The Renault Clio III has been voted Car of the Year 2006 by a jury of 58 motoring journalists from 22 European countries.

The Clio III scored 256 points, ahead of the VW Passat (251 points) and the Alfa Romeo 159 (212 points). A total of 28 new models were in the running for the Car of the Year 2006 award.

Boasting an expressive design, Clio III has redefined the standards of the small-car segment with record cabin space, top roadholding qualities and a remarkable level of fit and finish. Clio III won five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, underlining Renault’s lead in safety.

Clio III went on sale across Europe in mid-October. The car has enjoyed an enthusiastic reception and initial sales figures are very encouraging.

This is the sixth time Renault has won the prestigious Car of the Year award. The Renault 16 was the winner in 1966, followed by the Renault 9 in 1982, Clio I in 1991, Mégane Scénic in 1997, and Mégane II in 2003.

The award augurs well for the Clio III programme as a whole, ahead of the upcoming launch of Clio Renaultsport and new engines, transmissions and trim levels.