A new Renault Clio-based compact SUV is to go into production next year. Renault officials are now speaking openly about a production version of the model that was first previewed as the Captur concept at the 2011 Geneva show, and it could return to that show next March in production guise.The as-yet unnamed Clio SUV will be based on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s B platform, also found beneath the new Clio and the Nissan Micra and Juke. It is likely to share its platform dimensions with the new Juke, meaning it will be around 4.1m long.

The styling will borrow more from the Clio 4 than the Captur concept, as our artist’s impression indicates. The Clio’s grille and headlight outline will carry over, with Captur influences seen in the lower front bumper, sloping tailgate and rear detailing.

Speaking at the Paris motor show, Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker said the “Clio crossover” would give Renault a chance “to come back in a big way” in a fast-growing segment that it has so far failed to capitalise on.

He added that experiences at Dacia with the Duster would help Renault get the Clio SUV right. “It’s ironic for me that, with Dacia, we made a fantastic crossover,” he said. “So it’s not for a lack of capability or knowledge that Renault doesn’t have one.”

The ex-Mazda man refused to give much away about the styling, other than, like all Renaults, it would be “more latin, sensual, sporting. The crossover will be sexy”.

The SUV’s engine range is likely to mirror the new Clio hatch’s, meaning a normally aspirated 74bhp 1.2, turbocharged 89bhp 0.9 and turbocharged 118bhp 1.2 petrols will be offered, and an 89bhp 1.5 as the staple diesel.

Although its platform is compatible with four-wheel drive, the Clio SUV is likely to be offered with front-drive only. However, a Renaultsport version could be on the cards — or at least a version with the new Clio RS 200’s 197bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine — as a performance flagship for the new range.

Thanks to: Autocar