Renault Express

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First I want to apologise for my bad knowledge of english. If you won't understand anything, I'm sorry, but I really don't know english better. Thanks.
By preface I want to say that I haven't made this site to shout to the whole world anything about my car. The opposite is true. As a new owner of Renault Express I've wanted to find something about it on Internet. But results were terrible. Although I've used Google, french Yahoo etc., I found almost nothing.
"Almost" means two pages - one is japan site of Fan Club Express (I was successful in translating it to english through the on-line translator at Altavista) and the second is page of the tunning workshop from Argentina. That's why I try to make the situation better. I hope there's somebody who's able (and want) to do better webpage when he find out the terrible state with Express sites. Or if you know some cool site, please tell me. And maybe, maybe I'll also add some more informations about it.

What to say about Renault Express?
Primary of course it's lightweight van mainly for city traffic, ideal for little craftsmen, repairers etc. But Renault makes also 5-seat version. And suddenly Express changes into fantastic car for young active people, who need more than normal estate wagon, but for new MPV or SUV haven't ... maybe money or so. :o)
I can say that it's extremely adaptable car and 'cause of its great space and carrying capacity it can be used for almost everything. With its length less than 4 meters (!) it supplies more inner space than 4,5 m long Octavia (I'm sure you know Skoda Octavia, don't you?). What exactly you can give into, read in next articles.

Very brief history
Renault Express has come to the world in 1986 as a successor of similar car R4 Fourgonnette. It was constructed on base of Renault 5, with some parts from R9 and 11. From the first time it was supplied in 4 versions of body of the car with three engines 1.0, 1.1 a 1.6D (see technical description in Automobil magazine nr. 3/86 - but only in czech language :-( ). Sometimes in next years had to come the next engine - 1.4, because in 1990 was already sold with it. In 1992 Express have gone through some changes and face-lifting. Visible changes were on front part, rear lights, partly in the interior and Express got also upwards-opening back door. It was produced until 1998, when Kangoo (or/and Kangoo Express) comes.
What I know more about: in some countries it was sold under the name "Rapid" and the interesting study for free time Renault Santa Fé was based on it.

R4 Fourgonnette Renault Express Renault Express po face-liftingu Renault Kangoo

Technical specifications of 1.4 type
  Renault Express Skoda Favorit *
Dimensions (mm) Length 3960 3815
Width 1560 1620
Height 1720 1415
Wheel base 2585 2450
Boot volume (l) 710-2.600 251-1.038
Weight (kg) of empty car   845 840
of load 545 450
Total 1390 -
Capacity (ccm) 1389 1289
Output    58 kW /5450 min.-1    46 kW /5000 min.-1
Fuel petrol petrol
Top speed 140 km/h 150 km/h
Fuel consumption (l)     at 90 km/h 5,8 5,2
at 120 km/h 6,9 7,2
in city traffic 7,6 7,4
* I've added the datas of Skoda Favorit to compare the properties and to show the advantages of Express. Skoda Favorit seems to be bad-matching car, but I think it isn't. It has similar dimensions (except height of course) - the length is more similar than Skoda Forman, weight, engine capacity and paradoxically also the price. The Renault and Skoda (in the same age) are really sold in the same price...

Technical specifications on other versions in Automobil magazine nr. 3/86 (czech version only)

My experiences with Express
Short introduction: I've bought Renault Express in 2000 in one of second-hand car shop in Brno after its price fell from 71.000,- CZK to 49.000,- CZK (it's hard to believe).
I know, it was risky: it was made in 1990, has gone 233.000 km, was imported from Switzerland, all the time was served in companies, last five years in building company... It didn't seem to be a good business. But the opposite: it was never hard crashed (I'm convinced), rust only a little bit, no great repair needed, 5-seat, 1.4 engine, 5 gears, opening roof - so not to buy it! Especially if I've never seen before Express under 100.000,- CZK. Sure, from 1994 and newer.
Two service stations, I've choose for control my car, said (identically) that it's old car :o), this and that it's better to change, but that there's no really dangerous fault. The most dangerous were tyres.
I've changed (exactly service changed) "consumer" segments (I'm sorry - I don't know the technical terms: wedge-shaped belt, plugs, brake slides...) and so. Cost totally (including two tyres Semperit) about 10.300,-.
During last year Express had about 5-6 faults (I can't translate them ;o) but no one of them causes the car becomes immobile. The annual distance has been 11.000 km, mainly heavy-laden and in hard conditions (see next paragraph). That's why I think it's very good performance.
Especially when I read the specification of the technical condition from previous owner. All parts of the car (including body, engine, gearbox, clutch, absorbers, exhaust-pipe with silencer) are original according to him, only at the silnecer he wrote a little question-mark. :o) If not more, it could be indication about last five years... But I admit that the clutch without fault after almost a quarter of million kilmeteres I don't see much probably.
Globally it seems that Renault Express is still an utilitarian car and is dimensioned for a larger distances than normal personal car is. I thought that. :o) Surely I can say that Skoda Favorit of the same age, I've driven for a short time (an interest: after about 60.000 km), is wide, wide worse. The owner doesn't think so, but it's a wreck yet. :o)

What's possible
Some exaples why is Express such a perfect helpmate and what's possible to do with it.

  • journey to Italian Alps - 5 people with baggage for one-week staying and climbing equiment. Estimated load about 520 kg, on highway speed 130 km/h all the time, passing the gaps Reschenpass 1504 m, Pso. di Sta. Maria 2501 m, Berninapass 2323 m, upwards journey to Campo Moro 2020 m (from 1565 m unconsolidated road).
  • journey to Dolomites. Load and hardness of the journey similar. On gradient road to high-situated parkplace was second gear not enough, last twenty minutes went the car on first gear. In this conditions started the cooling fluid boil, but the heating in high performance is the solution; not even the stop was needed. The mechanician in service station comments these journeys: "I would never do it!". :-)
  • It's possible to give into (and to carry) for example:
    • 5 people with luggage for weekend + 2 partly demounted bikes
    • 6 people with luggage for weekend + 3 banana boxes + bike (the fork placed out of the car through opened roof)
    • 7 people + 2 packed tee-pee (with this load Express is able to go through the forest-way without beating the bottom to the ground, but the empty(!) Felicia Combi beats three times)

Because I know the Inetrnet surfer, who don't read any text and only see the pictures, I add also a little gallery of Renault Express. But no actualization is promised. :-)

Elegant profile With Skoda 100L, year 1970 :-) Middle distance...
Interior Interior In the wood...

From the journey to Switzerland...
On highway rest Rise to St. Maria gap on CH-I boundary, Stelvio gap in the back Rise to St. Maria gap on CH-I boundary, Stelvio gap in the back
Downhill road from St. Maria downto Italy Rise to Franscia village Rise to Franscia village

Base Camps :o)
Campo Moro under Bernina Peak Under Tre Cime in Dolomites Under Marmolada in Dolomites

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© Brd'a, 2001