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The Renault 5 hatchback (aka the Le Car) is back as a retro-styled EV

This prototype previews a production model that's due by 2025 in Europe.

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Look at this little cutie!

Renault

The Renault 5 is back, and mon dieu does it look good. Renault announced its new Renaulution turnaround plan today, in which the French brand is set to become profitable and reinvent itself as a leader in electrification, introducing a number of hybrids and seven new EVs by 2025. To get people really excited about the news Renault unveiled this 5 Prototype, which it promises will go into production.

The new 5 takes inspiration both from the first-gen R5 of the 1970s and early '80s, which was sold as the Le Car (and the Lectric Leopard EV) in the United States, and the second-gen Supercinq model that was produced from 1984 to 1996. The retro 5 Prototype is immediately recognizable as a 5 without being too kitschy, and nothing about the design seems too concept-y or far-fetched to make it to production.

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The new 5 is retro without being kitschy.

Renault

It's got a distinctive face with rectangular headlights, square LED running lights in the front bumper, and a mostly closed-off front end with minimal vents and a large lit-up "Renault." In profile the new 5 looks nearly identical to the original cars with short overhangs, a floating roof design and a raked rear end with high-mounted taillights. It's a four-door hatchback, with flush handles for the front doors and hidden units for the rear doors. The back end is pretty minimal, getting another lit-up Renault logo in the textured diffuser and a light bar connecting the taillights.

Like with many French cars, it's the details that really set this design apart. The charging port is mounted on the hood where the original car had an intake, there are a bunch of subtle "5" badges and diagonally straked surfaces, and the side mirrors have subtle French flags on them. Even the diamond-shaped Renault badge has a new look with an '80s vibe. My favorite design cue is the boxed fender flares, which are reminiscent of the epic mid-engine 5 Turbo rally car and echo that model's venting at the rear lights. 

While Renault didn't release any photos of the interior, there's a glimpse of the instrument cluster that appears to be a HUD-style glass panel sitting atop the dashboard. In addition to the typical gauges you'd expect, it says "Hello" to passersby and indicates charge status. We can also see bucket seats with square cushion quilting and interesting lit-up headrest surrounds.

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The boxed fender flares are just like those on the original Turbo rally car.

Renault

No powertrain details were released either, but it's a sure bet that the production 5 will ride on Renault-Nissan's new CMF-EV platform, which made its debut on the Nissan Ariya crossover. That platform allows for front-wheel drive with a single motor or dual-motor all-wheel drive. Back in October Renault unveiled the Mégane eVision SUV concept on the same platform, which boasted a 60-kWh battery pack and a 280-mile range on the WLTP cycle. 

There's probably no chance that the new Renault 5 will make its way to the US, but given that the original did -- and was sold as an EV to boot -- we're not giving up hope. And with the news that the Alpine performance brand is going all-electric, we're keeping our fingers crossed that there will be a performance version of the new 5 that harks back to the original Turbo model. Because hey, if can use the word Turbo on its Taycan EV, why can't Renault?

New Renault 5 EV Prototype is the best kind of retro

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golson-hs
Daniel Golson Former social media editor

Updated Jan. 14, 2021 12:40 p.m. PT

Written by  Daniel Golson
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golson-hs
Daniel Golson Former social media editor
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