2024 Renault 5 retro electric car unveiled, Australia under consideration

The 1970s Renault 5 has returned with electric power, retro design, and a dedicated slot to hold a baguette. Australian plans are yet to be announced.

The vintage Renault 5 of the 1970s and 1980s has returned as a retro-styled electric car, with up to 400km of claimed driving range, and a price placing it among Europe’s cheapest electric cars.

It is on Renault Australia’s wish list for local showrooms – along with the upcoming Alpine A290 hot-hatch version – but it is yet to be locked in, even though a right-hand-drive version has been engineered for the UK.

The showroom-bound Renault 5 is near-identical to the so-called ‘Prototype’ version unveiled in 2021, and is a reboot of the original R5 launched in 1972.

It is priced from €25,000 ($AU41,000) – which makes it one of Europe’s most affordable electric cars, and only €1200 dearer than a Renault Clio hybrid city hatchback in France.

The low price – by electric-car standards – is thanks to shared parts with petrol-powered Renault and Nissan models, said to make the car 30 per cent cheaper to build than Renault’s previous Zoe electric hatch.

Design highlights include square signatures in the headlights and daytime-running lights, flared wheel arches inspired by the 1980s Renault 5 Turbo, black, red or ‘warm titanium’ window surround accents, and vertical LED tail-lights.

Measuring 3.92 metres long, 1.77m wide and 1.5m tall, on a 2.54m wheelbase, the five-door Renault 5 is about 7cm longer bumper to bumper, 5cm wider, 7cm taller and 4cm longer in wheelbase than today’s Mini Cooper three-door electric car.

The front and rear overhangs are kept short, and the 18-inch wheels “flush with the body” thanks to wide tracks. The Renault 5 is between the pint-sized Twingo and Clio city hatchbacks in overall length.

Renault says the 2021 concept was “was designed without any constraints of feasibility,” but through “the latest prowess in engineering, these proportions have been scrupulously maintained in the production model.”

Five exterior colours are available at launch – including Pop Yellow and Pop Green, inspired by hues on the original Renault 5 – plus a charging indicator on the bonnet.

Inside, there are 7.0 or 10.1-inch digital instrument displays depending on the model, and a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, with wired/wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Google Maps navigation, and a variety of built-in Google apps accessible through the Play Store.

The air vents are a nod to the exterior design, there are multiple layers of padding on the dashboard, and the gear selector is mounted to the steering column, with an end cap that can be customised with accessories.

The seats are trimmed in fabric or denim – with available blue or yellow accents – much of which is produced from recycled fibres and plastic water bottles.

Drivers can customise the graphics in the infotainment system, which also includes a ‘Reno’ voice assistance powered by ChatGPT artificial-intelligence software.

Standard features across the European model range includes 18-inch wheels, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, keyless entry and start, electric parking brake, and LED headlights.

Renault boasts this is “the very first car specifically equipped to carry baguettes,” with an optional “woven wicker basket … [which] can be placed to the right of the centre console for this purpose. No more flour or crumbs on your lovely upholstery!”

Boot space of 326 litres is claimed with the rear seats in place, in addition to 19 litres spread across various interior compartments.

The Renault 5 is underpinned by the French car maker’s new AmpR Small platform – previously known as CMF-B EV.

It is claimed to cut costs by “sharing a number of parts with no impact on electric performance (such as the front suspension)” with petrol-powered Renault and Nissan city cars – while “[taking] a no-compromise approach to … aspects specific to the electric drive system, particularly motor and battery integration.”

Powering the Renault 5 is a choice of 40kWh or 52kWh battery packs, good for 300km and 400km of estimated WLTP driving range respectively.

Both batteries use nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry similar to most non-Chinese-made electric cars, and are said to use a simpler design than previous Renault electric cars to reduce complexity and weight.

The 52kWh battery is matched with a 110kW/245Nm front-mounted electric motor – which is derived from the Megane E-Tech Electric, but is shorter and lighter to fit in the Renault 5 – while the 40kWh pack is available with 90kW/225Nm or 70kW/215Nm motors.

Renault claims a 0-100km/h acceleration time of “under eight seconds”, 80-120km/h in “under seven seconds”, and a 150km/h electronically-limited top speed with the 110kW motor.

DC fast charging is available at up to 100kW with the 52kWh battery – or 80kW with the 40kWh battery when paired to the 90kW motor – both capable of a 15 to 80 per cent fast charge in 30 minutes.

AC charging at up to 11kW will be standard, with the ability to power external electrical devices using the battery – or send energy back to the electricity gris – available on most models.

Renault says the R5 has a tight 10.3-metre turning circle, multi-link rear suspension for improved handling and ride comfort, and electronics which merge the anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control into one module for quicker responses.

There is no ‘one-pedal’ drive mode – as seen in most new electric cars – but a ‘B’ mode is available to increase the level of regenerative braking. A heat pump which warms the cabin with excess heat from the battery is available.

Available advanced safety features include autonomous emergency braking (forward and reverse), lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centring assist, and hands-free parking.

There is a physical shortcut button placed next to the steering wheel that allows the driver to tailor the intensity of the safety system beeps and lane-keep assistance to their preferences, with a single click.

The 2024 Renault 5 E-Tech Electric – as it is officially known – is due to go on sale in Europe later this year, followed by the UK in early 2025.

A spokesperson for Renault’s Australian distributor told Drive: “We see great potential for Renault 5 in the Australian market … we are working with Renault on the business case for that model – and others – for the Australian market.

“In terms of timelines, specification and pricing, these are all obviously contingent on the business case so it would be premature to talk specifics at this stage.”

The car will be manufactured at Renault’s Douai factory in northern France, with battery packs and electric motors also produced nearby. Renault claims the R5 uses 19.4 per cent recycled content, and that the electric motor contains no rare earth materials.

MORE:Search Used Renault Cars for Sale
MORE:Search Used Renault Cars for Sale


Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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