The Clio is back to show what Renault fine-tuned on the F1 race track
Renault's funky wee Clio is set to make a return to the Kiwi market. The little French-bred hatch was officially sold here last in 2010.
Renault's Ben Montgomery confirmed exclusively to Driven that the Clio would be going on sale in the second half of this year - both in standard family hatch form, and in the Renault Sport RS200 version.
The news comes at an interesting time, with Peugeot distributor Sime Darby recently picking up the Citroen brand. Its Chrysler distribution rights have been given to former Citroen distributor Ateco, which also handles Ferrari and Maserati here.
Industry shuffling aside, the Clio will be competitively priced compared to the last version sold here, which will put it in good stead against small hatches from more than just the other French brands sold here.
"An important part of Renault's growth strategy in NZ will be from the new Clio," says Montgomery. "It also represents a crucial role in defining 'Renault Sport' technology. We have started that process with the fastest front wheel drive, Megane RS265, but the RS200 represents the next logical step.
"Renault are currently providing 36 per cent of the F1 grid with engines and for me these cars are where race meets road."
The RS265 Megane, tested last year by Driven, has won accolades around the world, and the Clio makes a worthy smaller stablemate to the company's line-up.
Standard Clios - which boast dual clutch automatic gearboxes - will be sold with a five-year warranty and the RS version will get three-year coverage. Montgomery promises all Clio models will be competitively priced and well specified "against its Euro competitors. New Clio represents a five-door family car with the glamour of a three-door, and the Clio RS is the natural extension of our Renault Sport range and connects well to our activity in Formula 1.
"In the longer term, there is plenty of opportunity with some of the great new models and concepts we have been seeing from Renault."