The Renault 16TX was an uprated version of the comfortable Renault 16TS. It had a four-cylinder, light-alloy push-rod hemi-head engine enlarged to 1,647 c.c. with the compression ratio increased from 8.6:1 to 9.25:1, to raise an extra ten b.h.p., for a peak-revs increase of only 250 r.p.m., 99 DIN horses being released at 6,000 r.p.m.
The engine drove the front wheels and was coupled to Renault's own 3-speed, computor-shift, automatic transsmission. Suspension, giving the renowned Renault ride, was independent front and back, using torsion bars.
Both the manual and automatic gear selector were located on the steering-column gear lever, with the gear selected in the automatic versions being displayed in the base of the tachometer dial. The auto gave reasonably smooth shifts, with the usual kick-down assistance if you required it.
The disadvantage inherent with cars fitted with automatic transmission of the era was that, if the engine had been started from cold, it would stall unless allowed a few moments to gel warm before being asked to pull in gear. In the case of the 16TX, this still occured despite a very effective automatic choke.
The Renault 16TX featured a good heating system but recourse to the instruction book was advisable to obtain the best results from it, the setting knob being hidden under the scuttle on the driver's right and having ten positions to control the volume of heat and mix cold air with it. A shallow vent ran along the base of the windscreen and was adjustable in sections.
The right hand stalk controls were located below a large and thick-rimmed steering wheel. The short one was just for the turn-indicators, the longer one operated the headlamps when twisted, and sounded the horn if its knob was pressed. It had to be pushed up to show sidelights, which resulted in a beginner to the Renault mystique driving about inadvertently at first on bright dipped dual Cibie QI headlamps. Moving it further up flashed the lamps on dipped beams and the beams could be adjusted to suit the cars load by a knob by the facia.
A facia rocker-switch had to be used to select the long-range headlamps. The handbrake was located way down on the right, a twist/fly-off ummbrella-handle affair, "upholstered" to match the leathery rim of the steering wheel. The facia had a small Jaeger speedometer and tachometer, grouped warning lights, matching dial for battery, fuel and engine temperature.
Press-switches at oppposite ends were flanked respectively by a clock and one of the fresh-air vents. The switches were for the electric wjndows which the TX has on its front doors and the sun-roof. The other battery of switches looked after wipers for windscreen and rear window, the aforesaid long-range lamps, and rear-window demist ing. To wash the screen you used a foot· control, which also wiped the glass.
The reason for going into so much detail is to convey the complexities of the car. Even more examples could be mentioned, such as the bonnet which had to be unlocked with a key before it could be opened and propped up, presumably to safeguard the spare wheel, which lived horizontally therein. Then there were all to many seat permutations, which enabled the Renault 16TX to carry many different loads, from child-in-cot to pet-dog, as efficiently as possible, up to full station wagon trim. The lockable lift-up taillgate enhanced the latter facility.
The cloth-covered seats were very comfortable, with back rests for the front ones precision-set by large, somewhat inaccessible knobs. Another Renault speciality was that all four doors, but not the taillgate, could be locked from one door, by key externally, or by turnring a knob internally, through electro-magets - this system being the equal of the top Mercedes-Benz models and the Rolls-Royce Camargue. A further Renault refinement was a battery master-switch on one terminal of the Voltor 180E2 36 a.h. battery. Reverting to the electro-magnetic door locking, red pips within the sill-locks indicated if it was functioning. It was annoying, however, that the ignition-key went into the door-locks without operating them. Another irritation was the amount of light reflected from the plated instrument surrounds and control-stalks.
Disappointing was the heavy steering, and the engine became harsh when cruising above 70 m.p.h., not that many would get such an opportunity. The otherwise quiet ride was gained at the expense of excessive cornering roll, not noticed all that much by the car's occupants. The servo disc/drum brakes were effective, and the car was no slouch on the open road, with a top speed of around 106 m.p.h. and good pick-up that would go from rest to 60 m.p.h. in under 11 seconds. That applied to the manual gearbox model, the automatic being some three m.p.h. slower. The tachometer had an initial warning from 5,400 r.p.m. to 6,000 r.pm. and "the red" was from there to 7,000 r.p.m. Stowages consisted of a padded-cover well between the front seats, a lockable cubby down by the front passenger's knees and a tiny well adjacent to the facia tray.
Standard kit on the TX version included grab handles, centre arm-rests, a steering lock, cigarette-lighter, a very clever interior-cum-map light, lights for cubby hole and boot, anti-dazzle mirror, underbody anti-corrosion treatment, laminated windscreen, tinted windows, a rear roof-spoiler and 14 in. Michelin ZX tires on special sports-type wheels. It was geared 18.5 m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m. in top-gear. The fuel tank, the cap of which had to be opened with a key, held 11 gallons. Given the Renault 16TS had been released in 1968, to some extent the car had dated, however the TX remained a fascinating car nevertheless.