It has been 25 years since Renault launched its all-new supermini for the 1990s and the Clio made its official debut in the UK on 29th of March 1991.
Renault’s small hatchback has caught the public’s attention pretty quickly and it has proved to be a real success with over 13 million units sold around the world so far since its launch, with more than 1.2 million deliveries to the British customers. Clio has also been a solid contender in recent years for the top of the European subcompact segment, just behind the Ford Fiesta.
The Clio story begins in 1990, in October at the Paris Motor Show, with its debut as a replacement for the popular Renault 5. Clio, taken from a Greek word meaning ‘made or to make famous’, arrived in the UK on 29th of March 1991 having already scooped the prestigious European Car of the Year award. In Britain, the range started with the RL 1.2 3-door version at £7,190, and rose to the RT 1.4 five-door at £8,980, for sales to reach to 21,124 units that year. Another 34,701 were sold in the first full year of UK sales in 1992. A ‘phase 2’ model emerged in 1994 with minor styling changes, followed by the ‘phase 3’ in 1996, with 1997 being the final year of Clio I production.
The Clio II had a tough act to follow in 1998, given that Clio I had been in the UK top 10 sellers chart for the previous five years in a row, and 2002 saw the second generation achieve its UK highest sales volume at 86,337. The Clio III made its debut at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show and won again the European Car of the Year for 2006, making the model the first car to win the coveted prize twice. The Clio IV was the first all-new Clio to be designed under the watch of Renault’s current Head of Design, Laurens van den Acker and it was unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.