are they trying to make mpvs out of everything?
Clio-based MPV Joins The Space Race
ouve heard of Renaults catchphrase Va Va Voom... well heres a clever Clio MPV with lots of Va Va Room! Hot on the heels of the Ford Fusion and Vauxhall Meriva comes Renaults assault on the mini-MPV market, and - as weve come to expect from the French company - the newcomer is suitably wacky.
Exclusive pictures in the current issue of Auto Express, created with the help of insiders, show how the new car - known internally as Cliospace - will look when it debuts at the 2004 Paris Motor Show.
Taking styling cues from the Ellypse concept unveiled at this years Paris event, the Cliospace features an odd bulbous windscreen in the mould of the Fiat Multipla, while a short nose and tall profile echo the appearance of the prototype. It will also use the concepts glass roof and vertical headlamps.
The Ellypses barn-style doors are replaced by conventional openings and a proper B-pillar. Inside, features such as the clever wafer-thin seats, which are as strong and comfortable as conventional items but take up half the space, will be carried over. The narrow chairs will be designed in a way that allows them to be folded virtually flat, while the rear ones can be removed entirely if desired.
Also taken from the Ellypse will be the stark dash, with the major controls centred round the steering wheel and only an LCD screen breaking up the plain facia. The keyless ignition system from the Laguna, Vel Satis, Avantime and Mégane will also appear, rendering metal keys totally redundant in Renaults range.
Beneath the controversial lines, the Cliospace shares the new Nissan Micras platform. The chassis will also underpin the next-generation Clio, set to appear before this MPV.
Power will come from a variety of engines, including 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol units based on those in the current Clio. The 1.5 dCi common-rail diesel will also feature, while a new ultra-frugal 1.2-litre oil-burner is on the cards. It wont arrive until 2005, but promises up to 80mpg and record low emission levels. Craig Cheetham