While Renault continues to blaze a trail towards zero-emission motoring with the launch of its Z.E. (Zero Emission) range next year, the company is still working to reduce the environmental impact of its current range. The latest development to emerge from the environmentally-aware French marque is Renault's least polluting production car ever - a diesel-powered Renault Clio emitting just 98 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
Previewed earlier at the 2010 Brussels motor show, the new 1.5-litre dCi 86 Renault eco² versions of the three-door Extreme and five-door Expression, are now available to order in the UK, priced from £12,690.
Offering not just 'reduced guilt' motoring due to their lower emissions, but with a remarkable 76.3 mpg achievable on the combined cycle, the fuel-sipping new Renault Clio promises a theoretical range of 923 miles, enough to get you the 456 miles from London to Lyon and back again, with fuel to spare.
As demonstrated by its eco² programme, Renault believes it is essential to ensure that the most effective technologies are available to as many motorists as possible at an affordable price.
As a result, unlike all of its current rivals, which can charge up to £1,000 extra, or more, for their more environmentally-friendly versions than an equivalently specified model in the same range, the new low-emission Renault Clio will sell for exactly the same price as today's dCi 86 engine emitting 115 grams CO2 per kilometre. Firmly in the Renault Clio's sights will be three of Britain's best-selling superminis, the Ford Fiesta Econetic, Peugeot 207 Economique and Vauxhall Corsa ecoFlex, costing between £500 and £1,050 more than their higher emitting equivalents.
The new models will not just be kinder to the planet, they will also appeal to cost-conscious buyers thanks to zero Vehicle Excise Duty, and for fleet customers, a particularly attractive 100% capital write-down allowance and low benefit-in-kind rating of only 13%.
A series of engineering improvements to the Renault Clio's bodywork and 1.5 dCi 86 engine have resulted in an impressive 17 gram CO2 reduction compared to the current model, and a 19% improvement in fuel economy, or 12.1 mpg, to 76.3 on the combined cycle.
Renault's engineers focused particularly on fine-tuning the dCi 86 powerplant in order to achieve the greatest possible improvement in CO2 emissions levels, without unduly affecting performance.
The reduction of 17g/km has been achieved without any impact on driving pleasure, comfort or noise levels, in part, due to several aerodynamic aids:
These aerodynamic improvements have had no adverse effect on the Renault Clio's looks, and have notably been achieved without calling on unsightly solutions such as rear lip spoilers or full disc wheel trims.
Taken together, these changes bring about a drag co-efficient improvement, down from 0.725 to 0.69. Rounding off the comprehensive range of modifications, is a set of reduced rolling resistance Michelin 185x60 R15 low energy consumption tyres.
The new fuel-sipping versions are available as a three-door Renault Clio Extreme eco² and five-door Expression eco². As a result, the two models don't skimp on equipment to keep either the car's weight, or price, down. The specification on each model includes 4x20W RDS radio CD with fingertip remote control, front fog lights and electric front windows.
Like the current Renault Clio Extreme and Expression versions, several options are available, including 15" alloy wheels and fully integrated Carminat TomTom satellite navigation.
|Version||CO2 g/km||Combined mpg||Insurance Group||OTR Price|
|Extreme eco² 3-door dCi 86||98||76.3||12E||£12,690|
|Extreme eco² 3-door dCi 86 A/C||98||76.3||12E||£13,255|
|Expression eco² 5-door dCi 86||98||76.3||12E||£13,290|
|Expression eco² 5-door dCi 86 A/C||98||76.3||12E||£13,855|
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