5 alive: Renault brings back its city slicker


Renault is to revive the classic R5 as an electric hatchback for urbanites. If the production version looks as good as the prototype, you can sign us up.

The new R5 will be one of seven new electric cars from the French firm launched by 2025. Most likely, the hatch will be joined by a smaller, modern interpretation of the R4, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2021.

The prototype R5 revealed by Renault has plenty of design cues from its forebearer, including the quirky trademark headlamp shape and the big Renault badge on the hood—which, in this application, hides a charging socket. The exaggerated front and rear fenders echo the sensational R5 Turbo. A hot Alpine version of the car is said to be under development as well.

Renault hasn’t revealed any technical specifications for the R5 as yet, but the car will play a key role in the company’s Renaulation plan. The firm aims to ramp up in-car tech, including Google services and on-board AI in its cars. It is seeking to become a clean energy brand and will introduce hydrogen power for light commercial vehicles. Renault will also begin repurposing over 100,000 used cars and commercial vehicles, switching them from diesel to bio-gas or EV power.

Whether Renault will return to the U.S. market is unknown. The company sold its last car on American shores in 1992, but the original R5 (or Le Car) was quite popular from 1976 until 1983 when it was marketed by AMC.

Renault 5-Le_Car
Jonathan Kellenberg / Wikimedia
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