Renault has been around since 1898 and has always been producing interesting cars for the people, rather than going for the premium market.
It has created some truly iconic cars that have forged new paths, such as the 5 Turbo and the Espace – the world’s first true people carrier.
But it is making some intriguing models now, too, so here is a guide to the brand and what cars it currently makes.
Who owns Renault?
Renault, as a whole, is part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance that is run by Renault chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. It is the fourth largest automotive group in the world and rather than one being owned by the other, they work in harmony and share technologies and ideas.
As of December 31, 2016, the brand itself is mostly owned by the general public, with 58.5 per cent of the company in the possession of them. The French state has the next largest stake with 19.74 per cent, while Nissan has a 15 per cent share. Daimler – who own Mercedes-Benz – also have a small share, due to Renault building engines for their A- and B-Class models. Renault employees and the company themselves also have shares.
Where is Renault made?
As Renault has many markets around the world, its needs factories on four continents to keep up with demand. With other brands such as Dacia and AvtoVAZ – the company that builds Lada vehicles – Renault needs to have a presence everywhere. Many of the factories are located in Europe, though, where it has a large market share.
Renault 2017 models
To appeal to all sectors in the budget car market, Renault builds eight cars for the UK market, with all catering to different needs. Renault are famously good at creating cars for the people and its line-up does a good job at doing that.
The Twingo is the smallest car the French carmaker offers and is now in its third generation. After originally coming to the market in 1993, the Twingo has evolved into a stylish supermini that can take on many of its rivals. It was co-developed with Daimler and it shares the platform with the Smart Fortwo and Forfour.
As the small hatchback is something the French are historically very good at making, the Clio is a classic option that is a solid choice in the hatchback market. It comes with a Cup version, which has more performance to offer, and an estate model that gives you extra practicality. Now in its fourth generation, the Clio chassis also forms the base of the Captur crossover and Zoe all-electric hatchback.
In its first generation, the Captur is Renault’s first foray into the small crossover market by taking inspiration from hatchback and SUV design. It is also quite customisable as people look to have more choice in how their cars look. As the smallest SUV, it could be said that it is more of city SUV than anything else, but it has good efficiency and offers a slightly higher ride position than in the Clio.
The Megane has changed a lot in its time in the Renault line-up. Having taken over from the Renault 19 back in 1995. Since then it has gone under quite a transformation from a rather dull family car to an angular and quite interesting large hatchback. Coming with the performance-focused Renault Sport version, the Megane also has an estate model on offer, with the platform co-developed with Nissan to use on their vehicles.
Sharing its platform with the all-conquering Nissan Qashqai, the Renault Kadjar comes with the option of two-wheel or four-wheel drive, so is the brand’s cheapest ‘off-roader’. It is one of the newest models to join the Renault line-up after being introduced in 2015 and comes with both petrol and diesel options. It also features a great range of safety systems and is reasonably affordable as a good family car.
Inspired by the original Renault MPV, the Espace, the Scenic was the compact option and was a popular choice in the family sector. But the model has evolved since then, and with the Espace’s retirement in the UK five years ago, we now have the Grand Scenice as well, which comes with the same spaceship-like qualities of the newest Scenic, but with seven seats and a bit more space. It also is styled similarly to some crossovers, as that market has overtaken the MPV market in recent years.
This is the largest SUV that Renault currently offers, and features either two- or four-wheel drive. The most recent version is also much better looking than the previous generation and offers up to seven seats. It shares the platform with the smaller Kadjar and the Nissan X-Trail, and comes with either petrol or diesel engines.
As the motoring world looks to turn electric, the Zoe was one of the first realistic electric cars for everyday use when it came to the market in 2012. It shares the Clio’s platform – also the base for the Nissan Micra – and can have a range up to 250 miles with its most recent version. As electric cars become more realistic to own, you may be seeing more Zoes on the road in the near-future.