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On the outside the Clio Van looks very much like its standard counterpart, but the rear portion has been converted into a usable commercial load space with a maximum payload of around 535kg. Drivers of all shapes and sizes can be accommodated up front, although since this is based on a small family car it is not quite as spacious as a dedicated light goods vehicle. As standard, most models come with remote central locking, while the basic radio-cassette unit could be upgraded to a CD player from new.
Tucked under the bonnet of the Clio Van is a 1.5 litre diesel engine, replacing the 1.9 litre unit found in older models. Although the capacity is smaller, this newer power plant still produces the same 65bhp as its predecessors while also offering quite a bit more torque. This allows it to carry loads with greater ease and ensures that the vehicle feels nimble and manoeuvrable even if it is heavily loaded. Handling is very much what you would expect from a small car, although it has a very planted feel which is reassuring. With power steering present, it is not a difficult van to drive, and the driver and passenger seats are durably built but still very accommodating and comfortable.
Roughly a cubic metre of load space is available in the rear, while a half-height bulkhead keeps this area separate from the seats up front and ensures that everything stays in its place. ABS for safer braking is included as standard, and there is a single airbag for the driver. There are even electric windows, which you will not find on every small commercial vehicle of this kind. Air conditioning can be specified as an optional extra and may be present on certain second-hand models for those who are willing to shop around.
Various specifiable packs could be added to the Clio Van, including one which was designed to make it look a little more stylish and sporty. This was achieved through the addition of alloy wheels and colour-coded exterior panelling, elevating it above the standard models. Meanwhile, a full-height bulkhead could also be specified for those requiring it, improving the practicality of the van when it comes to hauling sizeable loads.
The Clio Van from Renault benefits from reliable engines, good looks and plenty of practical features. But its biggest selling point is probably the cost, since it is an affordable commercial vehicle which does not take up too much space and can easily be used in towns and cities to transport a wide range of objects that sole traders and small businesses will need to move around.
No longer available new from Renault, as the smallest van in their range has been taken over by the Kangoo Compact, the Clio Van was, nonetheless, popular in the UK.
The most recent model, the Clio Campus Van SL15dCi 70 came with changes to the outside – bumpers and bootlid mainly – Renault also chose to reduce the listprice to £640 less than the outgoing model, undercutting the remaining competition in this sector.
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