Renault Clio: A Passionate Response To What The Market Wants







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: September 14, 2012
Categories: Renault, Renault Clio

New Clio has been tailored to meet the demands and requirements of the market. the model’s inherent strengths will allow it to meet the challenge it can expect to face in almost 50 countries worldwide.

New Renault Clio 2012

The B Segment: A Sales Heavyweight

In Europe, where 13.5 million vehicles were sold in 2011, the B segment accounted for nearly 4.2 million vehicles, equivalent to 31 percent of the passenger car market. Within this relatively stable segment, which has accounted for between 30 and 33 percent of the market since 2005, hatchback models represent 75 percent of all sales.

Among these, five-door models dominate the passenger car market in Europe. in France, 94 percent of Clio IIIs sold in 2012 were five-door versions.

Customers From The B-Segment AND Above

Increasingly, b-segment vehicles are becoming the main household car, in other words a car that is expected to do everything. Customers consequently want it to include all the features associated with vehicles in higher segments. Customer analysis in the b segment shows that 60 percent of them are repeat buyers. However, 40 percent are newcomers to the segment. They are either buying a car for the first time, or are switching from a lower (A-segment) or higher class (C-segment). Today, the majority are downsizing from the C-segment. this proportion has increased by 37 percent in 10 years. However, fewer customers are stepping up from A-segment vehicles.

Close Attention Paid To Running Costs

It is one thing to build a product which meets the market’s expectations, but it is still vital to make sure the vehicle is competitive in terms of its running costs. New Clio addresses this demand, too, and the Energy dCi 90 version (83g of CO2/km) stands out as the market leader with regard to TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Fuel consumption and tax New Clio’s leadership in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions brings a double advantage in terms of tax and fuel savings.

Servicing

Renault’s new servicing policy sees the introduction of an annual service with alternate oil changes for new vehicles sold from 2012 in Europe (in almost all countries). With New Clio, the standard oil change interval is every 30,000km or two years, while the first service is scheduled for after 30,000km or one year. Outside Europe, servicing schedules are adjusted to suit each country’s road network and running conditions.

In the case of the tCe 90 and tCe 120 engines, the timing chain requires no maintenance. For the other engines available for New Clio, the timing belt is changed after six years or 150,000km. The rear brake drums require no servicing before 90,000km.

Insurance

New Renault Clio is positioned competitively in its class. In particular, progress has been made in terms of access to mechanical components and wear parts, servicing times for repairs, and the way certain components break down into separate elements. As much as possible, New Clio has been designed to ensure that only the minimum number of components must be changed in the event of an accident.

New Clio energy dCi 90: tCO champion

CO2 emissions (g/km) 83 Eco ‘subsidy’/’surcharge’ (in France) Subsidy:€550 Annual company vehicle tax €166 Combined-cycle fuel consumption (litres/100km)* 3.2 Fuel cost (over three years) €5,760 running costs** over three years €5,708 Monthly running costs** €159

*Homologated fuel consumption and emissions in compliance with applicable regulations. **Inclusive of tax and fuel (36 months/120,000km/diesel @ €1.50/litre)

Questions To Key Personnel Involved With The New Clio Programme in what ways does New Clio represent a step forward compared with Clio iii?

philippe Caillette (Deputy project Leader, New Clio): First, in terms of design: this was a key part of the project and we gave it a lot of attention. It’s all about taste, but we believe that New Clio’s emotional and dynamic design is something new in this segment. Feedback from customer clinics has led us to feel confident.

Next, in terms of perceived quality: from the beginning, the design of New Clio was a real team effort. However, turning it into reality was a tough collective challenge on the engineering and production fronts. In order to obtain the desired level of quality, we raised the bar in a number of areas. We made the shut lines tighter, incorporated plasma-welding for the roof, improved paint and varnish quality and reduced minor faults at the end of the production line by two thirds…

At the same time, New Clio takes innovation even further, including a major new feature – Renault R-Link – which brings numerous benefits in terms of its functions and modernity. As for fuel consumption, we set ourselves the target of being champions in terms of low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions with the most efficient versions in this respect.

Finally, I would add nimble handling. Clio III was already at a very high level, but New Clio has improved thanks to its more direct electric power steering.

What progress has been made in terms of fuel consumption and environmental performance between Clio iii and Clio iV?

Bernard Paintendre (Deputy range technical Director): The progress achieved with New Clio using the Energy 1.5 dCi engine is in the order of 30 percent in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, compared with the equivalent Clio III at the time of its launch in 2005. To break this down: 60 percent of the gain stems from engine developments and 40 percent from the rest of the vehicle. We worked on weight reduction, aerodynamic and friction improvements and the use of energy recovery under braking. The latter accounts for almost 18 percent of the total gain and involves generating energy during deceleration phases, that’s to say when the engine is consuming no fuel.

In addition to introducing clean-break technologies where they are appropriate, we have also worked on improving existing technologies. We do this in incremental steps in every area, whenever possible. For example, we improved the cooling of the turbo intercooler to improve its efficiency. This work is not always spectacular but is often very effective. As the saying goes, “From little acorns mighty oaks grow”.

At the time of its launch, New Clio stands out as the best internal combustion-engined vehicle in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, with credentials of 3.2 litres/100km and 83 g of CO2/km. How did you achieve these figures?

Jean-pierre riAL (engineer, engine synthesis): Renault seeks to produce vehicles that are affordable both to buy and run, along with the best possible environmental footprint. To achieve this, Renault has on the one hand chosen to develop a range of affordable zero-emission electric vehicles and, on the other hand, to step up its efforts to further improve its internal combustion-engined vehicles. Renault believes that the two go hand in hand.

This is why we are proud to have achieved combined-cycle figures of 3.2 litres/100km and 83g of CO2/km with New Clio. Not only does this make Renault the leading brand among manufacturers of the market’s most efficient cars, but it also makes New Clio a rival for more complex and expensive hybrid vehicles. In addition to gains achieved through the use of new technologies, we have focused on optimising the relationship between each element of the vehicle to improve fuel consumption. For example, engine combustion improvements enabled us to increase torque and therefore develop a gearbox with wider-spaced ratios.

This means we get all of the fuel consumption benefit from the improvements to the engine while at the same time contributing to even greater driveability. by taking this approach, we achieved an overall gain of more than 30 percent without detracting from the car’s excellent driveability. New Clio sees the introduction of the 898cc tCe 90, renault’s first three-cylinder engine. What benefits does it bring?

Jean-pierre riAL: The fuel consumption gain relative to the TCe 100 it replaces exceeds 20 percent. The three-cylinder format enables improvements in friction and cylinder filling through the resonance it creates. It also allows us to fit the turbine closer to the exhaust valves, which in turn reduces the distance travelled by the gases.

This means we recover more energy. In performance terms, we focused more on torque than specific power, and 90 percent of the torque is available from 1,650rpm. This boosts driveability in the most commonly used rev ranges. On the face of it, a displacement of 898cc looks surprising. However, when you’re behind the wheel, the TCe 90 performs and drives like a bigger engine. It also has an additional benefit: the sound it makes. When accelerating, the TCe 90 produces a note that recalls a six-cylinder engine, while the lack of vibrations at cruising speeds is highly appreciable.

For the past 22 years, renault Clio has been innovating and bringing its innovations to a wider range of motorists. to what extent is this approach a core aspect of renault’s savoir-faire?

philippe egermann (product Manager, New Clio): In reality, this approach goes back to the company’s roots, even though I wasn’t around then to see it… New Clio continues a long tradition of innovation in its segment.

Throughout its career, it has introduced important innovations to the b-segment, from electric windows and steering wheel-mounted audio controls, to airbags and the ‘baccara’, then ‘Initiale’ premium equipment levels. Not to mention its handling which has always been exceptional. Clio II was the first vehicle in its segment to be awarded a four-star EuroNCAP crash testing rating and Clio III was the first to achieve a five-star rating. Clio is also the only model to have been voted Car of the Year twice, and that pushed us to work even harder in terms of innovation this time round.

What were your priorities for New Clio in terms of its handling?

pascal Lier (Handling engineer): With New Clio, we basically focused on fine-tuning a chassis which was already widely acclaimed for its balance and dynamic qualities. Just as we did with the design,

we wanted to include more emotion and improve driving enjoyment. First of all, we worked to improve low-speed agility without compromising its excellent high-speed stability. With New Clio, the steering is more direct and more sensitive than on Clio III. It responds more quickly yet it is still progressive to give the driver confidence. This solution achieves both greater precision and good straight-line stability, while also being appreciably responsive when cornering. New Clio is safe and gives the driver plenty of warning. Its response is never abrupt, particularly in the event of very quick or exaggerated steering corrections.

in your opinion, what factors contribute most to the driving enjoyment of New renault Clio?

pascal Lier: Naturally, we worked on making all the key factors that influence driving experience as harmonious as possible. For example, the smoother gear shifts combine with the lightness of the other controls

– be it the clutch or brake pedal – to enhance driving enjoyment on the whole. At the same time, the new engines combine punch and energy efficiency better than ever. Without spoiling any surprises, our three-cylinder Energy TCe 90 engine combines its outstanding performance with a particularly pleasant engine note. While objective performance criteria in areas such as safety and fuel consumption are of primary importance for Renault, we never forget enjoyment. Achieving this in the case of a mass-produced model like New Clio is undoubtedly harder than it is for a more elitist car. but equally, it’s far more satisfying. And there are lots of us here who share that opinion.

More about the Renault Clio