What links the Espace, the Laguna, and the Wind? That’s right – they’re all models the French firm’s quietly dropped from the UK because they hadn’t proved a hit with buyers on this side of the Channel.
That’s why they’ve put so much effort into the latest version of what’s been their supermini staple for more than two decades – the Clio. We’ve already looked at the potent 2.0 litre Renaultsport 200 Turbo version but chances are that it’s going to be its less manic little brother, which goes on sale at dealerships across the UK at the end of the month, that’ll be so crucial to the company’s fortunes in this country.
It’s certainly got the looks style-savvy supermini shoppers crave – check out those Alfa 156-esque rear doors, for instance, cleverly designed to disguise the fact it’s the first Clio in the model’s 22 year history that’ll be offered only as a five door.
More importantly, depending on which version you pick it’ll be around 100kg lighter than the car it replaces, which makes it kinder on fuel (great for when you’re not belting it around like a boy racer) and quicker off the mark and more nimble (great for when you are).
Thanks to the prospect of a £10,595 starting price, fine looks and the prospect of gadgets like an in-car tablet, I reckon the new Clio might well be good enough to make it fourth time lucky for Renault.
I’m looking forward to finding out whether the new Clio goes as well as it looks.