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Renault 5 E-Tech review

2025 onwards (change model)
” Achingly cool, wonderfully evocative new EV for £25k “

Pros & cons

  • Retro looks
  • Loads of technology
  • 52kWh has a 250-ish mile range
  • Entry-level model = limited range
  • Won't reach the UK until 2025

Written by Jake Groves Published: 27 February 2024 Updated: 28 February 2024


Renault has revived its iconic 5 hatchback as a new electric car. It appeared on the company’s stand at the 2024 Geneva Motor Show and, despite still looking like a show-stand prototype, Renault assures us that this is the finished product that will appear in UK showrooms in 2025.

That’s surprising because Renault launched a concept version of the 5 hatchback in 2021 – and it looks remarkably similar to this production-spec model. It’s rare for a manufacturer to achieve that feat, but the company’s boss was insistent about the car’s styling.

When Luca De Meo assumed his position as the head of Renault in 2020, he gathered all his designers in a conference suite to scrutinise the mock-ups they were working on. He spotted an early sketch of the 5 hatchback, instantly fell in love and told his designers to ‘build it,’ despite the fact it was one of the fanciful concepts in the room.

Renault 5 E-Tech Electric (2025): front three quarter static, high angle, yellow paint, studio shoot
The production Renault 5 was designed to look as similar to its concept as possible.

To make his engineers’ lives even harder, De Meo told them that the finished product had to be as close to that concept drawing as possible. But Renault made it happen – and the firm now gleefully brags that the finished 5 hatchback is 95% identical to its original concept car which, in turn, was penned to pay a faithful tribute to the original car from the 1970s.

Scroll down to learn everything we know about the Renault 5 E-Tech Electric. We’ve got all the info on the car’s practicality, interior technology, performance and driving range. Plus, we tell you when you’ll be able to buy one and how much it’ll cost.

Practicality and safety

The Renault 5 E-Tech Electric will replace the Zoe hatchback. It measures 3.92 metres long, 1.77 metres wide and 1.5 metres tall, meaning it’s slightly shorter and narrower than both the Zoe and the Renault Clio.

Despite this, Renault has packaged the 5 well. There’s enough space inside for five (at a pinch), and its boot measures 326 litres with the rear seats in place, making it a whopping 54 litres larger than that of the Vauxhall Corsa Electric.

Renault also boasts that the 5 has 19 litres worth of storage compartments dotted around its cabin, where you’ll also find a wireless smartphone charger. In addition, the firm will offer some 3D-printed storage accessories, including a clip-on baguette holder (!) for the centre console.

Renault 5 E-Tech Electric (2025): dashboard and infotainment system, complete with 3D-printed baguette holder
We’re glad Renault isn’t taking itself too seriously. Yes, that’s a baguette holder.

Renault is confident about the 5’s safety credentials, too. The car is yet to sit its Euro NCAP crash test, but the company claims its structure is strong enough to compete with cars from the class above – and buyers will be offered a broad range of assistance technology.

Key features include reverse automatic emergency braking, rear safe passenger exit and emergency lane-keeping assist sensors for the front and rear of the car, all of which Renault says were unheard of in the supermini class until the 5 arrived.

There’s even a safety coach that will ‘objectively assess the driver’s behaviour’ and provide personalised advice on how they can become safer behind the wheel. We’re not sure we like the sound of this function, but we’ll withhold judgement until we’ve driven the car.

Interior and technology

Even though the Renault 5 E-Tech Electric is a shameless love letter to the brand’s heritage, the company wanted it to still feel modern. Renault’s design director, Gilles Vidal, said: ‘The older generations will relate and have a connection to the 5, but my kids are fairly young, for example, and they don’t know these old cars. We designed this car so it would be interesting and attractive for what it is, without needing to relate to its history.’

The car’s cabin was obviously designed to appeal to a younger audience, with funky upholstery colours and an unashamed focus on technology. It features a 10.0-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.0-inch infotainment system that, like the screen in the Megane E-Tech Electric, is powered by Google software. You also get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

Renault 5 E-Tech Electric (2025): dashboard and infotainment system, yellow and grey upholstery
Renault has crammed a lot of tech into this small car. There’s even an AI assistant.

Renault also added a virtual assistant to the car, called RENO. It’s powered by the AI bot ChatGPT – and it’s designed to help EV newbies get the most from the car. The driver can ask it questions such as ‘how do I connect my phone to the car?’ and ‘how can I increase the range of my car?’ and the bot will provide answers in a natural, conversational manner.

There’s an awful lot of tech in such a small car but, thankfully, Renault hasn’t allowed itself to be dragged completely down the rabbit hole. Unlike any of the Volkswagen Group’s EVs, the 5 E-Tech has the same physical climate controls you’ll find in cheaper Renault models such as the Clio and Captur. That should make them far easier to operate on the move.

Powertrains and battery packs

The 5 is the first car to use the Renault Group’s AmpR Small platform. The architecture was designed to be as light and efficient as possible – and, to help keep costs down, it pinches some existing parts from the petrol-powered Clio and Captur.

Buyers will be able to choose from two powertrains. The entry-level model features a 40kWh battery pack and a 120hp electric motor, which Renault says offers a maximum range of 186 miles. Above that, there’s a 52kWh battery pack and 150hp electric motor serving up a more reassuring 248 miles of range.

Renault 5 E-Tech Electric (2025): rear three quarter static, low angle, yellow paint, studio shoot
Buyers will have a choice of powertrains and a maximum range of almost 250 miles.

Both powertrains support DC fast charging. The 120hp model can accept speeds of up to 80kW, while the 150hp variant supports up to 110kW. In both cases, Renault says it’ll take just 30 minutes to charge the batteries from 15 to 80% capacity.

From an 11kW AC charger, the 40kWh battery can be brimmed from 10% capacity in three and a half hours. The 52kWh option takes an hour longer using the same system – and both have vehicle-to-grid technology, meaning the car can sell an excess electricity back to the grid at peak times to save the owner money on their electricity bills.

What else should I know?

The Renault 5 won’t hit UK roads until early 2025 but, when it arrives, it’ll wade straight into a price war with the MG 4 EV. Renault hasn’t yet finalised the car’s price, but the company is targeting a starting figure of around £25,000. That’s incredibly reasonable.

It’s also incredibly responsible. Renault says the 5 E-Tech was designed to 85% recyclable – and that 22% of the materials needed to build it (which includes items such as the seat upholstery, steering wheel trim and interior insulation) were claimed from recycled sources. This initiative forms part of Renault’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality across the car’s production sites by 2025.

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