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New 2024 Renault 5 arrives! Retro EV city car sets class standard with 249-mile range

The reborn Renault 5 arrives to take on the MINI Cooper and Fiat 500 as the battle for all-electric city car supremacy heats up

A stellar concept car can often be a challenge to turn into a production version, with real pressure to deliver something close to the show vehicle. That’s been precisely the case with the reborn Renault 5, presented at the 2024 Geneva Motor Show in the MINI and Fiat 500-rivalling form that you’ll be able to buy in the UK this autumn.

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The 5 is a baby electric car with a choice of battery sizes, seating for five people and a boot capacity that’s the equal of many larger superminis. And having been walked around the vehicle in the studio by Renault design chief Gilles Vidal, we can confirm that the production 5 looks every bit as stunning as its preview concept.

The production version sits on a fresh architecture called AmpR Small – developed by Renault Group’s Ampere EV division, and renamed from its original title, CMF-BEV. The platform has been conceived to support pure-electric vehicles, but to help cut almost a third from the development bill, engineers made heavy use of the front end of the petrol and hybrid-powered Clio and Captur.

With an overall length of just 3.92 metres, the 5 is compact. That makes it longer than conventional city cars such as the Hyundai i10 or Fiat’s 500, but shorter than pretty much any modern supermini. Renault says the 5 is nine centimetres shorter than a Clio overall, but that the wheelbase is only four centimetres shorter. Unusually for such a small vehicle, its standard wheel size is 18 inches, a key way of delivering on the concept’s promised stance.

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The biggest visual difference on the production car comes at the front, where Renault’s design team has played around with the headlights. The final execution references Manga comic characters to help give the 5 even more of a facial expression – something that the car builds on by ‘winking’ one of its eye-like headlights towards the keyholder as they approach.

Renault has retained the distinctive air-intake motif on the bonnet – another nod to classic small Renaults of the past, such as the 5 and the original Twingo. The modern reinterpretation isn’t an intake at all, but instead a display that can show charge levels and indicate when the vehicle is plugged in.

The side features the same hidden rear door handle as the show car, and a slightly higher roof profile than the Clio (the 5 is six centimetres taller), while at the rear, Renault has dropped its usual logo (still present on the nose) and replaced it with the company’s name and a specific 5 badge.

Customers in continental Europe will be able to buy the 5 with an entry-level 94bhp motor, but UK buyers are expected to be offered just the two more powerful options, with 121bhp/225Nm of torque and 148bhp/ 245Nm. We will get both battery options, though – 40kWh with the 121bhp motor, and 52kWh with the 148bhp unit. Renault UK plans to offer both set-ups across a wide variety of trim levels, allowing drivers to pick a better-specced version with the shorter-range battery, if it suits their lifestyle.

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The 148bhp/52kWh combination will be the initial launch spec; the brand says that this set-up can take the 5, which weighs just under 1,500kg in big-battery form, from 0-62mph in less than eight seconds, and 50-75mph in less than seven seconds. The top speed is 93mph. Renault has yet to issue any official range figures, beyond saying that the small-battery edition could manage around 186 miles (300km) between charges if used in town, while the 52kWh version should be able to travel up to 249 miles (400km) between charges.

The smaller battery gets 80kW DC charging, while the larger pack can be refilled at up to 100kW, which means a 15-80 per cent top-up can be achieved in just under half an hour. A heat pump is likely to be standard on all UK versions, and the car and battery can be preconditioned via Renault’s smartphone app.

In addition, all UK models should feature 11kW AC bidirectional charging, allowing you to hook up to a three-phase AC wallbox (more common at commercial premises than at UK homes), power a device from the Renault (vehicle to load), or use the car to help manage power flow within the network by feeding electricity back to the wallbox (vehicle to grid) – a feature that some electricity suppliers offer discounts through.

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The 5 will have a ‘B’ setting for more aggressive brake-energy recuperation, but at launch, the car won’t be able to be driven in a single-pedal mode. Renault engineers say the feature could be introduced in a future model-year update, although it would require extra hardware.

Inside, Renault has aped elements from the original mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo, with an H-shaped motif on the seats. Finishes range from a denim material made from recycled PET bottles, to a vivid mix of heather-yellow and grey produced from recycled fabric. Based on the cars we spent time with in a Paris studio, material quality is up there with a Clio’s, with most harsher finishes hidden away in areas that you’re unlikely to interact with.

The entry-level version has to make do with a seven-inch digital instrument panel, instead of the 10-inch item fitted through the rest of the range. But all editions get a 10-inch central infotainment system.

Inside, the cabin feels a little tight for four taller adults, but respectable given the 5’s compact dimensions. The boot capacity is 326 litres, around 60 litres down on a Clio’s, although 27 litres of that is beneath the floor, where it’s all but certain to be used to store the car’s charging cables.

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In time, the range is set to feature three core trim levels: Evolution, Techno and Iconic Cinq. Evolution versions will get the 10-inch infotainment screen along with keyless entry and start, 18-inch alloys, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and full LED headlights with auto high-beam functionality. Step up to Techno trim and you’ll get Google integration in the infotainment system, a reversing camera and wireless smartphone charging, while Iconic Cinq brings a two-tone paint job, heated seats and steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and additional design embellishments.

Five colours will be available at launch: white, black, dark blue and two ‘pop’ shades, the yellow of the concept and a vivid metallic green. These finishes can be customised with a choice of graphics that will be offered “at the end of the configuration process”, plus there’s a choice of three alloy-wheel designs, all 18 inches.

The new 5 will be built in north-west France, as part of Renault’s ‘Electricite’ manufacturing base in the region. There’s no word yet on UK pricing, and while Renault says the car will cost from 25,000 Euros in France, that would be for a more basic model than those offered in the UK, and include the country’s substantial electric vehicle incentives.

As a result, we’d expect Renault UK to position the 5 north of the incoming batch of cheap EVs, led by Citroen’s e-C3, and at a more affordable point than the latest MINI Cooper Electric, at around the same price as the zero-emissions Fiat 500. That could give the model, complete with the smaller battery and more modest motor, a starting price of around £25,000.

Click here for our list of the best small electric cars...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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