The Renault 21 is a large family car produced by French automaker Renault between 1986 and 1994. It was also sold in North America through American Motors (AMC) dealers as the Renault Medallion and the Eagle Medallion. A total of 2,096,000 units were produced.
The Renault 21 sedan was launched in early 1986 as the successor to the successful Renault 18, and this was followed a few months later by the seven-seater station wagon, the R21 Nevada, marketed as the Savanna in the United Kingdom.
Unusually, the Renault 21 was offered with disparate engine configurations. The 1.7-litre version featured an 'east-west' (transversely) mounted engine, but Renault had no gearbox suitable for a more powerful transverse engine: accordingly, faster versions featured longitudinally mounted (north south) engines. The two versions featured (barely perceptibly) different wheel bases: the engines were all relatively compact four-cylinder units and the engine bay was large enough to accept either configuration without reducing passenger space. However, at a time when production technologies were relatively inflexible, the need to assemble differently configured engine bays on a single production line, along with the supplementary inventory requirements imposed both on Renault and on the dealership network, did compromise the Renault 21's profitability.
In 1986, the R21 was launched. It had a razor-like design, which was different from contemporary cars of the era, e.g. the Ford Sierra (with its "jelly mould" design) and the Opel Ascona (with its J-Car design).
The car was revamped considerably in 1989, both technically and aesthetically - the new sleeker outward appearance was similar to the also recently revamped Renault 25, and a liftback body style was also added to the range (which soon became more popular than the sedan in France) along with a sporty 2.0 L Turbo version. The TXi 2.0l 12v and 2.0l turbo was also available with the four-wheel-drive Quadra transmission, and was capable of 227 km/h (141 mph).
The Renault 21 liftback and sedan petrol-fueled models ceased production in early 1994 on the launch of the all-new Laguna liftback, but the diesels and the Nevada (Savanna in the UK) remained on the market until their replacement Laguna variants were launched (late 1994 for the diesels and late 1995 for the Nevada (Savanna)).
The R21 was built in Argentina, at the Renault facility in Santa Isabel (Córdoba Province) since late 1988 until early 1996. Production continued in Argentina for some years after its demise in European markets. All three body styles have been built: liftback, sedan and Nevada (station wagon). It has been equipped with both petrol and diesel engines. The only petrol engine available was the 2.2 L 8-valve (carburetor for the early production, fuel injection for the later models), and the only diesel engine available was the 2.1 L. Both engines were available for the three body versions.
The R21 was manufactured in Turkey in early 1990s under the name Optima (entry model), Manager (later Manager 2000 with 2 L engine), and (top of the line) Concorde.
United States and Canada
The R21 was also sold in the United States and Canada for a brief period as the Medallion with the 2.2 L engine as the only powerplant. However, the car was only on sale for a few months in 1987 before Renault sold its investment in American Motors Corporation (AMC) to Chrysler AMC dealers were now under a newly formed Jeep-Eagle Division of Chrysler, and continued to sell the car as the Eagle Medallion until 1989.
The 21 was launched in Colombia in late 1987 with 2.0 L longitudinal engine.
- 1.4 L (1397 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4; 68 PS (50 kW; 67 hp); top speed: 165 km/h (103 mph) (Turkish development from C series block, called C2J, also available in Portugal and Yugoslavia)
- 1.4 L (1397 cc) petrol OHV 8-valve I4; 70 PS (51 kW; 69 hp); top speed: 168 km/h (104 mph)
- 1.6 L (1565 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4; 73 PS (54 kW; 72 hp); top speed: 165 km/h (103 mph); 0–100 km/h: 12.0 s (Argentinian development from C-series block, called C2L, available in Argentina and Colombia)
- 1.7 L (1721 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 carb.; 76 PS (56 kW; 75 hp); top speed: 173 km/h (107 mph); 0–100 km/h: 12.0 s (Available in TL and TLE models)
- 1.7 L (1721 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 SPI; 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp); top speed: 172 km/h (107 mph); 0–100 km/h: 12.5 s
- 1.7 L (1721 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 carb.; 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp); top speed: 185 km/h (115 mph); 0–100 km/h: 10.7 s (Available in TS, RS, GTS and TSE models)
- 1.7 L (1721 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 carb.; 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp); top speed: 181 km/h (112 mph)
- 1.7 L (1721 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 MPI; 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp); top speed: 185 km/h (115 mph); 0–100 km/h: 10.7 s
- 1.9 L (1870 cc) diesel SOHC 8-valve I4; 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp); top speed: 160 km/h (99 mph); 0–100 km/h: 16.0 s (available in SD and GSD models)
- 2.0 L (1995 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 MPI; 135 PS (99 kW; 133 hp); top speed: 220 km/h (137 mph); 0–100 km/h: 10.9 s (Available in GTX and TXE models)
- 2.0 L (1995 cc) petrol SOHC 12-valve I4; 136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp); top speed: 230 km/h (143 mph) ; 0–100 km/h: 9.2 s (available in the TXi and TXi Quadra models)
- 2.0 L (1995 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 MPI turbo; 175 PS (129 kW; 173 hp); top speed: 227 km/h (141 mph); 0–100 km/h: 7.2 s (available in Turbo and Turbo Quadra models).
- 2.0 L (1995 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 MPI turbo; 175 PS (129 kW; 173 hp); top speed: 217 km/h (135 mph); 0–100 km/h: 8.6 s
- 2.1 L (2068 cc) diesel SOHC 8-valve I4; 67 PS (49 kW; 66 hp); top speed: 164 km/h (102 mph) ; 0–100 km/h: 15.6 s (available in TD and GTD models)
- 2.1 L (2068 cc) diesel SOHC 8-valve I4; 73 PS (54 kW; 72 hp); top speed: 170 km/h (106 mph) ; 0–100 km/h: 15.1 s
- 2.1 L (2068 cc) diesel SOHC 8-valve I4 turbo; 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp); top speed: 177 km/h (110 mph) ; 0–100 km/h: 11.8 s
- 2.2 L (2165 cc) petrol SOHC 8-valve I4 MPI; 110 PS (81 kW; 108 hp); top speed: 192 km/h (119 mph) ; 0–100 km/h: 9.9 s