Renault Argos Concept (1994)

Renault Argos Concept (1994)
Renault Espace (1994)

Renault Espace

The Renault Espace is a large MPV originally designed by Chrysler UK in Coventry, in collaboration with Matra of France. It was manufactured by Matra in France, and marketed by Renault. Originally designed for sale as a Talbot in the late nineteen-seventies, the car was finally launched in 1984 and currently in its fourth generation, it seats seven passengers; the Renault Grand Espace is a longer-wheelbase version which seats seven and holds their luggage too. Along with the Dodge Caravan, the Espace was the original minivan.

Espace I (1984-1991)

The Espace's design was originally conceived in the 1970s by the British designer, Fergus Pollock, who was working for Chrysler UK (formerly the Rootes Group), the UK subsidiary of Chrysler, at their design centre in Coventry [1]. Later Matra, who were affiliated with Simca, the then French subsidiary of Chrysler, were involved in partnership in the design.

The Espace was originally intended to be sold as a Talbot, and to be a replacement for the Matra Rancho station wagon. Early prototypes used Simca parts, and hence featured a grille reminiscent of the Simca 1307 (Chrysler Alpine).

In 1978, before the Espace went into production, Chrysler UK and Simca were sold to the French company PSA Peugeot Citroën (PSA), and the Espace design was given to Matra.

PSA decided the Espace was too expensive and too risky a design to put into production, and Matra took their idea to Renault (PSA finally ventured into the minivan sector 11 years later with the Citroën Evasion/Peugeot 806).

The Matra concept became the Renault Espace. The design featured a fiberglass body mounted on a warm-galvanized steel chassis, using the same technique and assembly line at the factory as the Talbot Matra Murena. In fact, the introduction of the Espace required the relatively small factory to cease the production of the Murena, to make room for the Espace.

Renault Ludo Concept (1994)

Renault Ludo Concept (1994)
Renault Initiale Concept (1995)

Renault Initiale Concept (1995)
Renault Fiftie Concept (1996)

Renault Fiftie Concept (1996)
Renault Safrane (1996)

Renault Safrane

The Renault Safrane is an executive car designed and built by the French manufacturer Renault from 1992 to 2000. Throughout its lifespan it remained the most expensive and most luxurious Renault available. It was replaced by the Vel Satis, and to some extent by the short-lived two-door Avantime.


The Safrane was launched in late 1992 as a 1993 model to replace the aging Renault 25 in the full-size market segment. Its clean, aerodynamic styling was quite conservative and very typical of early 1990s car design, also quite reminiscent of the 25's.

All Safranes were five-door liftbacks with transversely mounted engines. Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions were available, with a range of petrol or diesel engines and manual or automatic transmissions. All petrol engines were fuel-injected and were fitted with three-way catalytic converters, as required in Europe after 1993 for engines of all sizes. The Safrane was also the first Renault to be equipped with air bags.


The Safrane carried over the Renault 25's five-door liftback design that had gained wide customer acceptance in France. Despite the traditional preference for sedan bodies in the executive car segment, Renault decided to compete on the base of added practicality of the rear tailgate and split-folding rear seat (not available from most sedan-bodied competitors), as well as originality. Given the preference for German sedans from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz of many executive car buyers, this can be viewed as good marketing tactics, allowing Renault to draw the buyers looking for alternatives anyway, rather than compete head-on. Interestingly, the Safrane featured slightly (but visibly) different front ends in different front versions, in an attempt to emphasize the unique status of more upmarket models.

Renault Kangoo (1997)

Renault Kangoo (1997)
Renault Pangea Concept (1997)

Renault Pangea Concept (1997)
Renault Clio (1998)

Renault Clio

The Renault Clio is a supermini produced by the French automaker Renault. Originally launched in 1990, it is currently in its third generation. The Clio has seen substantial critical and commercial success, being consistently one of Europe's top-selling cars since its launch, and it is largely credited with restoring Renault's reputation and stature after a difficult second half of the 1980s.

The Clio has been sold as the Renault Lutecia in Japan. A four-door sedan was developed for certain markets where sedans are traditionally preferred over hatchbacks and was sold under names Renault Clio Symbol, Renault Clio Sedan and Renault Thalia. It is also sold under the Nissan nameplate in some Latin American markets as the Nissan Platina.

Clio (1990-1998)

The Clio was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in the autumn of 1990 and began sales in France soon after, although sales in the rest of Europe did not begin until March 1991. The Clio largely replaced the Renault 5 (which continued to be built until 1996 as a budget alternative). The engine range available at launch included 1.2 L and 1.4 L E-type "Energy" gasoline I4 engines (first seen in the R19) and 1.7 L and a 1.9 L diesel (both based on the F-type unit) engines. The gasoline engines all received a fuel injection system in place of carburettors in 1992, in order to conform to new pollutant emission regulations.

A minor trim facelift occurred after only a year of being on sale. A new "smooth" version of the Renault diamond badge (the previous "ribbed" badge was being phased out at the time) and a new front seat design were the only changes. The altered design did not constitute a new 'phase'. In March 1994 the Phase 2 model was launched, with small updates to the exterior and interior of the Clio. Most noticeable was the change in the front grille from two metal ribs to a single colour-coded slat grille. The bump strips were made slightly larger and rounder, and the car's trim level badge was incorporated into the bump strips. The badges on the tailgate strip were moved up onto the tailgate itself and the tailgate strip was given a carbon fibre look. The rear light clusters were given a slightly more rounded 'bubble' shape to them, giving the Clio a more modern look. The clusters, however, are physically interchangeable with Phase 1 clusters.

Renault Laguna (1998)

Renault Laguna

The Renault Laguna is a large family car produced by the French manufacturer Renault. Launched in 1994, the original model was replaced by an all-new Laguna in 2000.

First generation

The first generation Renault Laguna was launched early in 1994 as replacement for the Renault 21 liftback, initially also coming as a liftback only. In late 1995, an estate version, known in some markets as the Laguna Grandtour, was introduced, and replaced the 21-based Renault Savanna/Nevada. The available engines included 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 petrol and a 2.2 diesel. A 3.0 V6 with automatic transmission joined the lineup after 1995.

Laguna's equipment levels were gradually getting more lavish, and soon all models came with power steering, electric front windows, driver's airbag and remote central locking as standard. Most of the range had twin airbags, antilock brakes, air-conditioning and CD player as either optional or standard equipment.

At the start of 1998 the Laguna received a moderate facelift, including a restyling of rear lights and a few other minor visual tweaks. More notably, the engines were updated and, in some markets, equipment levels enhanced again.

2000 saw the final edition of this Laguna - the Laguna Concorde. It had many extras, including semi-leather seats and vocal warnings like "your computer is now checking systems".

Second generation

At the end of 2000, after almost seven years of production, the original Laguna was replaced by an all-new model which shared its chassis with the Nissan Primera (which arrived a year later). The engines were upgraded and the equipment list made longer. It was the first vehicle available in Europe to score 5 stars in the EuroNCAP crash test results. The Laguna featured a 'keyless' ignition system which, instead of a key, used a credit card style device to unlock the car and start the engine - although the card is easily broken and expensive to replace. The styling of the second generation Laguna was heavily influenced by the Initiale concept car. Unfortunately, despite the technological advances, the Laguna II has not enjoyed a reputation for reliability, frequently appearing near the bottom of the J. D. Power tables.