Renault R5 E-Tech Preview

Price: £25,000 (estimated)

Electrifying.com score

10/10

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​The Renault 5 E-Tech might be a small family car, but it packs a big punch. With its sporty looks and fun interior, an impressive range of technology fitted as standard across the range and a competitive price, this will be the car to beat in the compact electric car class.

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  • Battery size: 40-52kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 4.77
  • E-Rating™: A

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 100 kW
  • Range: 186-248 miles
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  • Battery size: 40-52kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 4.77
  • E-Rating™: A

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 100 kW
  • Range: 186-248 miles
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/bNI_D2IabPE?si=TBKFSMnr7zN8qsNm

Ginny Says

“​The Renault 5 E-Tech has it nailed. It’s come back in a fun, modern way, looking even better than the concept car we all fell for. With a relatively affordable starting price and a brilliantly designed, chic interior I have no doubt that Renault has a smash hit on its hands. ”

Nicki Says

“​Renault has shown that when it comes to style the French lead the way. Who doesn’t love a car with its own baguette basket?! But it’s clever tech like an illuminated state of charge monitor, bi-directional charging and ‘big car’ safety kit that impresses me most.”

Reviewed by 

Ginny Buckley

 - 
28 Feb 2024


Re-inventing an icon is never an easy thing to do, but that’s exactly what Renault is hoping to do with the reborn R5. Having seen MINI and Fiat successfully resurrect classic designs from the past, the French giant is betting big on its iconic supermini. It ushers in a new era of electric Renaults and will be followed into showrooms by a reborn Renault 4, which will also take styling cues from its famous predecessor. 

Renault R5 E-Tech styling and dimensions

Re-inventing an icon is never an easy thing to do, but Renault has pulled it off with the Renault 5 E-Tech. You can’t miss the design elements that have been inspired by the original Renault 5, but they’ve been updated with a modern twist. Stand-out features include the reinvention of the bonnet’s vent grille is a state of charge indicator in the form of the iconic number five, which lights up as the driver approaches - as do the pupil-shaped LED headlights that ‘wink’ at you. 

The trim that runs along the top of the windows can be specced in different colours, and you can personalise the roof with four different designs (our favourite is the bright red number five) just in case you forget what your car is called. There’s a choice of five body colours on offer; ‘Pop Yellow’ and ‘Pop Green’ are inspired by two iconic colours from the original, and you’ll also be able to mix things up with three different 18-inch wheel designs. Renault won’t be offering different wheel size options as it helps to keep manufacturing costs down. 

It is truly compact, too. At 3.92m long it’s shorter than the current Renault Clio yet has a bit more space inside thanks to the new ‘AmpR Small’ (catchy title, right?) platform that it’s built on. It’s five-door only, too, so it’s already got one up on the Fiat 500e and Mini Electric on that front. 

Interior

Inspiration from the original car is evident throughout the interior; in the two-tiered dash with its vertical stitching, the padded squares of the roof headliner and the comfortable seats, which are a throwback to the iconic R5 Turbo. 

You can also personalise your Renault E-Tech to your heart's content. There are five different gear selector covers (which were inspired by a Chanel lipstick case, no less), and laser printed covers and accessories for the central storage area that bring a sense of fun. There’s even the option of a clip-on baguette basket to stop you getting crumbs all over the seats. It could also be useful for holding flowers or a damp umbrella if a trip to the boulangerie isn’t so much a part of your daily routine.

Three interior trims are on offer - Evolution, Techno and a top of the range yellow and grey Iconic Cinq, which is our favourite. A high end Roland-Garros spec may well join the range at some point, as a nod to the partnership between Renault and the famous French tennis stadium. 

The infotainment system is made up of two screens, one in the driver’s eye line with speed and other key information, and a second infotainment touchscreen for all the entertainment, mapping and apps. The display is bright and the colours are vivid, while you can choose different colourways and themes - giving a combination of 225 different options. The system has been brought up to date with a Google operating system at its heart - including Google Maps - as we’ve already seen on the Renault Scenic and Megane. Renault say it has the processing power of a top of the range smartphone, while a personal assistant named Reno is powered by ChatGPT and is designed to respond to user queries and commands; e.g.: “Hey Reno, schedule a charge for 8am tomorrow” or “Hey Reno, how can I increase my range?”.

Whilst we can fault the front of the cabin, there are signs of the cost saving necessary to keep the Renault 5 affordable when you get into the back seats. It does feel compact back there, and you don’t get much storage other than pockets on the back of the front seats. If you want to carry people regularly in the back of your small electric car, then Citroen e-C3 and MG4 have more space. 

Boot space

The Renault’s boot space is 277 litres, which is bigger than you get in rivals like the E-208 and Fiat 500e. You’ll get a modest grocery shop in there with no problems and its easy to access with a high floor and the boot can also be divided using the 60-40 split/fold 3-seater rear bench. Unusually for a small car, the Renault 5 E-Tech also has a modest 500 kg towing capacity.

Battery, range and charging

There are two batteries up choose from; a 52kWh battery that gives the Renault an official WLTP range of 248 miles which will be the only option from launch, while a smaller 40kWh battery managing 186 miles will be joining the lineup at a later date.

The Renault 5 E-Tech comes as standard with 11 kW bi-directional charging including vehicle-to-load capability. This allows you to charge an electrical device - whether it’s your laptop or an e-bike - from the 5’s high voltage battery. It also means that the Renault supports vehicle-to-grid charging, which allows you to use the car’s battery to help balance your home energy or even to feed power back into the grid and earn money from it at peak times. You do need a home charger that’s capable of supporting this function, though; not all home wallboxes can do this even if the car has the necessary tech. 

Rapid charging peaks at 100kW for the big battery Renault 5, and 90kW for the smaller battery cars, which is similar to the speeds you get with most competition. There’s also a ‘plug and charge’ system, which you can sign up to and means there’s no messing about paying at the charger. A heat pump is expected to be fitted as standard across the range in the UK - which will make the car more efficient in cold weather for better range in winter. That gets a round of applause from us.

Driving

Nobody gets to drive one until later in 2024, and deliveries don’t start until the beginning of 2025, but insiders tell us to expect it to feel as fun as it looks. When it comes to performance there’s a single motor with three power outputs: 148bhp, 120bhp and 94bhp. The most powerful version also gets the bigger, 52kWh battery, while the two lower-powered versions are paired with that smaller 40kWh battery. 

The Renault 5 E-Tech electric comes with plenty of safety tech, much of which is usually found in cars from a class above, including intelligent adaptive cruise control that reads the road, and Active Driver Assist, a level 2 automated driving technology. 

Its compact size will make it very much at home in towns and cities, where a tight turning circle should make it easy to manoeuvre and park. That top-of-the-range Renault 5 can do 0- to 62mph in under 8 seconds, which isn’t tyre shredding but is more than enough for a car like this - and Renault’s sister brand Alpine has you covered if speed is your thing. You see, a really fast Alpine version of the Renault 5 will arrive soon, and will be called the Alpine A290.

Verdict

After a brief first look the electric Renault 5 E-Tech has really impressed us. It brings something fresh, interesting and affordable to the market. We’ll have to reserve final judgement until we’ve driven it and spent a lot more time with the car, so that we can put the claims about efficiency to the test and discover if that sense of fun we see in the design extends to the driving. But if you look at the Renault 5 E-Tech alongside the more obvious rivals like the Peugeot E-208 or Fiat 500e, the Renault certainly looks to be the more appealing car. 


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