5 E-Tech is retro done right by Renault

Keen driver dynamics and charming design for Renault’s new EV.

French car brands are celebrated for their excellent compact hatchbacks, combing style, clever design, packaging and affordability. Renault’s reimagining of the iconic 5, could be a big hit for the company’s EV ambitions.

The Renault 5 E-Tech is built on Renault’s Ampr small car platform, which shares engineering hardpoints with the Nissan Juke and Renault Clio. Realizing that compact EVs are where Chinese car companies could conquer a legacy of European customers, Renault has poured R7D resources into the 5 E-Tech, to create a car with a distinctive design, credible range and rewarding driver dynamics.

> Read more: Scenic returns as an EV crossover

5 E-Tech true to Renault’s original superhatch

There’s no question that the packaging and styling of Renault’s new compact EV are excellent. It remains true to elements of the original 5, without being too pastiche. But most importantly, Renault hasn’t cheapened the driving dynamics to achieve a specific affordability price point.

The original 5 was known as a style icon and tidy driver’s car, and this new EV version of the nameplate features engineering details that prove Renault’s commitment to creating a quality driving experience. Unlike most compact cars’ torsion beam rear suspension standards, the 5 E-Tech features multi-link suspension at both rear wheel corners. This should smooth out ride quality and improve dynamic balance during high speed, tightening radius corners.

Powering the 5 E-Tech are two battery pack options, 40- or 52kWh, using a nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry. Three electric motor output grades are available, with 94bhp, 121bhp and 148bhp power ratings. The most popular option should be the mid-tier 121bhp motor, which delivers 0-62mph acceleration in just under 8 seconds.

> Read more: Considering the Renault Zoe 

5 E-Tech can share power

Range and recharging are more essential decision points for EV buyers than acceleration, and Renault’s compact EV is configured to plug into 80kW DC fast chargers.

Buyers who opt for the 52kWh battery pack option will own a compact EV capable of 100kW fast charging. All versions of the 5 E-Tech can deliver 11kW of external charging capacity to other devices, with the promise of connecting to the grid for potential power vending.

But what about range? Renault claims the 40kWh battery specification 5 E-Tech is good for 186 miles of driving, with the 52kWh version increasing that to 249 miles.

> Read more: Renault Clio E-Tech updated 

Futuristic and sustainable

The 5 E-Tech’s cabin architecture prioritizes sustainable materials, with denim fabrics, lots of recycled polymer and no option for leather. EU launch pricing for Renault’s 5 E-Tech is £21,400, with a probable landing price of £25,000  in the UK, when it arrives early next year.

Few companies have a stronger compact car design lineage to draw upon for reinterpretation than Renault, which is valuable as the demand opportunity for EVs shifts from wealthy early adopters to a broader middle-class customer profile. 5 E-Tech could define the French brand’s EV market standing, much as the original version did in the hatchback market when launched in the 1970s.

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