New Renault Clio unveiled

Renault has shown the first images of its fourth-generation Clio, which will go on sale in the UK in 2013. The styling is certainly a big step forward, although we are not sure we would go quite as far as design boss Laurens van den Acker , who says, “The new Renault Clio was conceived as a piece of sensuous sculpture which stimulates desire… No acute or aggressive angles, just voluptuous curves that make you want to go up to it and caress it.”

Another major area of progress is engines. Like Ford and Peugeot, Renault has introduced a small three cylinder petrol engine – in fact, at 899cc, it is the smallest of the new-generation triples. This one produces 90 bhp and has a fuel consumption of 65.7 mpg, with just 99g/km of CO2. There is also a 1.5 litre 90 bhp diesel, with an official fuel consumption of 88 mpg. That is a spectacular figure, but it is hard to see many British buyers choosing the diesel over such an economical petrol engine. In mid 2013, a four cylinder 1.2 litre petrol with 120 bhp will be added, but performance figures for that engine are not yet available.

There is also a big focus on audio and entertainment features. There will be an integrated and internet connected seven-inch touchscreen tablet, called R-Link, plus an R-Link Store for Renault Apps. One of these will be a sound Effect app which has six different sound profiles for the engine, presumably depending on whether you want to listen to music or you fancy sounding like a rally driver.