Production Renault 4 EV caught testing in the snow

Renault is leaning hard into its historical catalog for its EV lineup. It already showed the concept for the 5, which looks as cubic as the old economy car of the same name (known as the LeCar in America), and prototypes look just like the show car. The same seems to be happening with the upcoming Renault 4. Its concept was shown a little more than a year ago in Paris, and these spy photos show that it’s mostly sticking to the look.

We say mostly, as there is one big change. The concept that previewed the 4 was called the 4EVER Trophy, and it has huge and wide fenders, plus was decked out with a roof rack and full size spare. It definitely seemed to lean into the 4’s history of having competed in the Paris-Dakar Rally, where it actually took second (1979) and then third place (1980) in its class. This production-style prototype obviously ditches all of that. It looks much more narrow and road-oriented.

But beyond that, the retro lines still shine through, particularly the distinctive greenhouse with the arched section incorporating the doors, and the rear quarter windows that angle down and forward. It has the same blunt, flat nose and horizontal hood as the concept and the original, and it looks like the LED interpretation of the round headlights sticks around, surrounded by the wide black panel to hark back to the original car’s grille. The wheels are substantially toned down from the cyberpunk-style ones of the concept, but the split four-spoke layout still emphasizes the boxy nature of the car.

The Renault 4 will be based on the CMF-BEV platform, also used by the Renault 5. While the production model will clearly be more modest than the concept, we could see Renault positioning the 4 as a more rugged alternative to the 5, possibly offering a trim with a bit more ground clearance, cladding and fender flares to appeal to the crossover crowd. Having a dual-motor all-wheel-drive version would seem reasonable, too. But Renault has been tight-lipped about specifications for any of these retro EVs so far, so this is all speculation. What’s not speculation, is the fact that this won’t be coming to America. But the CMF-BEV platform will be shared with Renault’s corporate partners Nissan and Mitsubishi, so we could see those brands debut vehicles here with the same basic mechanicals someday.

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