Aftermarket equipment and components for disabled or mobility-limited car passengers are widely available, but Renault is introducing what it believes is Europe’s first original-equipment front swivel passenger seat.
Designed to enhance entrance and egress, the seat is an option on the New Clio. It is lever-operated and has no compromises compared with a regular fixed seat. Because it is factory-fit, it meets all passive safety requirements for the markets into which it will be offered (initially six western Europe countries). It is integrated with lateral airbag and seatbelt pretensioners in the five-door version of the New Clio or lateral and anti-submarining airbags in the three-door.
The seat was developed by Renault Tech, a specialist department created two years ago for approved conversion work. The department includes a bespoke factory at Heudebouville, Normandy. Satellite facilities in major Renault plants (in France, Spain, and Slovenia) allow the department’s specialists to work on vehicles at the end of the assembly line. By doing so, specialist factory-fit equipment can be installed without hampering production.
The swivel seat is fitted at Renault’s Flins factory, 45 km (28 mi) from Paris.
The decision to develop the seat is part of Renault’s Mobility for All campaign. The seat turns through 75º and the control lever is positioned beneath the seat to the right of the exterior facing side. As well as meeting safety criteria, the seat has no effect on structure or comfort. It can accommodate passengers weighing up to 130 kg (287 lb).
The seat, which locks into place, has a full range of fore and aft adjustment and is coupled to a footrest, which can be folded into its base.