“The Clio 4 instrument cluster was rich on decoration but not information,” he said. “Designers like the idea of getting rid of buttons because Apple takes buttons away. But in a smartphone, you’re concentrating, and in a car, you’re doing 120km/h [75mph].”
The instrument cluster is now fully digital, with a customisable 7in screen in place of traditional dials. A 10in digital cluster will also be available as an option). The centre console has been redesigned with a 9.3in touchscreen that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
It uses all-new software, dubbed Easy Link, that will eventually make its way into every new Renault model. Instead of traditional menus, features like multimedia, navigation and drive modes are presented as widgets on a series of home screens that can be reorganised as on a smartphone. The portrait orientation makes text entry easier and requires fewer steps than the previous-generation car to enter a navigation destination.
While other manufacturers often save technology debuts for premium models, the Clio was first in the queue for Renault because the car is “emblematic” for the brand, according to connected car product marketing manager Pierre Loretta. “We do a lot of volume, and I think we’ve done something really beautiful with the new car’s interior, so the system perfectly suits the new design.
“It’s a system that will be deployed in the future across all Renault cars, but we didn’t want our customers to wait too long for a new Clio. They can enjoy the freshest technology we can offer from the very beginning.”
A range of passive and active safety systems will be standard on all Clios, including lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking and blindspot monitoring. Traffic sign recognition, 360deg parking cameras and distance warnings also make it one of the most advanced cars in its class. Stop-and-go cruise control will be an option for DCT-equipped cars, and the whole range now includes LED headlights as standard.
“There are features that must be added to get the best safety, but the feedback these systems give isn’t something that NCAP dictates,” Clio product manager Vincent Dubroca said. “We want our customers to be as well informed as possible to the car’s surroundings.
“All Clios have radar, but the fact we display the distance to the car in front on the instrument cluster is something we choose to do. We are able to also add things like stop/start cruise control. Drivers might not know they need it, but it’s beneficial for them.
“Our duty to make driving safer. We know people will do things like check their phones, but this could keep them safe if they decide to break the rules.”