Renault has released details of its third generation Clio III which will go on sale in Europe in August.

Right hand drive UK sales begin with three-door models on 15 October with the five-door following in January 2006. Over 75% of Clios sold in the UK are the three door.

Over 8.5 million Clios have been produced since 1991 - four million Clio I and 4.5 million Clio II since 1998.

However it's not the end of Clio II. In the same way the '91 Clio did not entirely displace its 5 predecessor until 1996, Renault will continue to produce and sell the current Clio in special edition Rush and Extreme 4 versions for the whole of 2006 as an entry level model.

The third generation car is bigger and roomier at 3.99m long and is based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance-developed B platform with suspension 'inspired' by that of the Mégane II.

From launch, Clio III will have the expected mix of petrol and Euro 4-compliant common rail diesel engines. The petrol motors are a 1.2-litre 16V (75hp), a 1.4-litre 16V (98hp) and a 1.6-litre 16V (113hp) unit, while the 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine comes in a choice of three power outputs: 70hp, 86hp and 106hp. The list of available transmission options for Clio III is the same as for the Modus mini-minivan (also built on the B platform) and includes a six speed manual on the most powerful dCi 106. For the first time a robotised "quick-shift" gearbox operated by paddles located behind the steering wheel will also be available.

Standard safety equipment includes generation 8 Bosch ABS plus electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA).

The new car is also available with electronic stability control (ESP) incorporating ASR traction control, understeer control and MSR engine torque overrun regulation.

Along with the Modus, Clio III is the first car in its segment to offer additional cornering headlamps, while double distance xenon headlamps are also available for enhanced night visibility.

Renault's third-generation System for Restraint and Protection includes up to eight airbags, including two adaptive front airbags complete with load limiter and double pretensioners for the front seats.

Servicing intervals are every 18,000 miles for petrol-engined versions and every 12,000 miles for diesel-powered cars.

The total renewal of Renault's small car line-up - which began with the Modus last year and will finish with a new Twingo in 2007 - has led to the establishment of a new manufacturing structure that sees each of its production sites (Flins and Bursa, plus Dieppe for the Renault Sport version due in the second half of 2006) given over to a single type of vehicle.

The total programme outlay for Clio III was €953 million, of which €630 million represented production-related investment.






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