- MT Expert
New 2003 Renault Clio range
Surfing on the wave of this success, Renault UK has announced its 2003 Clio range introducing the new Billabong special edition - named after the popular snow and surfing equipment and clothing label - option packs that increase the personalisation of its most popular model, Dynamique, plus better specification across the range and the wider availability of its class-leading 1.5dCi common-rail diesel engine range.
2002 proved to be another record year for Clio sales in the UK with 86,337 cars sold, boosted by the introduction of the 80bhp version of the Clio's 1.5dCi engine and the lightweight version of the fire-breathing Clio Renaultsport 172 called the Cup. This total made Clio the sixth best-selling car in the UK in 2002 following an 8.1% increase in sales over 2001 - winning 10.1% of the supermini sector. It also topped both the Scottish and Northern Irish markets with 11,354 and 4,297 cars sold respectively.
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Such success is thanks Clio's unique combination of driving pleasure through powerful petrol and diesel engines, sharp styling, very competitive pricing and most importantly safety and equipment levels that make other superminis look like bargain-basement economy models.
Class-leading levels of equipment offered by Clio includes ABS with brake assist, driver, passenger and lateral airbags, remote control central locking, electric windows, and three-point seatbelts for all three rear passengers from the entry level version - something no other competitor can match.
On top of this Clio is the most economical supermini on sale in the UK with its revolutionary 1.5dCi engine offering the lowest fuel consumption and unbeaten CO2 emissions in the class, a fact appreciated by Clio customers with the diesel share of sales increasing by 109% in 2002 now that Clio offers both 65 and 80bhp versions of the 1.5dCi engine.
Building on new Clio's strong performance this year, the 2003 Renault Clio range introduces:
- enhanced specification
- a wider range of dCi models
- simplified range structure
- increased personalisation through the offer of a number of option packs on Dynamique
- Clio Billabong special edition
Following the success of the special edition Clio Extreme in 2002, Renault has introduced a new special edition to appeal to its fashion and lifestyle conscious young customers in 2003. The Clio Billabong - named after the popular Australian surf and snow equipment and clothing label - is aimed at the under 25 market of uncompromising, energetic customers offering a 'trendy' sporty Clio at an accessible price. In addition Billabong, in 1.2 16V and 1.5dCi 65 form, is the only supermini currently on the market to offer one year's free insurance to 18 year old customers.
Based on the best-selling Dynamique trim level, the Clio Billabong replaces 2002's Extreme special edition, and benefits from some unique interior and exterior features. The bespoke interior treatment sees new upholstery applied to the seats - blue inserts on the base and back of each seat with black cloth on the outer edges. Additionally, the insert which runs horizontally across the centre of the dashboard, the door panels and the insert on the gear lever are in silver grey.
On the outside, Clio Billabong features five metallic paint colours - Cyclone Blue, Pearl Black, Platinum, Cherry Red plus one new exclusive colour, Citrus Green. Badging on the Billabong special edition consists of logos on the door sill protectors, on the rear wings and on the fascia insert on the passenger side.
In addition to the exclusive cabin treatment, metallic paint and badging, Clio Billabong continues to feature all the benefits of the Dynamique trim level.
Part of the Clio Sport Collection, which accounts for 50% of Clio sales, the Dynamique features 15" alloy wheels, front fog lamps, remote control central locking and insurance approved immobiliser, rear boot spoiler, sports ratio steering rack, sports suspension on the 1.4 and 1.6 16V, leather steering wheel, sports front seats, trip computer, aluminium finish instrument surround, electric front windows with driver's one-touch facility, double optic headlamps, smart wipers, body coloured electric heated door mirrors, manual tilt glass sunroof, and height adjustable driver's seat.
The Dynamique versions also benefit from all of the safety equipment which is standard on every Clio and helped it gain a class-topping four star EuroNCAP crash test rating.
The Clio Billabong special edition is available with five class-leading engines - the 75bhp 1.2 16V, 98bhp 1.4 16V and 110bhp 1.6 16V petrol units plus the super-economical 65bhp and 80bhp 1.5dCi common-rail diesel engines.
Option packs enhance personalisation on Clio Dynamique
In addition to this improved specification, Renault is now offering its customers the ability to improve the personalisation on their Clio Dynamique. All optional equipment for Clio Dynamique is now offered in Option Packs, grouping together the most popular selections of options.
The Freeway collection encompasses the Authentique and Expression and are designed to offer Clio style and personality at an accessible price whilst still providing high levels of driving pleasure and equipment.
The entry-level Authentique range is now broadened with the addition of the 65bhp 1.5dCi engine enhancing this already fantastic package. No other competitor offers ABS with emergency brake assist, four airbags, power steering, electric front windows, remote-control central locking, double optic headlamps, smart wipers, rev. counter and four speaker hi-fi with finger-tip remote control - equipment worth over £1,100 - in its entry level version - yet at £8,395 for the three-door and £8,895 for the five-door the Clio Authentique 1.5dCi is still £600 less than its rivals from Ford and Vauxhall and undercuts the Peugeot 206 by £470.
Expression remains at the core of the Clio offer and now features an enhanced engine and transmission choice. As well as adding the 1.4 16V petrol and 1.5dCi 80 common-rail diesel engine to the Expression range, this Clio model also benefits from the addition of a single CD/radio Hi-Fi as standard, previously a £100 option.
Other additional standard equipment on Expression includes electric heated door mirrors, manual tilt/remove sunroof, height adjustable drivers' seat, three height adjustable rear headrests, 60/40 split fold rear seat, air recirculation, exterior temperature display and front map reading light and delayed extinguish courtesy light.
Renault is also offering a version of Expression with Air conditioning which will also feature as a separate model in the price list replacing the previous 'Plus' models. Other options include climate control, turn by turn satellite navigation, front fog lamps, 15-inch 'Equation alloy wheels, electric sunroof in lieu of manual version, metallic paint, and hands-free telephone kit.
The second collection in the 2003 Clio range remains Elegance, comprised of the PrivilÃ¨ge and Initiale models designed to offer large car luxury and equipment in a supermini.
PrivilÃ¨ge adds automatic headlamps and wipers as well as manual air-conditioning with pollen filter, electric glass sunroof with sunblind, Thatcham category one alarm, 88W single CD six speaker Hi-Fi, 15" alloy wheels, front fog lamps, sports front seats, trip computer, aluminium finish instrument surround and door handles, height and lumbar adjustable driver's seat and velour upholstery as standard equipment on top of that offered on Expression.
Options on PrivilÃ¨ge include metallic paint, climate control in lieu of manual air conditioning, turn by turn satellite navigation, ESP traction control, Xenon headlamps with headlamp wash, Cruise control with speed limiter and hands-free telephone kit.
The luxurious Initiale is available with both 110bhp 1.6 16V petrol and 1.5dCi 80 common-rail diesel engines. Standard equipment includes climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, Xenon headlamps with auto height adjustment and power wash, automatic rain sensitive wipers and automatic headlamps, leather and alcantara upholstery, maple wood inserts on the dash, leather steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, garment carrier and luggage net in the boot and metallic paint - equipment levels to embarrass cars costing twice as much.
Options available on Clio Initiale include Multi-CD stacker, full colour satellite navigation system, ESP traction control and hands-free telephone kit
The third Clio Collection is Sport offering sporty Clio versions for every budget and level of performance from Dynamique, through Renaultsport 172 and 172 Cup up to the fire-breathing 3-litre V6.
The 2003 Dynamique range sees the dropping of the 'Plus' models replaced by option packs offering greater value for money. The engine range remains as before with three petrol and two diesel units starting with the 75bhp 1.2 16V through the 98bhp 1.4 16V and 110bhp 1.6 16V petrol engines plus the 65bhp and 80bhp 1.5dCi unit.
Starting from a base of the Expression trim, the Dynamique adds 15" alloy wheels, front fog lamps, rear boot spoiler, sports ratio steering rack, sports suspension on the 1.4 and 1.6 16V, leather steering wheel, sports front seats, trip computer, aluminium finish instrument surround and height and lumbar adjustable driver's seat. Additional equipment for 2003 is the addition of the single-CD/Radio Hi-Fi.
Finally, there are now three Clio Renaultsport models in the 2003 Clio Sport Collection: 172, 172 Cup and V6 255.
The UK is the largest market for Renaultsport models worldwide.
The Clio Renaultsport 172 adds unique body styling including enlarged front wings and body coloured front spoiler, body coloured rear roof spoiler, 16" alloy wheels, perforated leather and alcantara upholstery with Renaultsport badging, leather and aluminium gearknob, optimum gearchange indicator light and 8,000rpm rev counter, drilled aluminium pedals, illuminated vanity mirrors, body coloured side mouldings and door handles and metallic paint, and of course the 172bhp 2.0 16V engine that provides all that enjoyment and enough performance to get from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds and earn the title of 'mega-hatch' of the year from CAR Magazine.
It also includes ESP traction control, climate control, xenon headlamps with auto height adjustment and power wash, automatic rain sensitive wiper and automatic headlamps.
And although Multi-CD system is now a £295 option, being replaced by a single CD/radio Hi-Fi, the overall price of the Clio Renaultsport 172 has dropped by £500 to £14,595 on the road, making it even better value.
The special edition road-going version of the Clio Renaultsport 172 Cup racing car continues into 2003 following sales of 1,000 cars in only six months last year. This lightweight version of the Clio 172, available in one exclusive colour, Mondial Blue, and shod with special 16-inch Speedline "Turini" wheels is a highly focused special edition intended for drivers keen on the utmost enjoyment who may use the car on track days or in Group N production car rallying for which the car has been homologated.
Taking as its base the Clio 172, this special edition offers a finely honed sporting appearance inside and out, and a suspension and steering system modified for more incisive behaviour.
With weight reduced by 89kg - a reduction of 8% - following the removal of air-conditioning, ABS, side airbags and xenon headlamps, stowage drawer under the passenger seat, carpet covers, plus the use of thinner front door windows, a non-damped, non heat-reflective windscreen and two anti-puncture inflators in place of the full size spare wheel, Clio Cup offers unparalleled driving performance in the class, including a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds.
Apart from the saving in weight, the ABS has also been removed because it is not suited to competition use. The braking system has been redesigned to adapt to extreme conditions of use. The braking power is retained but the degree of assistance has been reduced to make it easier to apply progressive braking while driving to the limit.
The pursuit of lower weight and more fun will also delight bank managers as the Clio Renaultsport 172 Cup is priced at only £12,995. With a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds this makes it the fastest four-seater for under £20,000.
Last but certainly not least is the new Clio Renaultsport V6 255, on sale in Spring 2003. Showcasing the styling of the latest-generation Clio, the new Clio V6 is the hottest hatch ever, increasing its power output by 25bhp up to 255bhp, while reducing its 0-62mph time to under six seconds.
The new Clio V6 features a new chassis together with larger 18-inch OZ Superturismo wheels, and a 3-litre 24-valve V6 engine delivering 255bhp at 7,150rpm and 300Nm at 4,650rpm. The six-speed gearbox benefits from specific developments, including a shorter final drive, revised internal gear ratios and shorter selector movements. Full technical details, standard equipment and pricing for the Clio V6 255 will be announced closer to the on sale date.
All-in-all with these latest developments on one of the UK public's favourite cars the Clio looks set to continue out-Va-Va-Vooming its competitors in 2003.