The Renault 6 was launched at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, and was intended to be an upmarket alternative to the Renault 4 that would compete with the Citroën Ami 6 and the recently launched Citroën Dyane. It used a similar dashboard-mounted gear-lever and over-the-engine linkage to that used in the Renault 4 and the small Citroëns with which it competed. The R6 used the R4 platform as well as its 845 cc engine and was technically near-identical, but its hatchback body was larger and more modern. Visually it resembled the Renault 16.
In its first two years of production, the R6 was criticised by the press for the R4-derived engine's lack of power in the heavier R6.
However, a new version of the R6 using the 1.1 litre Cléon engine (an engine used in the Renault 8 since 1962) was unveiled at the 1970 Paris Motor Show and was widely regarded as a big improvement.
The new car also had higher equipment levels as well a new gearbox, cooling system and front disc brakes. For the Spanish market the R6 was made available with a 956 cc engine, due to vehicles over 1040 cc being taxable under Spanish regulations.
In 1974 the R6 was revamped with square headlights, new rear lights, a black plastic grille, and new bumpers. The front indicator lights also moved from between the bumper and the headlights to the bumper itself.
Production and sales in France and most of Europe ended in 1980 with no direct successor, but in Spain and Argentina the car was still produced and sold until 1986.
In Colombia the car was discontinued in 1984, when the Renault 9 started production.