New Clio is top Golden Steering Wheel small car

Just weeks after claiming the RTL/ Auto Plus Best Production Car prize at the October Paris Motor Show, the new Renault Clio has scooped the 2012 Golden Steering Wheel - an international award.

New Clio was named best Small Car by the Axel Springer Group’s weekly BILD am Sonntag, Germany’s best-selling Sunday publication, and AutoBILD, the world’s best-selling specialised automobile magazine. In addition to its European sister magazines, AutoBILD produces numerous local editions in eastern Europe and Asia. Total readership amounts to some 73 million, all of whom were invited to vote for their favourite model.

Now in its 37th year, the 2012 Gold Steering Wheel awards attracted 44 entries, being divided into six categories. In the MPV and coupé/cabriolet classes, the winners were decided directly by readers. In the four other categories, the final vote was preceded by an exhaustive road test of each of the five finalists.

Renault is a 10 time winner at the Golden Steering Wheel awards. This ranks it as one of the most successful car manufacturers in these prestigious awards. Previous models to have secured the prize are the Fuego coupé (in 1980 ), the compact Renault 9 (1981 ), the Renault 25 high-end saloon (1984 ), Clio (1990 ), the second, third, and fourth generation Espace (1991, 1997 and 2002 ), the compact Renault 19 (1992 ), the compact Scénic MPV (2009 ) and, now, the new Clio (2012 ).

There were a few reasons behind the praise for the new Clio. The vote by readers and by specialists mirrors the favourable welcome Renault’s latest styling identity has received from the public. The new Clio is the first model to feature Renault’s new design cues, the most notable of which is the prominently-positioned logo, along with the emotion generated by its sensuous curves and refined lines.

The new model's appeal is further enhanced by its range of smaller engines which have given rise to fuel consumption savings of up to 20 per cent over the predecessors. The most efficient engine in terms of low CO2 emissions is the turbocharged petrol Energy TCe 90 which returns fuel consumption of just 4.3 litres/100km, equivalent to CO2 emissions of 99g/km1.

With the diesel Energy dCi 90 eco under the bonnet, the new Clio has established a new fuel efficiency record for its class, with consumption of only 3.2 litres/100km, equivalent to 83g of CO2/km. These figures are comparable with those of significantly more expensive hybrid cars.

Thanks to its architecture, suspension, extended wheelbase and wider track, the chassis of the new Clio continues to stand out as a benchmark in its segment.

With a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating to its name, it is also the benchmark in terms of passive safety and obtained the best score in the city car class in three of the four parameters that are taken into account.

Another of Clio’s compelling features is its in-dash multimedia system which sets a new standard in the model’s segment. The Media NAV system comes with a seven-inch (18cm ) touchscreen display and is a standard fitment for 80 per cent of versions. It also incorporates a 4x20-watt audio system complete with the 'Bass Reflex System', plus comprehensive connectivity (Bluetooth, USB, jack ) which allows occupants to enjoy music stored on portable devices.

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