The Renault Clio isn't well known in North America, but the fact that it's at least a familiar name should indicate just how significant it is in the rest of the world. These spy photos are the first look we've had of the new fifth-generation car, and it's been a long time coming. The current Clio dates back to 2012, so a proper redux of the popular hatchback is certainly timely, if not a touch overdue.
Unfortunately the car is still heavily covered up, not only with camouflage wrap but with fake body panels as well. We can see the general Clio shape is still a familiar one, but the headlights appear to sit a bit lower. As with the profile shape, the stubby Clio backside appears more or less the same, but there are certainly new tail lights and a redesigned rear fascia underneath the thick coverings.
Of more significance are the rumors we've heard about the tech that Renault will install on the new car. The company is expected to offer basic autonomous drive systems, which should certainly mean Level 1 functionality and possibly Level 2 hands-off capability. We've also heard a fully electric version of the Clio is coming, and that a digital cockpit could also be in the mix. These are things that we'd expect from luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz or Audi, but are unheard of in the Clio's realm of competition – namely the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.
We haven't heard anything yet on engine options. The current model has a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel mills and a single three-cylinder that are all hyper-efficient. For those seeking some excitement there's also the 1.6 turbo that hustles the Clio to 60 mph in under seven seconds. It's likely at least some of those engine options will carry over to the new car.
While this is our first look at the new Clio, we won't have to wait years for the final product. We're expecting the camo to come off for a debut in September at the Paris Motor Show.