The head of design at Renault says the perceived quality of the new Clio's cabin has been "dramatically" improved, claiming it is now "reaching towards premium-segment cars".

Speaking to Autocar after the recent unveiling of the fifth-generation hatchback, Laurens van den Acker revealed some 70 percent of the time he spent working on the new Clio involved its interior.

“The hard plastic was in your face,” Van den Acker said, referring to the outgoing, fourth-generation model.

“Now what’s soft is close and what’s hard is far away. We’ve benchmarked against our competitors, but we’re reaching towards premium-segment cars,” he said.

Van den Acker added that “the difference between today and tomorrow is cars become smart”.

“The Clio 4 instrument cluster was rich on decoration but not information. 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,” he quipped.

The revamped cabin features a 9,3-inch multimedia screen, which is the largest ever used in a Renault. It’s vertically positioned and slightly angled towards the driver, and will run the brand’s latest “Easy Link” system.

The traditional analogue display, meanwhile, has been replaced by a customisable digital TFT screen offered in two sizes (seven and 10 inches). The 10-inch version will include navigation in the display.

In the official press material, Van den Acker added "the interior has undergone a true revolution, with a considerable improvement in perceived quality, greater sophistication and technology".

Talking about the exterior styling of the new Clio, the Dutch designer said it would have not made sense to make drastic changes.

“When I arrived at Renault, it was looking for its soul. This time, we have so much to build on it would be a shame to throw it away,” he told the British publication.
Renault Clio