Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
The Renault 30TS
was the first Billancourt model to feature the five-door fastback body design and, equipped with the 2.7-litre V6 engine, it made for a very fast five-seater - at least by European standards - where the V8 Torana
was probably never heard of.
Then followed the Renault 20TL which was equipped with the 1647cc push rod four, similar to the unit used in the 16TL and 17TS. In what was, again by European standards, a large car, the engine was overstressed and underpowered, and this was born out in the mediocre performance and fuel consumption figures.
A happy medium was reached when an overhead-camshaft 1995cc engine was installed in that same body shell to produce the 20TS. The extra power gave the car a respectable performance for its class. You could option the 20TS with a three-speed automatic gearbox like that fitted to the larger 30.
The auto transmission
was developed at the Ruitz plant in Northern France, and featured an electronic control unit. Somewhat advanced for the time, and in the price range, the 'black box' took into account engine speed, driver command, vehicle speed and engine load, and thus made compensation and changes accordingly. It replaced the more conventional hydraulic system and was therefore meant to be more accurate and reliable.
Another advantage of the layout was that it allowed the fitting of a diagnostic plug for easy analysis of trouble. In practice, the gearbox worked well, although the changes were a little on the abrupt side - and by todays standards it would be considered crude. If the throttle was held to the floor, the engine would change gear exactly at the beginning of the red sector on the tacho, and so the manual hold on first and second ratios seemed needless.
In automatic guise, the car would still reach the red line in third gear, which works out at just over 103 mph. Acceleration was only a shade slower than the manual car with 0-60 mph taking 12.6 seconds. Fuel consumption worked out at 24 mpg which was good considering how hard the car was pushed in cross-country work.
One disappointment was how harsh the engine sounded at anything over 3500 rpm which, along with more than a fair share of wind noise, made things somewhat tiresome at high speed. The servo assistance on the power steering
worked well in hiding the naturally heavy trait of front-wheel drive, although the 20 did not suffer as badly as the more powerful 30 in this respect. Actually, the 20TS handled quite neutrally until pushed hard when the front wheels would momentarily break traction and skid wide.
It was quite insensitive to the position of the throttle and so would not suddenly change its attitude to oversteer if the throttle was released in mid corner. For all that the 20 TS was a car which encouraged spirited motoring and was equally at home in its role of a comfortable and roomy family sedan, which was easy and relaxing to drive, thanks to the all-independent suspension
by front MacPherson struts and semi-trailing arms at the rear. In 1981, the 2.2 litre fuel-injected R20 TX was added to the range, followed by the R30 Turbo Diesel. Production of the 20 and 30 ceased on 16 October 1983 to make way for the Renault 25.
Renault 20TS Quick Specifications
Front mounted, in-line, four cylinder. 88 mm (3.46 in) bore x 82mm (3.23in) stroke - 1995cc (121.7 cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 110 bhp at 5500 rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 1231b ft at 3000 rpm; light alloy cylinder block and head. Compression ratio 9.2:1.5 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder operated by single overhead camshaft. Weber 32 DARA carburettor. Note - this engine was shared with the Citroën CX and later the Peugeot 505
Three-speed automatic gearbox with torque converter. Ratios 1 st 2.222, 2nd 1.370, 3rd 0.926, rev 1.777. Hypoid bevel final drive, 4.125:1.
Front-independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs, telescopic damper struts, lower wishbones and anti-roll bar
, rear- independent by semi-trailing arms.
Rack and pinion. Turns from lock to lock 3.25.
Discs front, drums rear.
5.5in x 14in. Tyres 165SR x 14.
4 door, 4 seat. Integral.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 1 04. 68 in; track-front 56. 85 in, rear- 56.61 in; length 177.95 in; width 67.96 in; height 56.5 in; ground clearance 4.7 in; weight 25911b; turning-circle 36.7ft; fuel tank capacity 13.2 gal.
Maximum speed 103 mph; acceleration 0-60 mph 12.6 secs; fuel consumption approx. 25 mpg.
Differences between the Renault 30 and 20:
Technical differences between the 20 and 30 were that 20 used drum brakes
at the rear wheels, 13 inch wheel rims, and a smaller 60 litre fuel tank. The 20 came in three different trim variations: L, TL and GTL. The two cars were effectively two 'badge engineered' versions of the same car with separate numeric classification. The Renault 20 had two single rectangular headlights whereas the Renault 30 had quadruple round headlights. The interior specifications differed substantially however with the Renault 30 having a higher specification in all models. Over 622,000 R20s and 145,000 R30s were produced in Sandouville, Le Havre, France.