Renault is to bring back the classic 4 – but its reinvention as an electric SUV-cum-crossover is likely to disappoint fans of the original 4.
The 4EVER Trophy concept revealed at the Paris Motor Show is said to drop strong hints of how a new 4 will look and be positioned in the market place. Renault reportedly hopes it will become its best-selling electric car, when it goes on sale in 2025.
The original 4 was significant car for the French car manufacturer. Launched in 1961, it remained in showrooms, one way or another, for more than 30 years and more than eight million models hit the road in 100 countries. Part of what made it so successful was its versatility. The 4 was one part family hatchback, one part utility vehicle and one part cheap and cheerful transport.
Renault claims that it was this versatility that influenced the thinking behind the 4EVER. “It was a car you could drive in the countryside, you could drive off road, you could drive in the city,” designer Sandeep Bhambra told Autocar. “So that versatility was part of the brief: we wanted to make the 4 the most versatile car in the segment, whereas the 5 is more of an urban city car.”
The reinvented 4 is much farther removed from the car that inspired it than Renault’s reinterpretation of the 5, seen here. The 4EVER’s face, with its horizontal grille and circular headlamps are all that have been designed to hint at the original 4L. Instead, the 4EVER boasts a cookie-cutter SUV profile, with a few nice details such as the trapezoidal rear side windows. It sits on sizeable 4×4 tyres giving the 4EVER a decent-looking lift for off-road excursions. A spare wheel on the carbon roof, a shovel and sand ladders add to its expedition credentials. Quite how far off the grid you’ll be able to go is unclear as Renault hasn’t revealed the details of its electric drivetrain. Our guess is this will be the sort of car where ‘off-roading’ equates to parking it at a motorway service station and waiting for a charging point to become available.
“The 4EVER Trophy show car paves the way for the future all-electric B Segment SUV that will be at ease on urban and rural roads alike,” says Renault. That suggests that the concept is pretty close to being production-ready, although we’d expect pricey items such as the carbon roof to be dropped. The car will be built on the brand’s new CMF-BEV platform and assembled at Renault’s ElectriCity in northern France.
And if the idea of an electrically-powered 4 SUV isn’t to your liking, you could always just add an original Renault 4 to your fleet – the very best examples still cost less than £10,000 and will earn you new friends wherever you go.