Renault was doing so well in the 1970s that it decided to return to the luxury class for the first time since before the war.
Regrettably, the resultant 30 of 1975 suffered with its reliability, build quality and rust. Yet Renault persevered still, and in 1984 it introduced an entirely new tour de force: the 25.
“The 25 has a lot going for it: it is luxurious, fast, quiet and efficient both in terms of its mechanical refinement and use of space,” we said upon first acquaintance with a 123bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder GTX (there were also V6s and diesels).
We found the claimed 0-60mph time of 10.3sec and MPG of 33.4 were about right, but comfort was more important; and here the 25 really succeeded, being “as quiet as the best of its competitors” and getting “good ride comfort” from its all-independent suspension.
We marvelled at the digitally voiced computer, although the digitally influenced dashboard design seemed “gimmicky” to us. Renault had clearly learned its lesson from the 30, because the 25 had “unquestionably good” build quality and extensive rustproofing.
It did okay, but the Safrane that followed it didn’t, and then the Vel Satis was the last nail in the coffin.
Honda’s hilarious hot hatch
Honda at long last brought its City kei car to Europe in 1984 (renaming it the Jazz), but the Turbo version never came to the UK, despite taking 50% of City sales in Japan.
This was sad, as we found when driving one on the continent that “its performance is outstanding” and “it’s one of the best-handling small cars of all”. In fact, we concluded that it was “the best thing since the Mini Cooper S”.
MG reveals Group B Metro
As it tried to power away from the British Leyland mess of the 1970s, Austin Rover wanted to step up its competition efforts; and its big idea was getting Williams F1 design guru Patrick Head to design a rallying MG Metro.
Thus the Group B Metro 6R4 was unveiled in 1984 with a 320bhp Rover V6. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much cop, never winning in the WRC.