It was time for a bigger Renault in the North American market and the 18i fit the requirements. The first year was 1981. Pricing started at $7398. The 18i was available in 4-door sedan and station wagon formats. Trim levels were base and Deluxe.
It was a larger car by French standards. However, by American standards it was strangely sized. It had a wheelbase of a subcompact at 96 inches. It had the length of a standard compact at 178.7 inches, sedan, and 181.5 inches, wagon. It carried the weight of a subcompact at 2400lbs.
Power was provided by a 1.6L EFI I4. Horsepower was sparse at just shy of 82. Torque was paltry as well at 86 ft/lbs. Transmissions were a choice of the standard Renault fare of 4-speed manual, 5-speed manual, and 3-speed automatic.
The 18i was imported until the 1983 model year under the same name.