Renault 4. Drive with a smile.

ER Classics Desktop 2022

The Renault 4. Every time it provides a surprise. If you are on the road with the modest French evergreen, comfort, a decent amount of space and pleasant good-naturedness will be yours. To a greater extent than you would expect. We were allowed to experience it in a copy from 1985.

Hardly changed to 33 year

The Renault 4 needs no further introduction. We still want to emphasize a few things. Het Viertje is in sixth place among the most sold cars in history. The Renault 4 added mature and functional features to the French basis of driving. Pioneered with its fifth door, accessibility and use of space. Combined that with comfort and reliable technology, such as the four-cylinder engine from the 4CV. It ensured that the striking Renault more than eight million times produced never had to be radically changed. Thanks to sparingly implemented program changes (such as the GTL from 1978, with 1108 cc engine) and a few retouches, he stood his ground for 33 for years. And he always remained himself.

Eighties influence

We set off with a basic Renault 4 from 1985 with an 845 cc engine. The influence of the Renault model policy from the 5s is visible. The steering wheel comes from the Renault 4, as do the instruments and control levers. A center console with speaker and space for a radio, as well as a mirror moved to the top of the forward, reveal that we are dealing with a later R4. The colorful checkered patterns on the door trim and furniture also tell us that we are dealing with an eighties example. Yet in the RXNUMX it is especially recognisable. And that feast of recognition is organized by the surprisingly comfortable furniture, the simple finish, the sliding windows in the doors and the practical ease of use.

Simple technology

The technique is also simple. While driving, the proven 845 cc engine (already good for 180.000 kilometers) does its job well. Performance is modest, of course, but the engine doesn't feel fatigued. He does express himself clearly. The four forward gears are operated via the long lever that protrudes from the dashboard and has a normal shift pattern. Operation is child's play, as the Renault is also fairly easy to steer through traffic despite its modest performance. The Renault 4 accelerates relatively easily to a speed of 100 kilometers per hour and then still has a bit of acceleration space left. Nevertheless, anticipation – certainly on the highway – is necessary, but you get used to that quickly.

Excellent course stability, brakes can be better

The operation of the non-assisted braking system requires more getting used to. First, the pedals are close together. Furthermore, it is necessary to start braking in time, because the Renault really needs time to come to a stop. After a few kilometers of driving, we are used to that, but alertness is still required. A set of front disc brakes – or modified drums – would be a good improvement on the braking characteristics. On the other hand, the Renault 4 with its independent torsion bar suspension and telescopic shock absorbers all round offers a lot of comfort, while small bumps are well damped. Furthermore, the stability of the course straight ahead and in the bends is noticeable. The body does become a bit restless at speeds above 90-100 kilometers per hour, and that is inherent in, among other things, the high structure of the body, which is also not self-supporting.

Thumbs up for a nice car

This way we get a good picture of the charming Frenchman who can greet a number of raised thumbs along the way. With the Renault 4 it is possible - in all relativity and modesty - to cover the kilometers in a pleasant way. The example driven by us proves to be a nice car that can be used not only as a hobby, but also for everyday use. Whatever it is used for, it puts a smile on your face.



Give a reaction
  1. Great cars! Extremely innovative: fifth door, first car with closed cooling system, engine in the middle (behind the front axle, gearbox is in front, hence the umbrella lever) for stable road holding, folding rear seat, front-wheel drive, and that in 1961!

    Every year about 1.200 (!!) drive from France to Morocco and back; student project. Just search for '4L Trophy' and that for a car model that has been out of production for 30 years.

    Compared to current cars, they are of course rambling, but they continue to drive. For three stuivers you can drive around the world with it. In that regard, the R4 was available in more than 100 countries, was built in about 20 countries. Truly a world car.

  2. It would be nice if there were still a cheap basic car on the market in 2021 such as the R4, for a low price, with the same loading space, easy to maintain yourself and without all that pointless showroom electronics fuss that no one really cares about. is waiting and does not have to change models every 5 minutes to keep up with the fashion.

    • Isn't that what they call a Dacia (powered at Renault or something) at the moment?

      Furthermore, the robbery currently blocks the simple no-nonsense cars, because they often have no-nonsense technology, and therefore emit more per km than the fart of a Labradoodle.
      That creates a huge co2 tax.
      An example is a no-nonsense jeep like the Niva.
      Loved in D, and costs less than half as in NL. . .

    • completely agree, all that new stuff has no soul and does things arbitrarily that I don't want, took care of good maintenance myself and drove environmentally conscious, exhaust was always clean, no pi pa po with electr. heated seats, air conditioning and all that charade!

  3. My one-off test drive started spectacularly, I reversed at full speed. The reverse gear was located where I, as a 2cv driver, expected the first gear.

  4. As far as I know, the Japanese have never succeeded in bringing such a ramshackle car onto the market. If they had, no one would have ridden anything from “Made in Japan” today. But when the French do that, it's "Oh la la!". A bouquet of flowers on the front seat and a pack of straw in the trunk. "La mer". I once bought a five-year-old R4: the sliding window came off right away. Constant load with the ground. Fortunately, a truck eventually drove on and my then girlfriend had no damage to her body. But when the thing drove, it was a bit of fun at times: with the poker you pointed in the direction and he followed it, puffing happily.

    • Japanese cars from the 70s also rusted out of your ass and weren't much better than European stuff. However, they were often more complete.
      Fun fact: the predecessor of the R4, the Renault 4CV, was built under license in Japan by Hino. Maybe they learned it there?

  5. I remember those R4s as extremely stable. The quality that French front-wheel drivers really have a reputation to uphold. Then of course there shouldn't be a storm from across the side. Simple technique and an amiable character. Too bad they are no longer made. I loved driving them

  6. I was in Italy last September to be precise in Varenna and see R4's come and talk to the owner of one, he drives there daily and now leaves the other to be his sister's and she also drives it daily. The condition of R4s, Italian traces of use.


    • Indeed, in Italy you still regularly see Renaults 4. Even the Pope has one. He got it from his followers, because in his homeland he drove around in an R4 for years.
      Another fun fact: Alfa Romeo built the R4 under license. They are different on details, such as that of AR has the rear lights of the Fiat Giardinette. AR previously built the Renault Dauphine under license, but where it was called Alfa Romeo, the 4s from the AR factory are called Renault.

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