New 2019 Renault Clio interior uncovered ahead of full Geneva reveal

The interior of the all-new Renault Clio supermini has a more premium feel, with soft-touch plastics throughout on all but base versions

This is the cabin of the all-new Renault Clio, revealed in official images a few weeks ahead of the car’s public debut at the Geneva Motor Show. 

The Clio is Europe’s best-selling supermini – and to ramp up the pressure on Renault further, the fourth generation of the car actually increased its sales every year since its launch in 2012, with 450,000 units shifted in 2018 alone, 365,000 of them in Europe.

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“We had so much to build on with the Mk5 Clio,” Renault’s head of design, Laurens Van den Acker told Auto Express. “It would have been a shame to throw it away. So we’ve focused on keeping what is good and changing what needed to be changed. In a way, we’ve aimed for the spaciousness and comfort of the Mk2 Clio, the performance of the third generation and the emotional style of the Mk4.

“So the exterior design is an evolution, but the interior is where we can make the most progress, so it’s a revolution. It’s the start of Renault’s interior design revolution, in fact.” 

The Clio has what Van den Acker calls a “more athletic, sporty interior” – which should feel more spacious and airy. This has been achieved by trimming away millimetres from interior components where possible. “As an example, we have a smaller steering wheel and a smaller steering wheel column,” Van den Acker explained. “This helps to free up a bit more knee room for the driver – up to 15mm more on one side, and 12mm on the other.” 

Expect a major step up in quality for the new model, with cushioned plastics in a number of key areas, including the door panels, on all but the base versions, to give the car a much more premium feel. Renault is also likely to ramp up the personalisation options, with a wider availability of leather upholstery across the range. The dashboard, in fact, is divided into three distinct areas – a padded upper panel, a lower section incorporating the glovebox, and a middle strip that is ripe for customisation by buyers.

At the heart of the Clio’s front cabin is its new infotainment system. There are likely to be a couple of different options in this area but the largest available display, 9.3 inches, is larger than even the biggest screen in Renault’s Espace MPV. It’s angled towards the driver and is also slightly curved. 

The Clio also switches to a digital instrument display, with either a seven-inch or 10-inch displays being offered and the larger of these capable of showing navigation information in between the rev-counter and speedometer. Even the smaller option will have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too. 

The Clio’s design team has retained conventional rotary controls for the air-conditioning and heating, however; they’re sited at the bottom of the central dashboard stack, beneath some neat ‘piano key’ buttons for the hazard lights and other functions. 

“Some companies have made a mistake by putting the HVAC [heating and ventilation] controls in the screen,” Van den Acker told us, clearly referencing Renault’s French rival PSA Peugeot-Citroen. “Nothing’s quite so simple as a button that allows you to change the temperature even with your eyes closed. The user experience is becoming a crucial component of cars in the future.” 

Renault has yet to reveal any technical data on the new model – it’s believed to be saving that for Geneva – but as Auto Express outlined last year, the car is the first model to move onto Renault-Nissan’s CMF-B platform. The engine line-up will be focused on petrol, with an evolution of the current car’s 0.9-litre unit, in a number of different power outputs, joined by a 1.3-litre motor that’s shared with the likes of the Mercedes A-Class and Nissan Qashqai. Renault’s 1.5-litre dCi engine is also likely to feature in the line-up.

There’s no official word on electrification but given that this Clio will be on sale until the middle of the next decade, it’s extremely probable that Renault will offer at least some variants using 48V mild hybrid technology. The Clio is less likely to follow its arch-rival the Peugeot 208 in offering full electrification – but then, Renault is already lining up a new generation of its ‘bespoke EV supermini’, the Zoe, to fulfil that brief. 

The new Clio is due on sale in the autumn. There’s no word on pricing yet but we’d expect a modest increase over the current model, to reflect the improved cabin and extra kit. That should give it a starting figure of around £14,000.

Do you like the look of the new Renault Clio’s interior? Let us know your thoughts below…

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