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Renault 5 E-Tech Is a $27,000 Retro-Inspired EV Hatchback

renault 5 etech
Renault 5 E-Tech Is a $27,000 Retro-Inspired EVRenault
  • Renault revealed the production version of the 5 E-Tech yesterday, which looks shockingly similar to the concept shown in 2021.

  • The electric hatchback is capable of up to 249 miles of range and comes with front-wheel drive and a maximum of 148 horsepower.

  • The approximately $27,000 starting price is eye-catching, but sadly the French automaker has no intentions of re-entering the U.S. market.

We'll admit it: we're jealous. The Renault 5 E-Tech was unveiled yesterday, and not only has the electric hatchback translated the 2021 concept car's handsome styling to production with minimal changes, the 5 E-Tech has all of the range and power you'd need for city driving while costing the equivalent of just $27,000 at current exchange rates. Sadly, we'll have to admire the 5 E-Tech from afar, since the French brand has expressed no plans to return to the U.S. since its 1987 exit.

renault 5 etech
Renault

Renault says the production car shares about 95 percent of its design with the concept, and we're glad the short, squat proportions and bold lighting will reach the streets mostly unchanged. The styling pays homage to the original Renault 5, which ran from 1972 to 1985 and featured a boxy silhouette accentuated by squared-off headlights pushed out to the edges by a thin rectangular grille. The headlights here has gained some dynamism, but echo the same look and are linked by a black trim piece, since the EV doesn't have the same cooling requirements.

The assertive fog lights—a square formed by four L-shaped LEDs—recalls Renault's rallying heritage with the Renault 5 Turbo, the legendary mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive variant from the '80s. A glossy black panel on the left side of the hood, which displays the battery level as the driver approaches the vehicle, is a nod to the vent found on the old-school gas-powered Renault 5. The new 5 E-Tech's design is rounded out by sharp vertical taillights and eye-catching badging across the tailgate and along the front edge of the door, with a stylized "5" embedded among a series of closely spaced hash marks.

renault 5 etech
Renault

Inside, Renault has fitted a large 10.1-inch touchscreen and another 10.0-inch display behind the steering wheel, which share a housing that is tilted slightly towards the driver. The layout is straightforward, with a series of buttons below the air vents and storage cubbies all around.

The 5 E-Tech is the brand's first vehicle to ride entirely on their new AmpR Small platform, sports a 100-inch wheelbase, and is said to weigh under 3307 pounds. All Renault 5 E-Tech's feature front-wheel drive courtesy of a single synchronous electric motor with three available power outputs: 148 hp, 121 hp, and 94 hp. While these numbers may seem low by American standards, it should easily be enough for navigating the narrow and twisty streets of Paris. A multi-link rear suspension is an abnormality for this small and affordable class of cars in Europe.

renault 5 etech
Renault

The largest battery on offer, a 52.0-kWh unit, provides an estimated range of 249 miles on Europe's WLTP test cycle. DC fast-charging capability will be up to 100 kW, and the 11-kW AC unit will allow for bidirectional AC charging, so you can power electrical accessories via the car or sell power back to the grid when demand for energy is high. Renault even says the 5 E-Tech can tow up to 1102 pounds.

Unfortunately, the Renault 5 E-Tech is unlikely to make it to America. While a sportier Alpine variant is planned—previewed by last year's A290_β concept—the hot hatch is not expected to be part of Alpine's expected breakthrough into the U.S. market, which is instead set to be lead by a series of electric crossovers. Excuse us while we go book a vacation to Paris.

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