New Renault 4 shapes up to join electric car range

The Renault 4 crossover hatchback is set to join the revived Renault 5 in the French firm’s small car line-up and our exclusive images preview how it could look

Renault’s retro reboot is set to continue with an all-new, all-electric version of the Renault 4, Auto Express can confirm. Pictures of a proposed Renault 4 design have been uncovered on a trademarking website, as well as a new version of the Renault logo featuring the number 4.

Our exclusive images show how the trademarked car could look in the metal. Renault chief executive officer Luca De Meo recently confirmed to Auto Express that there would be more retro-inspired models in the forthcoming line-up after the well received launch of the Renault 5 Prototype. “There have been so many products that made history, so it would be a pity not to reconnect with that long history and tradition.

“We’re not here to only look in the rear-view mirror, we’re here to reinvent things and I think the Renault 5 is a good example,” he told us. “A lot of people say to me, ‘why are you doing retro design?’ This is not retro design, it’s just reinvention of a concept. In our library we have a lot of things that we can reinvent.”

Auto Express understands that the Renault 4 concept, expected to be unveiled towards the end of this year to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the original car’s launch in 1961, has not yet been completed. As a result, the car in the trademarked images is likely to be one of a number of options put forward by Renault’s design team, led by Gilles Vidal.

The new 4 will, however, follow the boxy, upright look of the original car, which was Renault’s answer to the Citroen 2CV and a pre-runner to today’s crop of small SUVs, such as Renault’s own Captur. The newcomer will aim to follow the original 4’s mantra of offering affordable, spacious transport for families, but with a dose of style, too.

As with the new Renault 5, we’d expect to see a number of retro design touches on the R4, such as the headlights and grille sitting within a single frame, and design features on the front bumper that mimic the overriders seen on the original car’s steel bumpers.

When the original R5 was launched, it borrowed mechanicals from the R4, but the roles are expected to be reversed this time around. De Meo has already confirmed that the R5 will use the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s CMF-B platform that underpins the Renault Zoe, and the same technology is expected to be used for the R4 to keep costs down. We’re some way off specifications for either model being finalised, but the Zoe has a 50kWh battery and a maximum range of 245 miles, with 50kW fast charging available.

The Zoe comes with two electric motors, one with 132bhp and one with 108bhp. De Meo has already put a price target on the new Renault 5, telling Auto Express: “The mission is to democratise electric technology in Europe, and you do that when you’re able to do a competitive electric car in the range of 20,000-30,000 Euros (£17,000-£26,000) – making money, obviously.

“It has to be a car that is in that range of price; we want to make it simple, accessible and essential. It needs to be affordable.”

Traditionally the R4 was priced slightly below the R5, but with the cost of the technology we’d expect Renault to aim for similar prices for its retro twins. If the concept is well received, De Meo could give the project the green light to go on sale shortly after the new 5’s debut, meaning first deliveries in late 2023 or early 2024.

What do Renault 4 fans think?

We asked members of the renault4.co.uk forum what they thought of Renault’s plans to revive the nameplate.

“It will be interesting to see what aspects of the original Renault 4 the new car will use,” said one. “The original was proper French out-of-the-box thinking. It was one of the first small hatchbacks, one of the first cars with a maintenance-free cooling system, it had folding rear seats and a fold-down front seat in the van.”

“The original R4 was cheap to buy and run and was very practical,” commented another. “It had more boot space than the average estate, and there were some great practical touches. The car was cute and it became classless.”

“A new Renault 4 would have to be practical, innovative and cute,” said one user. “It will need to find a way to appeal to everyone.”

“Should the new car show clean-sheet French automotive thinking it’s going to be brilliant,” believed another. “If it’s somewhat derivative it won’t have the spirit of the original, but hopefully it will still be really cool.”

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