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New Renault 5: 70s icon reborn as retro electric supermini

The electric Renault supermini gets a 249-mile range and a design reminiscent of original from the seventies

It’s finally here: the Renault 5 has been reincarnated as an electric supermini to rival the likes of the MINI Cooper Electric and Vauxhall Corsa Electric, with a range of up to 249 miles and a variety of retro design features.

Renault 5: design and interior

Production cars seldom look anywhere near as good as the concepts which preceded them, but the new Renault 5 looks almost identical to the R5 show car that debuted all the way back in 2021.

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Essentially a modernised version of the original Renault 5 from the 1970s, this new fully-electric model gets many of the old car’s design traits. There are the square headlights and fog lights (the latter of which are now mimicked by a pair of sleek LED daytime running lights), plus the boxy overall shape, which tapers down towards the rear where the taillights form part of the C-pillar.

Other neat design flourishes include the rear door handles which are housed within the door frame, giving the five-door Renault 5 a sporty three-door look, as well as the ‘5’ logo which appears through a transparent opening in the bonnet and illuminates whenever the car is charging.

At 3.92 metres long, the electric Renault 5 is much larger than its comparatively pokey petrol predecessor. It’s shorter than, say, the Peugeot E-208, but it’s slightly larger than the Fiat 500e. Renault says there’s space for five – from our experience it’s slightly tight in the rear for taller adults – but a boot capacity of 336 litres is on par for this type of car.

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Speaking of the inside, the new Renault 5 pinches much of its in-car technology from the larger Renault Megane. That’s no bad thing, however, as we really like this Google-based set-up in other Renault models. In the 5 it comprises a 10-inch instrument cluster (base cars get a seven-inch display), as well as a 10-inch central touchscreen.

The retro theme continues here, too, with the electric Renault 5 harking back to the old Turbo model with the split design of the front seats, which are also stamped with the ‘5’ logo and have been constructed using recycled denim. We like how the ribbed leatherette dashboard is a subtle nod to the plastic arrangement of the original 5, too.

Like with its MINI Cooper rival, buyers will have a relatively wide scope to customise their Renault 5. You can choose from, appropriately, five exterior colours – white, black, navy, green and yellow – as well as a handful of graphic decals which can be specified “at the end of the configuration process”. That’s not all, as there are three alloy wheel designs to choose from – all measuring 18 inches in diameter – plus Renault plans to offer a variety of 5-branded accessories, including a baguette holder – we wish we were joking.

Range, battery and electric motor

UK Renault 5 buyers will be offered two powertrain set-ups: entry-level cars will get a 121bhp electric motor, as well as a 40kWh battery, while top-spec launch cars get a more powerful 148bhp electric motor, as well as a larger 52kWh battery pack. Renault says the latter is sufficient for 0-62mph in under eight seconds and a top speed of 93mph – both thanks, in part, to the 5’s lean weight of under 1,500kg.

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Exact WLTP range figures have yet to be revealed, but Renault has said that the base 40kWh model should be able to manage 186 miles on a charge if used around town, while the 52kWh car is good for up to 249 miles. The two battery sizes offer 80kW and 100kW maximum DC rapid charging speeds respectively, and can both be charged from 15-80% in under 30 minutes.

Renault says the 5 will support 11kW AC bi-direction charging, meaning you use it to power other devices, or even feed energy back into the grid – something that some energy suppliers like Octopus are offering free charging for. We also expect all UK examples to come fitted as standard with a heat pump for more efficient driving in the colder months.

In mainland Europe, the Renault 5 will be offered with an entry-level 95bhp electric motor, but this isn’t expected to come to the UK. We will, however, get the Alpine A290, which is essentially a high-performance version of the Renault 5, courtesy of the brand’s sports car division. This is due to arrive in the latter half of this year.

Prices and specs

The Renault 5 is set to go on sale in the UK in the autumn, with prices starting north of around £25,000. There will be three trim levels to choose from – Evolution, Techno and Iconic Cinq – with buyers able to mix and match with the two powertrains in order to suit their personal requirements.

Standard equipment looks to be strong from the outset, with base Evolution models still getting digital dials, that aforementioned 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and full-LED headlights with automatic high beams.

Spend a little extra for the Techno model and you’ll unlock all of the Google-based features of the infotainment system, plus you’ll also get a wireless charging pad for your smartphone, as well as a reversing camera. The flagship Iconic Cinq model introduces a two-tone paint scheme, as well as heated seats, a heated steering wheel and front-and-rear parking sensors.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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