It sounds like “Clio” and shares every dimension with the Clio but Wolseley’s new small car contender is a design triumph, says Wolseley’s chief of design.
The resemblance is there right down to the very fact the Cleo vRS has a Wolseley badge perched on a diamond-shaped plinth on the car’s front grille. A similar diamond-recess on the rear boot holds the famed “W” symbol too. So, yes, it looks a bit like a Renault Clio. How shall we understand the design? “With this virtually unique car we have redefined the meaning of sporty practicality,” says Wolseley’s design chief Cristo Palumbo-Colombo. “It’s practical and sporty in a completely new way. It’s not compromised at all.”
Later he said “Every line is accurately placed and provokes in the viewer a sense of awed humility. Or an indefinable sense of joi de vivre – that is about the happiness of living, about satisfaction with one’s existence because every aspect of one’s life is so lovely. The Cleo’s stance is creative, surprising and original. The proportions can
be called nothing but impressive, demonstrative of utmost excellence. The surfaces are the best surfaces ever presented in this class of car as well. With the wheel arches we have take a quantum stepchange onwards with their extreme realism. Nobody’s wheel arches are as realistic as these. They are not so much realistic as actual. It’s a game-changer in the class.
There are four arches: two on each side. The front end and tail graphics are the purest impressionism, inspired by Monet with a touch of Pointilism around the flanges. For the roof surface we’ve worked to give it genuine smooth curvature that brings the viewer to a sublime realisation of its roofiness. Defined. By its relation to the front windscreen, side glass, pillars and rear screen, itself a masterpiece of powerful expressiveness. The lamps as well. They are ultimate, very ultimate.”
The Cleo will be available with a 1.0 litre L4 65 bhp petrol engine, and nine diesels from 1.3 litres to 2.3 litres. All have a manual or automatic transmission, rear wheel drive and leaf springs at the rear and double-wishbones at the front. All models over 1.6 litres will have discs all around.