As you may very well know, the French invented the CUV.
Here it is, the Matra Rancho. Strictly FWD and with an 80 hp Simca motor, the Rancho was best suited for asphalt although it could do some light off-roading. However, what the Rancho was surprisingly good at was hauling people. With six seats, the Rancho also doubled as an MPV, thus spawning the Espace as its successor.
Of course, as with any great pioneering vehicle, a 1:64 version of it must exist! Here, we have Corgi’s lovely three-inch rendition complete with opening tailgate. Still, while the Espace replaced the Rancho literally as Matra’s people carrier, in reality there was a far closer spiritual successor that Renault rolled out in 2000.
That was the Renault Megane Scenic RX4. A compact-MPV with an off-road appearance, the RX4 ironically had more off-road cred than the more rugged-looking Rancho with its Steyr Daimler Puch 4x4 system! This three-inch version is made by Universal Hobbies and is lovely in many ways, but they totally screwed up the trunk opening!
Anyways, the Scenic RX4 was well received but not terribly popular, so Renault discontinued it for the next generation. There was a ‘Conquest’ trim level that added body cladding but was nowhere near as capable as the RX4.
So there you have it! The tale of the French compact-MPV as it progressed from pseudo-offroader to real 4x4 and back again! Now, let’s ORAT (even though we probably shouldn’t!)
Back in the lightbox, we once again have a scale comparison for anyone who’s curious—the Majo is a bit bigger than the rest at 1:58, but most are approximately 1:64.
Happy French Friday everyone! Thanks for looking, and see you around LaLD!