The Renault Clio: From Its Creation to Today
The Renault Clio is known around the world as one the most successful and beloved hatchback cars on the market. Let’s take a brief look at the evolution of this efficient and stylish vehicle as it passed through different commercial and sporting iterations.
The very first, the Clio I
Renault is one of the oldest and most respected names in the automobile and auto parts industry. Over their more than 100 years of history, they have been responsible for creating a long series of impressive and stylish models, both in the realm of motorsports and for the general public. One of their most recent and beloved creations is the Renault Clio.
The Renault Clio made its debut in 1990 as a three-door hatchback (a car body with a rear door that allows access to a cargo area), and was immediately successful. Initially introduced with an engine utilising a conventional carburettor, the new fuel consumption standards of the early nineties gave rise to the use of a more traditional fuel injection system.
The Clio enjoyed commercial success from the very beginning, even being chosen as the European Car of the Year in 1991, shortly after first entering the market.
Updates and high-performance
The first change to the configuration of the Renault Clio didn’t take place until March 1994, when changes to the bumper, grille, and badge gave it a sleeker, more rounded design that provided the vehicle a slightly more modern air. Also important to mention is the creation of the “hot hatch,” high-performance model of the Clio, released in 1993. This version, while looking relatively close to the original, featured a more powerful engine and a luxurious interior.
It wasn’t until 1996, however, that Phase 3 of the standard Clio was released, supposing a more significant update to the already-successful Clio models. This involved a completely new engine, a 1,149 cc D7F Multi Point Injection engine, replacing the old 1.2 L Energy engine found in the Phase 2 model. It also included a series of aesthetic and safety improvements that further led to the car’s success in the European market.
The Clio Williams and Standard Models II – IV
Also in the year 1993, Renault decided to release another, limited-edition version of the hot-hatch Clio, known as the “Clio Williams.” Initially only produced in a batch of 3,800 vehicles, its wild success led to an almost-immediate selling out of stock and the creation of two more versions. The Clio Williams is known, to this day, as one of the highest-quality hot hatches of all time, and is highly prized by auto enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.
The next evolution of the standard Clio, the Clio II, didn’t reach the market until 1998, and featured a significantly different design and a number of innovations in materials and layout. In 2005, it was updated by the wildly-successful Clio III (voted European Car of the Year in 2006), a more expensive and differently-market iteration of the Clio that is almost too big to be classified as a “supermini” like its predecessors.
The newest Clio, the Clio IV, was launched in 2012 in Paris and nearly completes the evolution of the Clio line to “compact car” status.
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