Steering Wheel Wonderings

Steering Wheel Wonderings

Renault Clio Review

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Ever since the late 1940s, Renault’s range has featured an unbroken line of interesting small cars, of which the Clio has been one of the most successful.

More than 12 million have found homes and, along the way, the Clio has found and enjoyed a youthful, vibrant image.

Earlier variants of the Clio deserved that rep, too: being agile, neatly designed, compact, engineered for some dynamism and intelligently marketed.

But – and Renault wasn’t alone in this – during the mid 2000s, when the Clio III arrived, some of that purity was lost. The Clio became bigger and heavier, and went searching – with honourable intent – for more refinement and class, growing up with its customers.

With the extra refinement it found, however, it lost something, as did several of its peers during the past decade. Out went a bit of what Renault used to dub the ‘va-va-voom’.

Which brings us to Clio IV: it’s notably leaner and cleaner than its predecessor. It is also offered with a range of engines, including a frugal 0.9-litre three-cylinder TCe petrol engine and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel, and a decent range of kit.

Question is, has all of that reintroduced some of the joie de vivre? Let’s find out.

First impression? The new Clio is bold, make no mistake. Even though it is sculpted to appear much more lithe than its immediate ancestor, it still looks like a Clio to us. Even, we suspect, were it not wearing a Renault diamond the size of a dinner plate on its nose.

There are differences in proportion, though. Renault has made quite a big play of the fact that the wheelbase is longer than on Clio III (by 14mm, up to 2589mm) but while this is likely to have an effect on handling, it doesn’t help place the wheels closer to each corner, because overall length is up by 30mm.

With that too, though, has come an increase in track, a more steeply raked windscreen and a much lower height: at 1448mm, the latest Clio’s roof sits some 45mm closer to the ground than a Clio III’s.

All of which leaves it looking more dynamic. Renault also reckons that, model for model, the new car is some 100kg lighter than the old one. The Clio III did, in fairness, carry easy pounds to lose, but even so, at this level 100kg is not an amount to be sniffed at.

The range of new engines in the Clio reflects that of its rivals, catering for most tastes and requirements. The entry-level engine is a basic 1.2-litre 16V petrol unit. A modern turbocharged 0.9-litre three-pot TCe petrol is also offered, as well as an 89bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel.

All versions claim admirable levels of economy and efficiency, particularly if you choose the optional ECO derivatives of the diesel and TCe engines. These emit and consume less than the standard ones, although only by negligible amounts.

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Inside the Clio there's a generous amount of space and the cabin is of a particularly good size. It offers 10 per cent, or a couple of inches, more legroom than you’ll find in the average small hatch, and an inch or so of ‘extra value’ headroom for back seat travellers.

For relatively large adult passengers, in the context of this class, that could make an important difference. We can get on fine with a digital speedo, and appreciate the good-sized indicators and fuel gauge.

There’s the usual quantity of cabin storage but no especially neat or clever packaging solutions. Having added interior space to the Clio with its basic proportions, Renault’s focus was clearly on injecting colour and life into the cabin, and successfully so.

The most conservative choice is a black fascia with black cloth seats, but its attractive sculptural instruments, complemented by lots of gloss black and chrome accenting, lends it an air of technical style and sophistication.

Consumer electronics are an obvious inspiration here, just as they were for the Ford Fiesta. The difference is that, while the Ford’s cabin could have been penned by graduates from Nokia and Motorola, the Renault’s is one of the converged touchscreen design generation, with clearer nods to the likes of Apple, Samsung and HTC.

In terms of function, however, Renault’s R-link system needs some refinement. Postcode entry is still woefully limited, while map graphics on the satellite-navigation system look like they’re from a 1990’s games console, not a contemporary mass-market hatchback.

Material quality levels are fine, but again they don’t quite match that level of ambition. Most of the Clio’s background cabin plastics are ordinary in their look and feel. One or two loose, creaky trims even serve to remind us of Renault’s chequered track record on fit and finish.

There’s also a certain lack of attention to ergonomic detail. The engine start-stop button’s on the wrong side of the centre stack for right-hand drive, for example, and the cruise control button is in an unintuitive position by the handbrake.

Both peculiarities will be familiar to Renault owners, but on such an important car where progress has been made in other directions, this feels like a missed opportunity to remedy them.

There are three engine choices for the Clio. Buyers can pick from a basic 74bhp 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, a more powerful turbocharged three-cylinder TCe petrol or an 89bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel.

The mid-range engine option is a TCe unit, the conceit being that you’re getting 1.4-litre performance with greatly reduced fuel consumption, but that’s potentially a little misleading. We have, after all, tested other superminis of a similar displacement that are both faster and more efficient.

Nevertheless, it’s a good engine. Quiet, refined and responsive, its light-pressure delivery suits the Renault right down to the ground. The engine only really feels turbocharged at very low revs, otherwise it pulls cleanly and with stoutness through the mid-range while holding onto its power at high revs. it's also particularly smooth throughout. Ford’s EcoBoost triple may be more powerful, but it can’t match this Clio’s lack of noise and vibration.

The diesel engine is the more mature choice. It feels quicker than the figures suggest and it’s so quiet and refined that you’d struggle to tell it’s a diesel. Pleasantly, it’s also a tractable engine with a wide torque band, so you don’t have to work the gearbox as hard as you would in the petrol versions.

Admittedly the diesel does add 62kg to the kerb weight of the petrol model, leading to it feeling slightly less agile as a result. Those interested in maximum enjoyment should, consequently, stick to the zesty TCe option. There’s also a 1.2-litre engine carried over from the old model, producing 74bhp and 79lb ft of torque.

In all versions, the shift quality is light but well defined, and brake pedal feel is good. Overall, the Clio is an entirely pleasant device, peppy at times and quite suave at others, with the flexibility and polish to take mixed daily motoring duties in its stride, from motorway miles to cross-country backroads and the urban sprawl.

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The Clio habitually ranks at the sharp end of the class in this regard. It has never been short on verve, even at the cheaper end of the model scale. But for the Ford Fiesta, you’d probably call it the finest example of the zesty, engaging European small hatch – the sort that the Japanese, Koreans and now the Chinese have been seeking to reproduce for the past 30 years.

But the new one sets higher standards than its immediate forebear right across the board, from compliance to high-speed stability to ultimate grip and amusement value. As a driving machine it’s the most multi-talented and complete supermini to come out of France in a long time: certainly since the Citroën DS3 in 2009, and probably for a lot longer.

The way the Clio segues from remarkable rolling comfort at one moment to slick and engaging handling accuracy the next, marks it out as a work of real class. It’s a calmer customer than the Fiesta; slightly softer of spring and less tautly damped, its low speed ride is very quiet but also more absorptive than the Ford’s.

This means that, at higher speeds, there’s a little more body movement in the Clio. But when that does materialise, and the road surface conspires to test the Renault’s mettle, excellent damper tuning and first-rate bump isolation combine to produce fluent body control and an unusually silken ride in one so small.

Indeed, on an urban test route the Renault feels well refined and able to glide over road defects in a manner more normally suited to a much larger car.

The steering wheel is quite large and it feels a little over-assisted at low speeds. But as you accelerate, so that power assistance ramps down. Ultimately, it allows a well paced, well weighted system to present that, although it isn’t very informative, does feel natural, if a little light in places.

Lean on the suspension and it firms up in trustworthy proportion, keeping control of the body and working the tyres just hard enough to produce plenty of grip and a consistent steering response.

An effective balance of dynamic virtues is what we look for in a good-handling hatchback, and the Clio’s balance of comfort and sporting brio is every bit as striking as its chic new clothes.

Renault has taken a deliberate step forwards with the new Clio; one that the car-buying public and rest of the car industry can’t fail to notice.

This pretty five-door is a statement of intent from a company keen to inject much-needed style, personality, usability and dynamism into its showrooms; it’s a blow landed on behalf of beleaguered Europe in a market where the far eastern powers have been making most of the gains of late. And it’s a resounding piece of work.

The Verdict:

Positives

  • Distinctive styling
  • Sophisticated ride and handling
  • Good-sized, attractive cabin

Negatives

  • Undistinguished performance
  • Average interior finish
  • Unremarkable economy from petrol models

Are you interested in knowing the price of a Renault Clio and in South Africa? Contact Renault Western Cape or visit their website at www.group1renault.co.za.

Renault Captur review

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Renault calls the Captur ‘an urban crossover’, though in industry parlance it’s a ‘B-segment crossover’.

The manufacturer’s planners are predicting that EU sales of such crossovers will leap from 257,000 units in 2012 to just short of 500,000 in 2013, taking a healthy 14 per cent slice of the supermini market. They also expect the Captur to become the brand’s second best-seller in UK.

In the flesh, the Captur is certainly an eye-catching car. Go for the duo-tone roof and body option and the car stands out even more, partly because the contrasting colour extends to the A-pillars. It’s all the more striking with the exterior trim Gloss Pack fitted around the fog lights and to the sills and grille.

There are 24 exterior colour combinations along with three matching interior and exterior trim packs, called ‘Arizona’, ‘Miami’ and ‘Manhattan’. There also also three different roof decals.

The Captur is based on the same new-generation platform as the Clio estate, although it has been modified with a wider track. It is quite compact, measuring just 4.1m in length and 1.53m high, including a useful 200mm of ground clearance. The decent 2.6m-long wheelbase works with a 60/40 split rear bench seat that also slides to allow up to 215mm of kneeroom.

Inside, the fresh-looking dash plastics are finished in a modern dimple pattern and there are some usefully deep cubby holes in the centre console. Renault has also patented the removable seat covers.

With the sliding rear seat set right back, you get a reasonable 377-litre boot, extending to a healthy 455 litres with the bench slid fully forward. There’s also a double-sided (carpet and rubber) hard boot floor that splits the rear luggage space and creates a substantial – and hidden – storage space.

Renault offers the Captur with its new, sweet and punchy small petrol turbo engine, which drives through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 120bhp unit has the legs for twisting hill roads while proving to be very smooth on the motorways. The engine is a good match for the company’s new dual-clutch ’box, which was almost complete viceless unless you stamped on the accelerator.

The 90bhp dCI diesel engine is impressively refined, although it becomes vocal in town on a trailing throttle and on long uphill roads, the driver needs to stay on the ball and drop down a ratio to keep the car’s speed up. It can manage a relaxed relaxed 12.6sec 0-62mph time but the upside is a claimed combined economy of 76.4mpg, which should mean nearly 60mpg in the real world.

Certainly, the Captur isn’t going to whet the appetite of the keen driver. It has lightly weighted controls and is easy to punt around. That said, it could be made to flow along rather nicely on French A-roads.

However, the big flaw facing this car’s translation to the UK is the ride on very poor surfaces. While it would glide along on smooth roads, on patches of typical French A-road, where it encountered broken surfaces, the wheels crashed and pattered to a surprising degree.

The Captur is very much a style and lifestyle statement. You’ll find similar interior versatility in an MPV, but the Captur is much more about showmanship and the ability to completely customise the car inside.

Buyers are also given some strong practical reasons to buy the car. Renault offers a comprehensive ownership package including a four-year warranty, four years’ servicing and four years’ roadside cover.

Overall, the Renault Captur is not a captivating driving experience, but that’s not the point. Its style, freshness, value (compared to, say, Mini’s line-up) and overall buying package should ensure that it is a success.

If you are looking for your own Renault Captur and you are situated in South Africa – be sure to contact Group 1 Renault today!

Source: https://bonjourrenault.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/renault-captur-review/

Looking good from every angle: The All New Renault Kadjar - Full Review

Renault's new Renault KADJAR crossover SUV meets the increasing demand from customers for an SUV that isn't out of place in the city. The vehicle meets the brief completely as it has rugged yet modern styling and is compact enough to navigate tight streets with ease.

https://youtu.be/7V5ei6kQatA

The new Kadjar is launching in South Africa right now. Swing by a reputable dealer such as Group 1 Renault and Test Drive the Renault Kadjar.

Source: https://bonjourrenault.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/looking-good-from-every-angle-the-all-new-renault-kadjar-full-review/

2016 Renault Duster Launched with New Look

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The Duster was invented with the European market in mind, but it's played a crucial role in developing markets like Russia, India or Brazil. The Clio-based crossover is probably the most popular and profitable car Renault has got, so it's not surprising updates are frequent.


Renault Brazil has just revealed its 2016 Duster model, which appears to have a new set of cosmetic touches. From the front, we notice a new silver bumper insert at the bottom, a different grille to the 2014 Duster facelift and tinted headlights with LED accents.


At the back, the 2016 Duster has similar changes, so we quickly move our attention to the interior. There, the door panels are said to have been revised with much better materials. The instrument cluster has new lighting, and the Media NAV Evolution brings upscale touches by integrating GPS navigation and real-time traffic information for major Brazilian cities.


The 2016 updates were brought about as an answer to the launch of the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade in Brazil. Renault engineers have worked with both engines available on the Duster to increase power output slightly while reducing fuel consumption.


The base unit is a 115 hp 1.6-liter petrol available only with a 5-speed manual on the Dynamique and Expression trim levels. Renault follows this up with a 2-liter 16-valve unit which is mated to either a 6-speed manual or an optional 4-speed automatic. The unit delivers 148 hp and 18.1 kilogram-force meter (177.5 Nm) of torque on ethanol, or 142 hp and 17.1 kgfm (168 Nm) on gasoline.


Editor's note: our sources within the French automaker say a new Duster will come out by 2017 and will be visibly larger, but the Brazilians will keep this one for the foreseeable future.


New international models always take some time to reach other countries, so if you are looking for a 2016 Renault Duster in South Africa, contact a reputable dealer, such as Group 1 Renault.


Found on: http://devotedtorenaultautomobiles.weebly.com/blog/2016-renault-duster-launched-with-new-look



New Renault Duster: Revamped, revitalised


WINNING FORMULA: Renault builds on the local success of it Duster with design and interior tweaks as well as revised diesel engine. Image: Wheels24 / Sergio Davids ~ Wheels24

• More than 8000 units sold in SA

• New production factory in Romania

• Revised diesel engine

• Revised exterior and interior

Revamped and revitalised, Renault's facelifted Duster has arrived in South Africa. Enhanced inside and out, Renault builds on the local success of its Duster with refreshed styling, new features and improved turbo diesel.


LOCAL SUCCESS

Since its launch in 2013, Renault has sold more than 1.3-million globally and 8000 units locally.

According to Renault: "The first Renault model designed to meet stringent European standards - yet be capable of conquering international markets where usage and road conditions are considerably more rugged - two years down the track, Duster continues to be a formidable contender in South Africa’s B-SUV segment."

The Renault Duster line-up remains unchanged; two specification levels (expression and dynamique), two engine options (petrol and diesel) and two variants (4x2 and 4x4)

The 1.6 normally aspirated petrol (Expression and Dynamique 4x2) is capable of 75kW/148Nm and is mated to a five-speed manual. Fuel consumption is rated at 7.6 litres/100km with emissions of 181g/km.

The 1.5 dCi turbo diesel engine (Dynamique 4x2 and 4x4 models) is capable of 80kW/240Nm. The revised diesel outperforms its predecessor in terms in terms of fuel efficiency, with a claimed consumption of 4.8 litres/100km (down from 5.5 litres/100km) with emissions of 127g/km (4x2) and 135g/km in 4x4 guise.


What's new

• Two chromed horizontal grille strips (instead of three) and re-designed Renault diamond logo

• Less chromed trim at the front

• New roof bars with Duster moniker etched into the aluminium insets.

• Body coloured side-mirrors

• New alloy rims.

• Parking distance control (standard)

• Patterned fabric replaces plain seat and door panel design.

• 7" touchscreen satnav (Dynamique variants only)

• Cruise control now standard

• Leather trim and seat optional on all three derivatives


HOW FRUGAL IS IT?

Sure the new diesel is refined with, Renault says, reduced consumption but can it walk the talk? Renault SA pitted journalists against each other in its Duster eco challenge (part time-trial, part economy run). In reality, it was more akin to a 300km off-road rally as we took on tar and dirt roads throughout Parys.

During the run I kept an eye on the fuel gauge throughout, while my navigator observed a stopwatch to make sure we reached our check points on time.

I achieved 4.8 litres/100km but due to time penalties was relegated to second place. The winner achieved 5.03 litres/100km without receiving a single penalty.

Overall, an impressive improvement by Renault.


WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?

Only 4x4s are equipped with traction control, a feature desperately needed in 4x2 variants, especially for those hoping to tackle mild off-road terrain.

The Duster is unsettled by poor terrain with plenty of driver input needed at moderate speed. It's a pity since the 4x4 is very capable and Renault has identified its 4x2 as its most popular derivative. Perhaps Renault can include traction control as a future upgrade.

Other faults include a lack of refinement at high speeds.


ROMANIAN-BUILT FRENCH SUV

Production of the 2015 Duster has been moved from Chennai, India to Pitesti in Romania and is now manufactured at the same factory as its Sandero sibling.

Product manager at Renault SA Jeffrey Allison said: “Moving production to Pitesti provides us with the opportunity to refresh Duster within a sharper turnaround time - good for the brand and good for our customers here in SA."


OVERALL

The Duster is a bargain compared to other SUVs with similar talents. It’s not perfect but if you’re looking for space and practicality, the Duster could be the car for you. If you're in need of a something more upmarket you could consider the Renault Captur.

The Renault Duster takes on the likes of Nissan Juke and Ford EcoSport in South Africa.

The Duster is sold with a five-year or 150 000km mechanical warranty, a three-year or 45 000km service plan (service intervals at 15 000km) and a six-year anti-corrosion warranty.


Pop into a reputable Renault approved dealer, such as the new Group 1 Renault dealership in Stellenbosch and take this baby for a test drive!


Original Source: http://www.wheels24.co.za/Wheels4Women/CarCandy/New-Renault-Duster-in-SA-Revamped-revitalised-20150820