So immortal is the Renault Clio II

Part 2 of an unspecified series of “cars that will not die.” Today again about a car that you also see more than average: Renault Clio II. A while ago we went through the Peugeot 206 with you. Why? Because it’s an incredibly popular car, without you probably noticing it. In the Netherlands you still see them a lot for their age, but elsewhere in the world they are even made. The Peugeot 206 is the most produced car in a generation in the world. Coincidentally, the Peugeot 206 is not the only car that this applies to. There’s another car that just did not want to die. In theory more of the same. A small hatchback from France who after a death on his own continent has survived for several years on another continent. That is, how can it be different, Renault Clio II. Let’s immediately remove the elephant from the room: yes, it’s the car that’s currently lit up in the undersigned’s parking lot. You can read all about it in the Autoblog Garage introduction of my Clio. My Clio is from 2004 and that is “just” the term for the Renault Clio II. In theory, it’s a very similar story with the 206. Renault Clio II came on the market in 1998 as a B-segment hatchback between Mégane and Twingo. The design came from Patrick LeQuement, who did very well for Renault at the time. It turned out: Clio II was cheap and solid without necessarily being boring. The Clio got a wide range of engines, a 1.2, a 1.4 and a 1.6 (all available with or without sixteen valves (16V)), two diesels (first a 1.9 and later a 1.5 dCi) and of course the powerful two liters in Renault. Sports models. There was also the crazy 3.0 V6 24V in the Clio Renault Sport V6, but you can not really compare it with the Clio II. It’s actually the result of someone putting a Clio body on a supercar chassis, it has little to do with the Clio as a cheap B-segment. The usual Clio II is a recipe for success, as it turned out later. What also made the Renault Clio II comparable to the Peugeot: if you zoom in on the Renault Clio II in the Netherlands, there is nothing special about it. There was a major facelift in 2001 that would make the car a hit here until 2005. From 1998 to 2005, about 57,500 new units were sold in the Netherlands. Then came the Clio III and it was a similar story with the Peugeot: it became a little more mature, just like the 207. From Twingo plus to Mégane minus, so to speak. It caused a similar “problem” as with Peugeot. This made the Renault Clio III slightly more expensive, which more or less created a gap between the Twingo and the Clio. This gap was filled by a car that is larger than the Twingo, but simpler in technology and slightly smaller than the Clio. Like the Peugeot 206+, the Clio II lived for a while like the Clio Campus. In theory a fantastic idea, but even here we Dutch only want to save for a Renault Clio III. Then you only have a little more car, because in theory only a fraction more money. There are still a lot of campuses sold here, but not as many as the “original” Clio II. For those who always want to apply the knowledge in such articles on the street: you can recognize a Campus with smooth bumpers (the normal Clio II has plastic pieces built into them) and the rear number plate is moved from the tailgate to the rear bumper. That concludes the story of the Renault Clio II in the Netherlands, although a score from 1998 to 2009 is not bad at all. However, the story of Clio II gets a different tail. In France, these types of cars are very popular. The French are very attached to cars and if you can sit in the front row for a duppie, you will. Clio II lived through it, in fact the car was facelifted again. You can recognize Campus ‘Phase II’ (if you are in France) by a bumper with more curves and a different grille. Which means that the comparison with the Peugeot 206+ is bubbling again: when the life of the Clio III also ends, it will also end with the Clio Campus. It has lived a whole generation in parallel with the Clio III and with the introduction of the Clio IV, it’s really crazy to place an old Clio next to the brand new ‘Laurens van den Acker-Clio’ in Renault’s showroom. The year is 2012 and Clio II has left its mark on car sales. Clio’s success is definitely due to the second generation. However, there are countries where people do not care “if everything has the latest base”. No, a car must drive there and be cheap. There are countless countries that follow this strategy, taking Iran and the end of the 206 story (so it is still being built there). Clio also got one last chance.

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