March 4, 2017
A look back at the Clio Mk1 (1991 – 1998) 0
When it was first launched at the Paris Motor Show back in 1990, the Renault Clio had big shoes to fill. Touted as the replacement for the Renault 5, which after a long successful life was finally being put out to pasture; its reputation as a national treasure secured (In fact – the Renault 5 actually continued to be sold for a further six years, going out of production in 1996).
Under the bonnet, the Clio was effectively just a Renault 5 in a different set of trousers. Available both in 1.2 and 1.4-litre E-type ‘energy’ petrol units, with 1.7 and 1.9-litre diesels also on sale. The petrol variants were on carbs to start with, but were eventually fitted with fuel injection two years after launch.
A sports version came out in 1991 that was powered by a 1.8-litre 16-valve 137PS engine; the Clio 16V had broader wings and wheel arches, upgraded suspension and brakes. The same year, the Clio was awarded European Car of the Year – taking the title ahead of the Nissan Primera and Opel Calibra.
The Clio had bigger fish to fry however; the title of ‘Best SuperMini’ was there for the taking. It accomplished this too with a certain degree of verve.
Despite its achievements, the thing the Clio will be best remembered for will be the infamous ‘Papa? Nicole!’ set of adverts.
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