Featuring newly styled and bigger bodywork, the new Clio has more space, more pace, and comes with a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating. And it is the first car in its class to get hands-free card technology (optional on the Dynamique models).
Styling sees a new front dominated by a large air intake below the bumper, with strong bonnet swage lines converging on the teardrop-shaped headlamps and Renault diamond logo.
The bonnet, windscreen and A-pillars form a flowing curve into the roofline, ending with the pert rear hatch, while the waist swage lines converge at the bottom of the rear window in a vee.
There are short overhangs and wide tracks front and rear.
Inside there are soft flowing contours in the dashboard, and Renault has upped the quality of materials and standards of finish.
The instrument panel directly in front of the driver is derived from that of Megane 2, and is available in two versions according to model.
On the Expression trim level, fuel level and engine temperature are displayed by two bar graphs in the onboard computer display.
On Dynamique models the on-board computer can display up to 70 messages, information being accessed by a two dimensional scroll function.
The radio display is remotely positioned in the centre of the dashboard and the car retains the satellite audio controls of its predecessor.
The glove compartment capacity is 9.4 litres; the front storage bins have a capacity of 2.4 litres each, and are capable of holding a 1.5 litre bottle. The rear door pockets have a capacity of 1 litre, and there are additional storage drawers under the front seats.
The driver also gets a height-adjustable steering wheel (reach adjustment is also fitted to some models) and seat height adjustment.
The rear seat is offered in either bench or 60:40 split configuration, according to model.
Luggage space is 288 litres, extending to 1 038 litres with the rear seats folded down and loading to roof level.
Special attention has been paid to low noise inside the car, and Clio 3 is also the first car in its class to benefit from hands-free card technology (optional on the Dynamique models).
With the Renault hands-free card, vehicle mounted sensors automatically detect the presence of the users as soon as they come within 1.2 m of the doors.
All that is required to unlock the car is a touch on the door handle.
Once inside, sensors detect the presence of the card and allow the engine to be started without requiring it to be inserted into its slot.
Locking of doors requires a touch to one of the door handles or that of the rear hatch.
Derived from that of Megane 2, Clio 3?s front suspension sees MacPherson-type struts at the front with rectangular lower arms, and a torsion beam axle with coil springs, coupled with an anti-roll bar, at the back.
The car's long wheelbase, short overhangs and wide tracks provide excellent stability and handling. It gets the latest ABS system with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA).
Cornering lights are fitted in conjunction with the black mask and chrome door handles in the Pack Look (standard on 3-door).
There are eight airbags, including two adaptive front airbags with load limiter and double pre-tensioners for the front seats.
Four Isofix child seat mounting points are fitted to the rear seats and front passenger seat.
The model line-up
Starting the new Clio 3 range is the Expression 1.4 16V, available in 3 or 5-door versions.
Its 1 390 cm³ four cylinder petrol engine delivers 72 kW at 5 700 r/min, with 127 Nm torque at 4 250 r/min, with 90% available between 2000 and 6 000 r/min. A 5-speed manual gearbox is fitted.
Renault claims 6.6 litres/100 km consumption on the urban cycle.
Top speed is 183 km/h and acceleration from 0 - 100 km/h takes 11.3 seconds.
Standard equipment includes a 2 x 15 Watt single CD/radio with fingertip control and four speakers, air conditioning, manually adjustable exterior mirrors, electric variable-assist power steering, and height-adjustable 3-spoke steering wheel.
Other features include a rev counter, digital clock, trip computer and warning system with outside temperature gauge, front underfloor storage, and an accessory power point.
And there is a heated rear window, integrated alarm/immobiliser, front underseat storage, and front electric windows with one-touch facility.
In Expression trim level the upper part of the dashboard is finished in charcoal, with the lower part in light beige.
Exterior features include coloured-coded bumpers, black door handles, B-pillars and body side mouldings.
Diesel enthusiasts get one choice, the Expression 1.5 dCi available only in 5-door.
Displacing 1 461 cm³, output is 60 kW at 3 750 r/min, and torque 200 Nm at just 1 900 r/min. A 5-speed manual gearbox is fitted.
Urban cycle fuel consumption is only 4.6 litres/100 km. Top speed is 174 km/h and acceleration from 0 - 100 km/h takes 12.7 seconds.
In addition to the equipment levels of the Expression 1.4, the 1.5 dCi is fitted with a
4 x 15 Watt single CD/Receiver with fingertip control.
Next up is the Expression 1.6 16V available in both 3- and 5-door. A 5-speed manual gearbox is fitted, but the 5-door is also available with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The 1 568 cm³ engine gives 83 kW at 6 000 r/min, with torque 151 Nm at 4 250 r/min.
Urban cycle fuel consumption is 6.6 l/100 km, while the 0 - 100 km/h acceleration time is 10.2 for the manual version, and 12.2 for the automatic.
Top speeds are 190 km/h and 186 km/h respectively
The Expression 1.6 16V shares equipment levels with the 1.5 dCi.
Optional equipment on all Expression models includes metallic paint, 15 inch alloy wheels, stereo upgrades and a 3-year/45 000 km maintenance plan.
1.6 Expression is also available in automatic transmission.
The top-of-the-range Dynamique 1.6 16V gets the same engine as the Expression 1.6, but with a higher specification and trim level. It is available in 3- or 5-door with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The Dynamique features a dashboard finished completely in charcoal, with a satin chrome separating strip between the upper half of the dashboard and the glove compartment lid.
The climate control display (optional on 3-door), gear lever base, vent controls and instrument dials are also framed in satin finish chrome.
This trim level also features a so-called "slush" dashboard which is softer and more supple to the touch.
The exterior features colour-coded exterior mirror housings and B-pillars.
In addition to Expression features, the Dynamique gets a 4 x 15 Watt single CD/radio with fingertip control, electronic climate control, rain sensor, and automatic headlamps.
There are also side curtain airbags, 60:40 split rear seat, height-adjustable driver's seat, leather gear knob, 3-spoke leather-bound steering wheel, chrome interior door handles and electric exterior mirrors.
Options include anti-submarining airbags for the front seats on the 3-door model, a panoramic sunroof, 16 inch alloy wheels and a Pack Look (cornering headlamp, black mask, and chrome door handle) on 5 door.
A 3-year/45 000 km maintenance plan can also be specified.
All Clio 3s are covered by Renault's 3-year/100 000 km warranty, with a 6-year anti-corrosion guarantee.
Service intervals and oil changes are required every 15 000 km for petrol models and 10 000 km for diesels, while spark plugs and air filters need only be changed every 60 000 km.
Timing belts have a life expectancy of 120 000 km, while the diesel fuel filter needs replacing only every 40 000 km under normal driving conditions.
Long-life features include a stainless steel exhaust system, a fully galvanised engine subframe and wax coated chassis box sections.
1.4 Expression R126 000
1.6 Dynamique R141 000.
1.4 Expression R125 000
1.6 Expression R131 500
1.6 Expression A/T R141 000
R1.5 dCi Expression R139 000
R1.6 Dynamique R141 000.