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The Renault 14 is a small family car produced by the French manufacturer Renault between 1976 and 1983.

It was the first car to be produced in large volumes at the company's then new plant at Douai, although small pilot runs of the Renault 5had preceded the 14's production in the factory.

History

Featuring front wheel drive, the 14 was developed as a competitor in the small family car segment, which had been opened up by theVolkswagen Golf. Initially, the 14 was available in L and TL trim levels with a 1.2 L single overhead camshaft engine sourced fromPeugeot; later 1.4 L versions with 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) (R14 GTL) or 70 PS (51 kW; 69 hp) (R14 TS) joined the line-up. The design was generally well thought out and practical with interior space a major selling point, including a rear seat that could either be folded or removed completely. In addition, the spare wheel was carried at the front, under the bonnet and above the transverse 4-cylinder engine that was inclined backwards by 72°. Although all Renault cars were by now front wheel drive, the 14 was the first of the manufacturer's models to incorporate a space saving Mini-like transversely mounted engine. The exterior styling of the Renault 14 was praised by the motoring press as being fresh and ahead of its time. The 14 shared with several previous Renault models a rear suspension system using two full-width torsion bars positioned one behind the other, along with the resulting wheelbase difference of more than 1 inch (32 mm) between the left and right sides of the car.

"The Pear"

Things got off to a bad start with a disastrous advertising campaign that compared the 14 to the shape of a pear. A preview at Paris' Pompidou Centre as a bare bodyshell did little to win it customers. The car would later gain a reputation for premature body corrosion which saw the 14 being dubbed as the "rotten pear" by the motoring press. In France, "La poire"' (literally "the pear", but also slang for "gullible") still refers to the 14. However, the best-selling Renault 5 also had a reputation for premature body corrosion, but the stronger and more adequate advertising of the R5 helped boost its sales and resulted in it being a sales hit.

The car also had a reputation for being difficult to start in damp conditions. The placement of the temperature gauge on the transmission tunnel behind the gear-lever, rather than on the instrument panel where it was directly in the driver's field of view, led to incidents of engine damage if the engine overheated and the driver failed to notice.

Relaunch

Renault later attempted to enhance the car's appeal by relaunching it with improved equipment levels, but the damage was done and the production run ended in 1983 with around one million units sold over a period of just under seven years. The 14 is now a rare sight on the roads of Europe, even in its home country of France where they have tended to last longer than elsewhere due mainly to easy parts availability through the extensive dealer network. Many Renault 14 were used by the French police in the 1980s.

Its joint successors, the 9 and 11 appeared in 1981 and early 1983, respectively. The front end of the pre-facelift Renault 9 looked similar to the front end of the post-facelift Renault 14. However, both the Renault 9 and 11 had more conservative exterior body styling.

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