Renault Rodeo 5

I really like the Rodeo 5. 

You may think I wouldn't, given that the Renault Rodeo it's based off of is merely a copy of the Citroën Méhari…I'm not a fan of copies. Citroën was content to peddle the Méhari pretty much as-designed-in-the-late-'60s right up until the end of production in 1987. The Rodeo left production in 1987 as well, but had entered production a few years after the Cit.

Boring stuff out of the way, now we can talk about the huge number of variations spawned from these two utilitarian vehicles. Both were sold around the world, in some cases being locally assembled or modified for local use. The Méhari Ranger, for instance, was a South American special that featured a hardtop and other body modifications.

The Rodeo 5 was conceived of in a similar way. You're looking at the 1981 update to Renault's soft-roader, which featured attractive, blocky, almost futuristic bodywork. This could be Deckard's vacation express.

These variations in design to such a limited-production vehicle were possible because the Rodeo was made by subcontractor Teilhol, and presumably was earning enough from the deal to introduce limited editions—though perhaps these were a Renault request. Underneath all of the sexy cladding is a Renault 4 GTL, with a fire-breathing 34 horsepower 1,108-cc 4-cylinder* engine up front. Top speed? 115 km/h (71 mph)—as if it matters.

The Rodeo 5 you want? The only-made-in-1984 Rodeo Hoggar, which was fitted with all-wheel-drive, bull bars, and other desirable accessories. Models without all-wheel-drive but with the accessories were a limited series in 1985, named Sologne.


(Aug. 6) An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Rodeo has a 2-cylinder engine. Why? No idea. I messed up!