There’s a new Clio on the way. We play spot the difference.
This very much a case of incremental change. Autocar reports “The Clio 5 is the first Renault to be built on the group’s CMF-B platform. At 4048mm long, it is 14mm shorter than before, with a 6mm-shorter wheelbase and a roof that’s up to 30mm lower. The body-in-white is 22kg lighter.” The question is whether one can really call this a new car or merely a very thorough revision in the mode of the Opel Corsa. a and the Ford Fiesta.
You can see from the marked-up images that this is a remix rather than a whole new song.
Turning to the rear, if you look at the above photo you can see some sculpting around the DLO. That’s articulation, I suppose.
The new and old front end are especially hard to distinguish. This is what you’d expect from a mid-cycle facelift not a claimed new model on a new platform.
At the back of all this is the fact that customers like the Clio’s looks and that the action in cars is on the inside. All that new technology and connectivity needs a new housing.
So it is really only when one opens the new, bigger, chunkier handles (now angled a bit) that one finds the biggest changes. Renault have reworked the interior. Here is the old one:
The new interior has a dramatically simpler set of forms: it’s very horizontal; the fun not-quite-oblong of the centre console is gone; there are new door skins; round vents are replaced by very VW-like units. Premium is the claim, meaning the real difference is probably going to be to do with the plastics and fitting concepts.
From a geometry point of view, the new forms could plausibly be described as Polo-chasing. It’s all very sober and serious. It’s a pity premium always means serious and sober. It’s not that I want design chaos so much as an imaginative take on good design principles. At first glance, this interior tends towards autopilot (though undoubtedly very good designers sweated a lot over every square centimetre).
In summary, this Clio does pretty much what the old one does. Given the dimensional similarities, the car is indeed another comprehensive face-lift and not a new car whatever they may call the platform. And in a way this strategy makes sense. People spend their time inside the car; digital tech changes quickly and there is more emphasis on the quality of interiors than the styled shell it is all wrapped up in.
So, will this be a case of a repetition of the 5 to SuperCinq experience? Or a clever allocation of design resources?