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My, how you’ve grown

Renault clio, car news
There are times when it’s good to take a look back to see how far you’ve come. This is one of those times. By Wayne Batty.
New money is worth just as much as ‘old money’ and new brands stand as good a chance to succeed as established ones – no argument. But a product with heritage certainly makes it more Interesting. Ferrari and McLaren may be able to go the full ten rounds in today’s slick showrooms, but there’s no doubt whose back catalogue will keep you entertained for longer. Heritage isn’t essential, but it is important.
Trawling through a global news site recently I spotted a picture celebrating 25 years of the Clio in the UK and wondered how long the little Renault had been a part of our motoring scene. It turns out we’ve been able to buy them since 1999, which makes it 17 years now. The difference being Renault South Africa only started its Clio story with the second generation model.
It made a strong impression on me back then, especially after it was voted SA’s car of the year in 2000. But even the first-gen Clio has heritage as it was designed as a direct replacement for the Renault 5, first launched in 1972.
My gran owned a bronze hued 1.3-litre in Durban in the early ’80s. A little research revealed hers was locally assembled in a Toyota facility in Durban. It got me thinking about how much has changed since 1972. For starters, the 5 weighed around 780kg and generated 47kW from its 1289cc engine. Our fourth-gen Clio produces 87kW (and feels peppier by the day) but still has 1 079kg to lug around. The Renault 5 hit 100kph in 15.6sec and topped out at 156kph versus our 1.2-litre turbo’s figures of 9.2sec and 199kph.
As far as fuel consumption is concerned the Five used around 7.6ℓ/100km, which is a little more than the actual figure we’ve averaged over the last 7 500km. officially we should be getting 5.4 – never goanna happen.
Overall length has mushroomed by half a meter  from 3521mm to 4063mm but the two wheelbases are separated by a mere 161mm. You can blame pedestrian impact regulations for that one. Still, you can bet the Five wouldn’t get the Clio’s five star NCAP rating either. As  I said, the cold hard facts about a new car tend to be much more interesting when you know a little about where they’ve come from.
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