French automaker Renault has been hard at work redesigning its flagship compact car, the Clio. We actually caught a few pictures of its high-performance variant, the Clio RS, testing with full camo last month. Then, Renault or Ireland mistakenly posted an image of this upcoming vehicle on its website and we were able to get a good look at the future model ahead of schedule.
Renault, of course, did not confirm nor deny that the leaked image was actually of the freshly redesigned Clio, but it is fairly obvious now that they have released official details on this upcoming new hatchback.
Unfortunately, as it has been for the last 23 years, this and all Renault vehicles will not be available in the U.S. The only hope we have of seeing a Renault-built car is the possibility that the upcoming revival of the Alpine brand may make its way to the U.S.
So how does this compact hatchback’s redesign stack up?
Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.
On the front end of the new 2013 Clio, there are revised headlights, which still angle rearward, but the 2013’s headlights have more angles and the rearmost section stretches farther back on the fenders. The grille is 100 percent new, as it boasts a black grille stretching from one headlight to the other with a chrome strip in the middle that connects to each side of the Renault’s diamond logo in the center of the grille. The hood is also revised with a much more aggressively sloped nose and sharper lines.
While the exterior of the revised Clio does bear similar body lines to the 2012 model, the 2013 models lines are heavily exaggerated. Renault eliminated the full-length beltline down the side of the Clio, but added in more pronounce and bulging fenders, especially on the back end. On the base of the rear doors, there is a slow protruding arch that gives the doors a lot of character.
Just like the 2012 Clio, the 2013 Clio will be available as a 5-door hatchback, but unlike the 2012 model, there is no 3-door option. The rear doors have scrapped the traditional door handle in favor of hidden handles near the top of each door, a la the Nissan Juke, giving this 5-door hatch a 3-door appearance. Renault has also repositioned the side-view mirrors from their typical mounting position just aft of the door glass, to a sleeker position on the top of the door skin, just below the door glass.
The 2013 Clio’s rump is drastically different from the 2012 model year, mostly due to the fatter rear fenders.
The 2013 Clio’s interior is more driver centric and modern than the 2012 model. It boasts a center mounted digital speedometer and buyers can choose between a red, black, brown, or white dashboard color. There is also an optimally-positioned multimedia system on the center console, comfortable seats, and chrome and piano-black trim highlights.
Optional features for the Clio include:
- A wide seven-inch (18cm) touchscreen
- Intuitive voice commands
- A home page that can be personalized by the user for safe and simple access to essential functions, without the driver having to take his or her eyes off the road
- TomTom connected navigation
- A connection with the car’s own electronic systems permits access to an advanced eco-driving function (Driving eco²) which analyses the driver’s behavior and provides advice to help reduce fuel consumption.
- Renault R-Link Store, the automobile world’s first ever Application Store, can easily view or download a comprehensive and varied range of apps from their car or computer (via ‘My Renault’).
- Bluetooth radios with the Renault Bass Reflex system
Engine and Drivetrain
Under the hood, the 2013 Clio will come standard with a 0.9-liter (900 cc) 3-cylinder engine that uses a tiny turbocharger to pump its output to an impressive-for-its-size 90 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 99 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. This engine has taller gear ratios and fuel consumption of 4.3 liters/100km, equivalent to CO2 emissions of 99g/km, a 21 percent fuel consumption and CO2 emissions savings compared to the TCe 100 it replaces.
There is also an optional 1.5-liter dCi turbo diesel engine that delivers 90 HP at 4,000 rpm and 220Nm/162 lb-ft of torque available from 1,750rpm.
Currently being homologated is a four-cylinder 1.2-liter engine with the performance of a normally-aspirated 1.6 engine. It has direct fuel injection and turbocharging for peak power of 120hp and 190Nm/140 lb-ft of torque from 1,750rpm.
There will be two manual transmissions offered on the 2013 Clio, both of which are 5-speeds. One will be your run-of-the-mill 5-slot trans, while the optional transmission will have taller gear ratios to help increase fuel economy. Also available will be a dual-clutch automatic tranny.
When Can I Get One?
We don’t have a release date on the 2013 Clio, but we do know that it will debut at the Paris Motor Show in the fall. We do anticipate seeing some more officially released images leading into the show.
There is no pricing available for the 2013 Renault Clio as of yet, but we certainly don’t expect Renault to stray too far from the €11,625 ($14,639) base MSRP.
The Clio has its work cut out for it in its segment, as it’s loaded with competition. Chevy has the Aveo, which starts out at €10,295 and boasts an aggressive style combined with a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 86 PS (84 horsepower) and 60.1 mpg. Add in the fact that the Aveo has a stylist interior with am USB port, two glove boxes, and loads of luggage capacity and the Clio has some catching up to do.
The other direct competitor to the 2013 Clio is the all-new SEAT Ibiza 5-door, which boasts bodylines just as aggressive as the Clio, yet has sleekness about it that the Clio lacks. The Ibiza loses out in entry-level power, as its base 1.2-liter 4-pot kicks out just 70 PS (69 horsepower), but it makes up for its shortcoming with an available 150 PS (147 horsepower) 1.4-liter engine. The Ibiza also makes up for the lack of base-level power with its easy-on-the-wallet £9,479.17 base price.
The 2013 Clio looks great on the outside, and its styling is definitely better than the Aveo’s. It is about even with the SEAT Ibiza in styling, but the SEAT has a little more refinement to its look. We will reserve judgment until Renault releases all of the Clios pictures and information. At this point, for our money, the SEAT looks like the better value, but you don’t get the reliability of the Renault brand.
Much more stylish than 2012
90 ponies from a 3-pot isn’t too bad
The swollen rear fenders are pure awesomeness
Still awaiting official details
No performance engine offered outside of the RS line
Relatively high base price