Renault is launching some exciting electric cars during 2012, but the all-new Clio will be its most important model of the year. The fourth-generation supermini is due to make its official debut at the Paris motor show in September, and go on sale in November.
The Clio will have a more aggressive look than the Zoe EV, which is a similar size but will be available with an electric powertrain only. For the first time, the Clio is expected to be a five-door model only, even in high-performance Renaultsport Clio form. Styling tricks will create a three-door look.
Renault insiders say the front of the car is heavily influenced by the bold DeZir concept car. They have also hinted at much-improved interior quality.
The Clio will stick with conventional petrol and diesel engines, but the addition of engine stop-start systems should reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The updated Twingo will be the first model to carry Renaults new design identity.
New headlights, foglights and a new grille give the Twingo a more playful look. The rear has a curvier bumper, a new tailgate and new lights. There are also numerous options to personalise the car inside and out.
The engine line-up will remain the same as the current cars, with 1.2-litre petrols of either 75 or 99bhp to choose from. The Renaultsport version will have a 131bhp 1.6, as before. Prices could be slightly lower than the current models.
Renaults Zoe will be the cheapest mainstream electric vehicle on sale when the Clio-sized five-door hatchback arrives in October although whats expected to be a cheap on-sale price (around 12,000, or less than half the cost of a Nissan Leaf) will be offset by the need to lease the batteries at an extra cost of around 70 per month.
Weve driven a hand-built prototype and it was peppy, good fun and, of course, totally silent. Theres as much practicality as any modern supermini, with room for four and a decent boot.