The 2004 facelift included a new front bumper, upper grille, headlights, and a streamlined interior with digital gauges. In 2006, Renault came out with improvements on engine specifications and also style modifications.
Third Generation Clio III (2005-2012)
Renault revealed the third generation of its Clio cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005. This version weighed 130kg more than the previous generation, and since it also measured 157 inches in length, it also became one of the longest supermini cars in the market. Due to these and many other upgrades, the third generation Clio also carried a heftier price tag.
Apart from structural upgrades, Renault also incorporated a keyless immobilizer called the Renault Card into the Clio. It also received the maximum safety rating by Euro NCAP, like other Renault vehicles. It was the third generation that won the Clio another European Car of the Year award in 2006. Renault launched three body styles as part of the third generation Clio, including two hatchbacks with 3 and 5 doors and a 5-door estate (launched in 2007).
A facelift in 2009 enhanced the quality of the materials used in the interior of the third-generation Clio.
Fourth Generation Clio IV (2012-2019)
The fourth-generation Clio entered the market a month after its introduction at the Paris Motor Show in 2012. The car was available in two body styles, including a 5-door hatchback and a 5-door estate (2013 onwards). Renault did not offer this generation in the 3-door variant like in the previous generation. The new generation also positioned the door handles next to the windows and installed several new equipment and technologies, including a hands-free option, connectivity with a rear camera, an infotainment system, and a dual-clutch transmission allowing for 6-speed options.
Fifth Generation Clio V (2019-Present)
Although it has not been launched in the market yet, Renault has launched the fifth generation Clio at the Geneva Motor Show this year (2019). This version will have improvements in the gearbox, engines, a new modular CMF-B platform, and a hybrid powertrain.
In Australia, Renault marketed the Clio starting from the second generation onwards and used the following powertrains:
- 0.9L 12v Energy TCe petrol, 5-speed manual gearbox - 66 kW, 135 Nm
- 1.2L 16v TCe petrol, 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission - 88 kW, 190 Nm
- 1.4L K4J 710 I4 petrol, 5-speed manual gearbox or 4-speed automatic transmission - 72 kW, 127 Nm
- 1.6L K7M/K4M I4 petrol, 5-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed automatic transmission - 79-147 kW, 148-260 Nm
- 2.0L F4R I4 petrol, 5-speed or 6-speed manual gearbox - 124-147 kW, 200-215Nm