When it goes on sale on February 14 next year the RX4 will be in direct competition with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Land Rover Freelander and will feature permanent four-wheel drive transmission and electronically-managed front wheel traction control as well as sporty headlamps, a redesigned rear and 16in alloy wheels.
But while most will go into retail, Keith Hawes, Renault's fleet and commercial vehicle operations director, is certain it will be a hit with user-choosers. 'In the last few months I've seen a phenomenal choice of vehicles available to fleets. Where an employer really wants to keep his staff, extending choice becomes a key part of the remuneration package. The RX4 is expected to cost about £18,500.
Hawes also believes Renault's Avantime, a return to the Grand Touring Coupe, sector, will benefit from the same substance over badge prestige phenomenon. The Avantime, which was on display for the first time in the UK at Earls Court, is a 'luxury coupe' powered by a 3.0-litre V6 24v engine coupled with a new six-speed gearbox. It is due to go on sale in October 2000, priced £25,000 to £30,000 and is first in a line of top-of-the-range models promised from Renault in the next two years.