The Renault 5 is back as a retro-inspired EV for the 21st century

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 11:55 am
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 11:55 am

Recognise this? Yup, it’s the Renault 5. But not just any Renault 5. This is Renault’s electric interpretation of the iconic hatchback and … it’s about to become reality.

The new-generation retro-look Renault 5 will be a five-door electric supermini. I know, it looks like a three-door; but the rear doors have been neatly integrated into the design and the door handles hidden in the C-pillar.

The electric Renault 5 will become the keystone of the French carmaker’s EV ‘Renaulution’ transformation as it plans to launch seven fully-electric Renaults by 2025. And leading the charge will be the the Renault 5 as it takes the fight to the likes of the Honda e, Fiat 500e and Mini Electric. Expect the electric 5 to enter showrooms in 2023.

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Most people I know — certainly of my generation — had at least one Renault 5, which was produced from 1972 to 1985. I owned two at different times in the late-Eighties, early-Nineties. The first, a first-generation standard entry model, the second a Gordini. Wow, it was stunning. Anyway … back to today.

What you see here is the Renault 5 Prototype, and the French manufacturer says it’s a close-to-production glimpse of the new electric model. According to Renault CEO Luca De Meo, it’ll be on sale at an affordable price.

Clearly it takes its external design strongly from that of the original Renault 5. Penned by newly-acquired former PSA designer, Gilles Vidal, the silhouette is representative of the original. But look closer and you see the modern details, including the headlights, the bootlid and even the shape of the taillight signatures. Plus, I love the red ‘5’ badge which will be illuminated on the tailgate.

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The model in the images also boasts wider rear wheelarches and a red stripe livery. These not only doff their hat to the original R5 Turbo hot hatch, but give a clue that there might well be a high-performance version of the new model.

“The design of the Renault 5 Prototype is based on the R5, a cult model of our heritage,” Vidal said. “This prototype simply embodies modernity, a vehicle relevant to its time: urban, electric, attractive.”

There are some very clever styling elements on the Prototype, but which have been repurposed from the original car. The foglight in the lower front bumper are actually daytime running lights, and the air intake on the bonnet hides the charging hatch. Clever.

No interior shots have been revealed yet, but the images definitely show what looks like a minimalist dashboard with only a transparent digital instrument panel visible on top of the dashboard.

Renault has yet to confirm when the production version of the Concept 5 will go on sale — I suspect it’ll be 2023 — or give full technical specifications. However, we do know it will be joined by a new electric version of the Renault 4 supermini in the its future line-up.

But there’s no question, news of an electric Renault 5 will certainly whet the electric appetite of those who enjoyed the iconic original. I for one can’t wait.