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Renault 20 and 30 (1975 - 1984)

Last updated 27 April 2013

Big, practical, and roomy
Underpowered in 1.6-litre form, overpowered with the V6, 2.0-litre dull and far too competent, rear seat folding system is baffling
Updated 1 December 1983
Production ceases

The R20 and R30 cease production, with 622,314 R20s and 160,245 R30s made.

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When the Renault 30TS was launched in March 1975, it was the largest engine from the French manufacturer since WW2. The 2.7-litre PRV-powered five-door hatchback was a deliberate move upmarket that proved to be spectacularly mis-timed, thanks to the after-effects of the 1973 Energy Crisis. At launch, it was a unique proposition, being a five-door hatchback in the saloon-dominated executive sector - beating the Rover SD1 and Audi 100 Avant to the market by over a year.

Six months later, the 30 was joined by the 1647cc 20TL - the same car with a more rational choice of power unit. It was Intended to replace the R16, but the more charismatic 1965 car remained in production for a further five years, proving that new was no better than old. The range was bolstered with the arrival of the 2.0-litre Douvrin engine in the 20TS and fuel injection in the 30TX, during 1978 - and the diesels in 1979. Popular in France, less so in the UK, it's easy to forget that these cars ousold the Rover SD1 globally by some margin.

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