The Renault 21 is a large family car produced by French automaker Renault between 1986 and 1994. It was also sold in North America initially through American Motors dealers as the Renault Medallion and later through Jeep-Eagle dealers as 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.
In 1987, What Car? awarded the Renault 21 GTS Best Family Saloon. The Renault 21 Savanna was awarded Car of the Year, as well as Best Family Estate.
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.
The Nevada/Savanna station wagon/estate version was a little longer, with a 2750 mm (108.26 in) wheelbase, instead of the 2600 mm (102.6 in) of the sedan version, and configured with seven seats, two of those a forward facing foldable bench seat for children (up to about age 10) that used up much of the luggage space. It had roofrack side rails as standard.
Early in 1986, the R21 was launched, giving Renault a new competitor in this sector after eight years of the R18. 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).
It was sold in right-hand drive for the UK market from June 1986.
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, following the launch of the all-new Laguna liftback, but the diesels and the Nevada/Savanna remained on the market, until their replacement Laguna variants were launched (late 1994 for the diesels and late 1995 for the Nevada/Savanna).
A Renault 21 TSE donated as a personal gift to Václav Havel by the president of Portugal Mário Soares just before the Velvet Revolution served for a while as the official state car of the President of Czechoslovakia in 1989.
The R21 was built in Argentina, at the Renault facility in Santa Isabel (Córdoba Province) from late 1988 until early 1996. Production continued in Argentina for some years after its demise in European markets. Two body styles were built: 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 liftback was imported from France and called by the trim "Alizé". Was replaced for the Laguna.
The R21 was manufactured in Turkey in early 1990s under the name Optima (entry model), Manager (1.7L 90 hp) (later Manager 2000 with 2 L 122 hp engine), and (top of the line) 2.0L injection Concorde. This car produced and sold up to late 1996 in Turkey.
The R21 was also sold in the United States and Canada in 1987-88 as the Renault Medallion and later in 1988 until the end of the line in 1989 as the Eagle 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 the newly formed Jeep-Eagle Division of Chrysler, and now as Jeep-Eagle dealers, they continued to sell the car as the Eagle Medallion until 1989. The North American version had somewhat different styling to comply with front and rear impact regulations and different lighting standards.
The 21 was launched in Colombia in 1987. Initially it was available in four-door body,with 2.0 L longitudinal engine. In October of the same year, the Renault 21 Nevada was launched, with the same engine as the saloon. in 1989 Sociedad de Fabricación de Automotores S.A. (SOFASA) launched a version called RS with engine 1.6 C2L, used also in the TXE version of the Renault 9. In 1990 the name was replaced by the Étoile. The three available versions available were:TS Saloon, Break, Penta (hatchback body) Engine 1.6 L 73 PS (54 kW; 72 hp), manufactured until 1994
Tx with engine 2.0 L 100 PS (74 kW; 99 hp)
Txi after called Bravo: engine 2.2 L 128 PS (94 kW; 126 hp).
1.4 L (1397 cc) petrol OHV 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 OHV 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: 7.4 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: 222 km/h (138 mph); 0–100 km/h: 7.8 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