The Renault Clio is one of the UK’s best-loved cars and a consistent Top 10 best-seller so the unveiling today, Thursday 16 June 2005, of an all-new third generation model is of major significance to both Renault and the UK public who have bought a staggering 850,000 Clios since 1991. This third generation Clio III will go on sale in the UK initially as a three-door on 15 October 2005 with the five-door following in January 2006. Over 75% of Clios sold in the UK are the three door emphasising the sporty Va Va Voom image of Clio.

A dedicated website – www.newclio.renault.co.uk – carries all the launch information and photographs of New Clio III. Full prices and specifications will be released in August and the order books will open at that time ready for deliveries to begin in October.

Over 8.5 million Clios have been produced since 1991, four million Clio I and 4.5 million Clio II since 1998 and has always been one of Europe’s top three selling superminis. Clio III is in the spirit of Clio II – the original “small car with big car refinement” wrapped up in a new dynamic, elegant and spacious body.

However it’s not the end of Clio II as Renault will continue to produce and sell the current Clio in special edition Rush and Extreme 4 versions for the whole of 2006 as an entry level model under new Clio III.

Following the launch of the five door Modus supermini in 2004, Renault continues the renewal and development of its B-segment range with Clio III. The new car marks the beginning of a new chapter of the Clio story, which has continued to ride a wave of success ever since its debut 14 years ago. The third generation of this market-leading model stands out as a new benchmark in its segment, bigger and roomier but Clio III continues to place the emphasis on driving pleasure thanks to its dynamic handling and high level of comfort, as well as offering a further illustration of Renault’s expertise in the critical realm of safety where Renault leads the field.

Clio III’s soft, sensual lines highlight the car’s dynamism and hint at driving pleasure. The warm and carefully finished interior takes up to five people in comfort and is among the most spacious in the class with a light and airy feel for which Renaults are renowned.

With a length of 3.99m, Clio III is not only bigger but it also ensures exceptional interior space for passengers, both in three- and five-door format. A sense of well being is further enhanced by the brightness of the cabin interior that reinforces a sensation of roominess previously unseen in this category. The driving position and user-friendly controls contribute to making the driver feel perfectly at ease. Numerous other comfort and safety features are also available, some of which – including the hands-free card for unlocking and ignition – are totally new in this segment.

Based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance-developed B platform, Clio III was made for driving. Its suspension takes its inspiration from that of Mégane II, while the new model’s handling is well balanced due to its long wheelbase, wide track and low centre of gravity. The car’s outstanding chassis complements these fundamental features.

For its launch, Clio III will be available with a choice of state-of-the-art petrol and Euro 4 compliant common rail diesel engines. The petrol engine range comprises a 1.2-litre 16V (75hp), a 1.4-litre 16V (98hp) and a 1.6-litre 16V (113hp) unit, while the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine comes in a choice of three power outputs: 70hp, 86hp and 106hp. The list of available transmission options for Clio III is the same as for Modus and includes a six speed manual on the most powerful dCi 106. For the first time a robotised “quick-shift” gearbox commanded by paddles located behind the steering wheel will also be available.

Acoustic comfort, a key factor when it comes to driving pleasure and the quality of traveling comfort, was engineered into the car at a very early stage and this work places Clio III at the very top end of its segment.

In order to meet the target of excellence Clio III has set concerning safety, the new car benefits from Renault’s significant expertise on both the active and passive safety fronts. As with previous programmes, the intention is to obtain the highest standard in the class. Clio III is neutrally balanced in an emergency situation, easy to drive and boasts outstanding braking performance. It is delivered as standard with Generation 8 Bosch ABS plus electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA).

The new car is also available with the electronic stability programme (ESP) incorporating ASR traction control, understeer control and MSR engine torque overrun regulation.

Along with Modus, Clio III is the first car in its segment to offer additional cornering headlamps, while double distance xenon headlamps are also available for enhanced night visibility.

Clio III’s passive safety features stem from a particularly demanding brief that mirrors Renault’s commitment and expertise in this domain. The car’s structure includes a number of programmed deformation zones and has been designed to function with the occupant restraint equipment championed by Renault’s third-generation System for Restraint and Protection. This includes up to eight airbags, including two adaptive front airbags complete with load limiter and double pretensioners for the front seats

Clio III facilitates life for its owners. Servicing intervals are every 18,000 miles for petrol-engined versions and every 12,000 miles for diesel-powered cars. The high quality of its design and manufacture ensure built-in durability and low running costs. Clio III is also environmentally sound: some 95% of its weight is easily recyclable and its eco-design takes into account forthcoming restrictions concerning the use of heavy metals.

Renault is one of the principal players in the small car segment, a strategic sector that accounts for more than one-third of the European market (5 million vehicles). The total renewal of Renault’s small car line-up – which began with Modus and will finish with New Twingo in 2007 – has led to the establishment of a new manufacturing structure that sees each of its production sites (Flins and Bursa, plus Dieppe for the Renault Sport version due in the second half of 2006) given over to a single type of vehicle.

The total programme outlay for Clio III was 953 million Euros, of which 630 million Euros represented production- related investment.