In a clear preview of an upcoming addition to Renault's Clio range, the French automaker presented the attractive and interesting Clio Grand Tour Concept. Longer than the regular Clio III, the grand tourer is designed to appeal to drivers looking for the Clio's utility, but with a little more interior volume. When the three-door's rear seats are folded down, it can swallow up 45 cubic feet of cargo. With rear seat passengers in place, the hatchback can still carry 15+ cubic feet of stuff.
The rake of the rear hatch reminds us of the VW IROC concept, but the Renault's got a better face. The Comet Gold finish is accented by a pattern that's supposed to represent pixels (the car's interior has a photography and A/V theme), but truth be told, we at first mistook it for the checkered-flag motif Renault uses on some of its sportier models. In fact, the race theme would have fit on the Clio, as it's propelled by a 2.0L 200-horsepower four-banger. The six forward gears are engaged via a manual transmission, and the car's still apparently good for 33 mpg.
Show car elements abound, such as LED headlights, 19" wheels in back with 18"s in front, and the obviously non-production interior. The coolest element of all is found at the hatch opening out back, where a camera drawer stores photo equipment in a custom-fitted enclosure and a pull-out stool creates an instant workstation for shutterbugs who need to get thir pics transferred from card to laptop right away. Look for a more normalized version of this car in Renault dealers in the not-too-distant future.
RENAULT CLIO GRAND TOUR CONCEPT:
AN ALLURING, PRACTICAL AND DYNAMIC ESTATE
Offering a glimpse of developments to come in the Clio III range, Renault chose the Geneva Motor Show 2007 to take the wraps off of the Clio Grand Tour Concept. Making its world debut, this new showcar is designed to appeal to drivers seeking a dynamic, attractive small estate with a splash of classic grand tourer. For added driver appeal, Clio Grand Tour Concept is powered by a 2.0 16V 200hp petrol engine. The cabin is practical and comfortable, as well as bright – a perfect place for relaxing journeys. With its large, easy-to-load boot, Clio Grand Tour Concept is very much geared towards leisure activities. Developed around photographic and multi-media themes, the show car features a very high level of equipment including several benchmark electronic features.
A dynamic, purposeful presence
At 4.2 metres in length, Clio Grand Tour Concept will appeal to drivers who want a compact estate with the panache of a grand tourer. There is no mistaking its origin. Clio III's distinctive profile is easily visible, although the shape is enhanced by more pronounced curves. Fitted with bespoke side panels and a rakish tailgate topped by an aerofoil, Clio Grand Tour Concept fizzes with power and energy. The three-door bodyshell, roof bars, wider front and rear wings, sculpted sills, air ducts and rear diffuser underline its potency. At the front, a wide air intake grille cools the naturally aspirated 2.0 16V 200hp engine. The streamlined front lights house high-performance LEDs and the compact rear lights epitomise Clio Grand Tour Concept's no-nonsense character. The rear-view mirrors and bumpers are painted Comet Gold, like the bodywork. A subtle array of pixels can be picked out on the sides of the bodywork, suggesting the worlds of multimedia and photography. Hunched on aluminium wheels – 18-inch rims at the front, 19-inch at the rear – Clio Grand Tour Concept looks dynamic and purposeful.
A large, practical boot
Clio Grand Tour Concept's generous proportions will meet the needs of customers looking for a car that blends practicality and character. Its adaptable interior and longer rear overhang (bigger than that on a standard Clio III) combine to provide excellent load-carrying capacity. Clio Grand Tour Concept has an impressive 430-litre boot and the cargo area measures 1.7 metres in length. Svelte, individual seats with integral headrests offer comfort and good body support for up to four occupants. The rear seats fold easily to create a flat load area. In an instant, the Clio Grand Tour Concept transforms into a two-seater coupé – a 100% fun car with a 1,275-litre load capacity.
Comfort and driver appeal
Blending Clio III's remarkable roadholding and sheer driving pleasure, Clio Grand Tour Concept is a car for free spirits. Its dynamic attributes allow the naturally aspirated 2.0 16-valve engine to show its full potential. It's a flexible and powerful unit, offering 215Nm of torque at 5,500rpm and peak power of 200hp at 7,250rpm, for refined and responsive everyday driving. Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, it accelerates from 0-62 mph in just 7.2 seconds.
Underneath, Clio Grand Tour Concept is still a Clio – and that means it's supremely comfortable and easy to live with. The practical interior is perfect for relaxing journeys. The wide, panoramic glass roof creates a bright, airy ambience that highlights the generous cabin dimensions and large boot. The elegant dashboard incorporates a navigation screen and analogue/digital speedometer. A great deal of attention was paid to interior lighting. Yellow in tone – Renault's corporate colour – it gives the cabin a certain vibrancy, which echoes the car's entertaining character. The centre console, boot floor and door trims also disseminate streaks of yellow light.
Photography and multimedia
Step inside Clio Grand Tour Concept and you'll enter a world of photography and multimedia. The car is packed with cutting-edge technology from Samsung Electronics Co and nothing has been overlooked. Rear passengers can watch their favourite DVDs on screens incorporated within the front-seat headrests. During a fun weekend away, passengers can capture memorable moments on a 10 million pixel digital camera, or they can film their friends on a high-definition MP4 digital camcorder with 2Gb flash memory. A seat and a storage box with retractable drawers are located in the space beneath the boot floor. When the hatchback is wide open, a photographer can sit comfortably and transfer pictures or videos to a laptop computer which folds away into the wheel housing thanks to an articulated arm. With its impressive range of electronic equipment, Clio Grand Tour Concept isn't just the ideal mode of transport for a fun weekend away – it's the perfect means to make sure you won't forget it.