Renault, a French automotive manufacturer, has a storied history spanning over a century. Established in 1899 by the Renault brothers, the brand has continually contributed to the evolution of the automobile industry. Renowned for their innovation and design, Renault cars have become synonymous with quality and performance. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating stories behind 10 classic Renault models that have left an indelible mark on the automobile world. Fasten your seatbelts, and let’s take a trip down memory lane!
1 – Renault Voiturette (1898)
The Renault Voiturette, the first-ever car manufactured by the Renault brothers, kickstarted the company’s journey. This compact, two-seater vehicle was powered by a single-cylinder engine producing 1.75 horsepower. Featuring a top speed of 32 km/h, the Voiturette introduced a unique innovation – the “direct drive” transmission system, a precursor to the modern gearbox. This innovation allowed the car to accelerate smoothly, a significant breakthrough at the time.
2 – Renault 4CV (1946-1961)
The Renault 4CV, a post-WWII marvel, was the first French car to sell over a million units. Designed during the war in utmost secrecy, the 4CV was a compact, rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive car with a distinctive curvy silhouette. Despite its modest power output (17-32 horsepower, depending on the model), it was an efficient and affordable vehicle that helped put France back on the road after the war.
3 – Renault Dauphine (1956-1967)
The Dauphine, a successor to the 4CV, was a stylish, family-oriented compact car with a rear-mounted engine. With its sleek design and improved performance, the Dauphine quickly gained popularity, selling over 2 million units worldwide. A testament to its appeal, the Dauphine even became the best-selling car in the United States in 1959, a rare feat for a European car at the time.
4 – Renault 16 (1965-1980)
The Renault 16, a groundbreaking model, was one of the first hatchbacks in the automotive industry. This mid-sized family car featured a spacious interior, versatile seating arrangements, and a unique blend of comfort and practicality. The 16 was a massive success, winning the 1966 European Car of the Year award and selling over 1.8 million units during its production run.
5 – Renault 5 (1972-1996)
The Renault 5, a true icon of the 70s and 80s, was a compact hatchback that stole hearts with its charming design and fuel efficiency. Initially launched as a three-door model, the 5 was eventually also offered as a five-door variant. With over 10 million units sold, the Renault 5 remains one of the best-selling Renault cars of all time.
6 – Renault Fuego (1980-1986)
The Fuego, a stylish sports coupe, showcased Renault’s design prowess and technological innovation. Boasting a sleek, aerodynamic profile, the Fuego was one of the first cars to feature remote keyless entry and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Although production ceased in 1986, the Fuego remains a cult classic among car enthusiasts.
7 – Renault Espace (1984-present)
The Renault Espace, a pioneer in the MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) segment, revolutionized family transportation. Combining a spacious interior with the comfort of a passenger car, the Espace set a new standard in practicality and versatility. Over the years, the Espace has evolved through multiple generations, retaining its reputation as a reliable and innovative family vehicle.
8 – Renault Clio (1990-present)
The Renault Clio, a supermini car, took the market by storm with its attractive design, fuel efficiency, and affordability. Quickly becoming a staple in the European market, the Clio has been a consistent best-seller since its debut. With numerous updates and improvements over the years, the Clio has secured its place in the automotive hall of fame.
9 – Renault Twingo (1992-present)
The Twingo, an innovative city car, stood out for its compact size, quirky design, and maneuverability. Its clever use of space and cheerful appearance made it an instant hit, particularly in urban environments. The Twingo has evolved through several generations, with each iteration bringing new features and improvements, maintaining its status as a popular choice for city dwellers.
10 – Renault Mégane (1995-present)
The Mégane, a versatile compact car, has been one of Renault’s most successful models since its launch. Available in various body styles, including hatchback, sedan, coupe, and convertible, the Mégane caters to a wide range of customers. With a reputation for comfort and reliability, the Mégane continues to be a sought-after car in the European market.
From the humble beginnings of the Voiturette to the iconic Clio and innovative Espace, Renault has consistently pushed the boundaries of automotive design and engineering. These 10 iconic Renault cars highlight the brand’s ability to adapt to changing market demands while staying true to its core values of innovation, performance, and style. With a legacy spanning over a century, Renault continues to shape the future of the automobile industry, ensuring that its classic models will never be forgotten.
Q: Which classic Renault car was the first French car to sell over a million units?
A: The Renault 4CV, produced from 1946 to 1961, was the first French car to sell over a million units.
Q: What was the first-ever car manufactured by Renault?
A: The Renault Voiturette, introduced in 1898, was the first car manufactured by the Renault brothers.
Q: Which classic Renault car was a precursor to the modern hatchback?
A: The Renault 16, introduced in 1965, was one of the first hatchbacks in the automotive industry.
Q: What was the first Renault car to feature remote keyless entry?
A: The Renault Fuego, a sports coupe produced from 1980 to 1986, was one of the first cars to feature remote keyless entry.