Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Renault Clio (sold as the Renault Lutecia in Japan) is a supermini-class car built by Renault in France and introduced in late 1990 (UK: 1991). The Clio largely replaced the Renault 5 (built until 1996). It has seen substantial sales and critical success, helping to improve the marque's reputation. The car was facelifted in 1995 and an all-new Clio appeared in 1999, again facelifted in 2001. Another new Clio is expected in 2005. Its primary competition in Europe comes from the VW Polo and Fiat Punto.
A four-door sedan is sold in some markets in Latin America as the Nissan Platina. In markets where the four-door carries a Renault badge, it is known as the Renault Clio Symbol or Renault Thalia .
The engine range available at launch included 1.2 L, 1.4 L, and 1.6 L petrol engines and a 1.9 L diesel. The petrol engines all received fuel injection in place of the carburettors in 1992, in order to conform to new pollutant emission regulations. During 1991 a 1.8 L 16-valve engine capable of propelling the car to 125 mph was introduced.
It was the first Renault to be consistently in the top-10 sellers' charts in the UK, helped by an inventive television advertising campaign by Publicis shot in France, featuring two main characters, Nicole and Papa. The commercials generally featured two words or so. The Clio was voted European Car of the Year for 1991.
In 1993, the Clio Williams was launched, named after the then Renault-powered Formula One team WilliamsF1. It had a 2.0 L 16-valve engine with 110 kW (150 bhp DIN) and a top speed of more than 217 km/h (135 mph), with performance-tuned ride and handling.
The second generation of the Clio was launched in the spring of 1998 in an all-new format. Its styling was slightly bulbous, but the Clio remained a competent supermini. The engine line-up was similar to before, with 1.2 L, 1.4 L and 1.6 L petrol engines, this time with 16 valve heads, and a 1.9 L diesel.
In 1999 Renault launched the Clio RS (short for Renault Sport), named Sport Clio 172 in the UK, with a 2.0 L 16-valve engine and a top speed of nearly 225 km/h (140 mph). The exotic Sport Clio V6 places a 254 bhp 3.0 L V6 engine sourced from the Renault Laguna in the rear and has a top speed of around 150 mph. This car is meant to compete with the 180 bhp RS version of Peugeot 206 in the market, although there have been calls to outlaw such muscular subcompact cars due to their extremely hazardous handling.
A facelift in the spring of 2001 saw the exterior restyled, the interior quality improved and a 1.5 L direct-injection diesel engine added.
The replacement for the Clio will be based on the chassis of the Nissan Micra, which has been in production for two years at Sunderland in England.
It is expected to receive a 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating, joining the rest of Renault's family of top-rated consumer motors at the top of the safety pile.
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