Renault is all set to take the starring role at the Paris Motor Show when it will reveal a successor to the fabulous 4.
Launched just over 60 years ago the Renault 4 was the world’s first mass-produced hatchback – and mass produced it most certainly was. More than eight million Renault 4s were made in its 33-year life, with assembly plants as far afield as Ireland and Uruguay, as well as its native France.
The 4 began life as Renault’s answer to the Citroën 2CV, a basic car for the masses. Renault studied the 2CV’s limitations and went more conventional though, with a more modern, boxy body, and water rather than air cooling for its paltry 603cc four-cylinder.
Like the Citroën it had quirky umbrella-handle manual shifter sticking out of the dashboard, while its all-round torsion bar independent suspension could handle cobblestones and farm tracks with aplomb. Over the years it would become only a little more sophisticated, with a four-speed transmission replacing the original three-speed unit and the engine ultimately increasing in capacity to 1.1 litres.
The next 4 will have neither engine nor manual transmission, however, as it will be a pure electric vehicle. The teaser image just released by Renault suggests that it will adopt today’s take on utility and be a high-riding crossover rather than a compact hatchback, however.
Fully embracing their government-dictated electric destiny, France’s carmakers seem to be looking to their pasts. Peugeot teased us with the gorgeous 504 Coupé-style e-Legend back in 2018, Citroën’s ‘oli‘ may look nothing like the 2CV but it adopts the legendary Deux Cheveux’s lightweight utilitarianism, and after revealing a couple of concepts to preview an upcoming all-new Renault 5, la Regie is also looking to take the 4 into the future.
We can hardly wait to say bonjour to this new breed of French automobiles; all will be revealed in Paris on October 17.