The French manufacturer announced, in mid-January, an electric version of its legendary Renault 5, which was particularly successful in Quebec in the 1970s and 1980s.
The “Renault 5 Prototype” will be one of seven new 100% electric models that the company is due to bring to market by 2025.
What will remain of the original Renault 5? That is the question.
According to the press release to which the Renault press team sent us, this reissue will take up the main lines of the original design and spirit.
We talk about a “fun and playful side”, with a yellow body “very pop”. With an “instantly recognizable” look. “Winks” to the original model “at the level of the side grille, the wheels and the rear logo”.
This tribute to the brand’s roots aims to “rediscover the spirit of the glorious times”, underlines the manufacturer … while insisting on the very current aspect of the operation.
If the Renault 5 Prototype is inspired by a cult model of its heritage, Renault wanted a vehicle “anchored in its time”, hence this electric version and this updated design with more robust forms.
In addition to the styling elements, the new R5 will include a charging hatch hidden under the hood air intake, LED headlights, all-electronics and some “French touch” type “gimmicks” (they are the ones who say), with fabric roof “inspired by French furniture” and blue-white-red flags on the mirrors.
Renault therefore draws on its past to project itself into the future. This new model, focused on nostalgia and new environmental concerns, thus joins the Fiat 500 and the Volskwagen Beetle in the field of neo-retro cars.
No coincidence: it was Luca de Meo, the new CEO of Renault, who had the idea of making new with old. This Italian businessman, who replaced Carlos Ghosn at the head of the company, is used to the neo-retro concept, since he is also responsible for the return of the Fiat 500 in 2007.
The unenthusiastic “vintage”
Among fans of the “vintage” R5, this new model nevertheless collects mixed opinions, as evidenced by the comments collected on Renault 5 Une belle histoire, a Facebook page devoted to the purchase and sale of the original Renault 5.
“You have to know how to live with the times! It can be a great all-electric experience. And then, it has the genes of the Renault 5, with some nice details. For my part, I find it rather successful ”, underlines Jonathan in particular.
Patrick, on the other hand, sees it only as a “pure marketing” approach, which has lost the popular and affordable spirit of the original R5.
“The design of the R5 was innovative, but imagined with a logic of contained price to be accessible to the purchasing power of more modest households. Today, this new R5 seems intended for a fashionable silver clientele, inclined to be enthusiastic about vintage references and to be green, provided they have the connected gadgets of the moment. In fact, I wonder about the real ecological impact of these electric versions whose recycling and maintenance will be much more expensive than for the R5 of the 1970s. ”
A popular small car
Created in 1972, the Renault 5 was the best-selling car in France from 1974 to 1983. It will be available in different models, from GTA to GTL, including the Turbo, the Alpine and the Supercinq. An electric model, which can go up to 80 km / h, will even be tested in 1971.
The R5 also leaves mixed memories in Quebec, where it will be sold from 1976 to 1986.
Renault’s mini was so popular with us that it will hit 50% of the small car market in the province. This success can be attributed in part to advertising campaigns such as “J’ai attrapé le chnac” (with the late Ghyslain Tremblay) or that of the “camel”, with Robert Charlebois.
Like all Renault cars, however, the 5 was not made for our harsh winters. Its owners may remember its corrosion issues and inadequate heaters, which will sometimes turn the experience into a nightmare.
Renault ceased to be sold in Quebec at the end of the 1980s.
The Renault 5 Prototype is due to hit the road in 2023. According to Renault, it should cost less than 20,000 euros (CAN $ 30,000). Note that the company has been producing electric cars since the launch of the Zoe in 2012.