Renault 4 GTL review: Retro Road Test

It can be identified as a GTL by its grey grille, bumpers and plastic cladding running along the bottom of its doors. The 4 was the Renault’s first front-wheel-drive car (although the technology had previously been introduced with the Estafette), with a focus on economy and practicality over performance or driver engagement. Finding gears is easy once you’re used to the strange position of the lever, and the change feels wonderfully precise. The ride quality – a hallmark of old French cars – allows you to keep pace over potholes, while the brakes are adequate, if a little worrying if you’ve just jumped out of something modern. Perhaps that’s why R4s are such a common sight in French fields… Although you might see plenty of Renault 4s in daily use in France, they’re a little harder to find here in the UK – especially in good condition. Another rust-spot to watch out for is inside the rear doors, while all four corners of the floorpan can also rot (but repairs are relatively affordable). Although we’d be reluctant to drive an R4 every day – and it’s certainly not the choice for long motorway journeys – it’s perfectly pleasant to pootle around in, while the interior is functional and endearing.