Renault's R-Link touch screen in-car controls.
Renault's R-Link touch screen in-car controls.

Renault to offer in-car tablet PC

RENAULT will roll-out integrated tablet-style PCs across its car range in 2012.

The French brand's R-Link tablet system features an 18-centimetre touch-screen display, and can be controlled via steering wheel-mounted buttons or by a voice recognition system, and will be offered in the all-electric Zoe city car and the new-generation Clio - both due to go on sale mid-2012 in Europe.

While it is called a tablet, the system can't actually be removed from the car, with Renault claiming it is "integrated into the vehicle and is not removable to prevent theft".

The tablet system features its own app store (R-Link Store), and at the time of the R-Link's release it will come pre-loaded with more than 50 applications, with the system able to download updates for apps on the move or via SD card.

The R-Link tablet also offers the driver or passenger access to all the car's vitals, control over the stereo system (finally doing away with those fiddly French knobs and buttons), and is expected to come with a Tom Tom-powered satnav system with live streaming traffic updates.

It also has a nifty readout that ranks how efficiently the car is being driven, similar to that seen in Honda's hybrid models.

It is expected that the R-Link system will be an added cost option, with the European media release stating that R-Link "will be available for all forthcoming Renault models at an unrivalled low price".

Renault Australia says it looks forward to the R-Link system being offered in its cars.

"We are very interested in the system," says Renault Australia spokeswoman Emily Ambrosy.

"As soon as it becomes available to us we will be working to bring it to Australia."

Renault has confirmed to Drive that it hopes to offer both the Clio and the electric Zoe city cars, both of which are likely to arrive here early in 2013.

Volkswagen's Up micro car, which is due to arrive here late next year, is also offered with a small tablet-like screen.

The Up's system, which also plays music and acts as a satnav, can be removed from the car and re-docked when required.

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