Electric Car Awards 2023: Readers' choice
What Car? readers were given a 12-car shortlist, and asked to vote for the upcoming electric model that they're most excited about seeing in showrooms...
Amid a backdrop of rising costs and the planned 2030 ban on new petrol car sales, the reborn Renault 5 could be the answer to many motorists’ prayers. It’s small and stylish, and when it goes on sale late next year, it’ll be one of the cheapest new electric vehicles (EVs) you can buy.
It clearly resonates with What Car? readers, because in an online poll to find the upcoming EV they’re most excited about seeing in showrooms, it beat 11 other contenders, including the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N performance car, Mini Cooper E hatchback and Polestar 3 and Volvo EX30 SUVs.
Revealed in concept form in 2021, the new 5 takes clear design inspiration from the 1972-1996 original (below), featuring the same sort of angular headlights, chunky proportions and gently sloping rear end. However, its technology is rooted firmly in the here and now.
The new 5 is powered by an electric motor producing 134bhp, paired with a 40kWh battery on entry-level cars and a 52kWh battery on pricier versions. Renault is targeting an official range of 249 miles with the larger battery, which compares favourably with what you get from other retro small EVs such as the Fiat 500 (199 miles) and Honda E (137 miles). Even with its smaller battery, the 5 is expected to get close to 200 miles.
There’s no word yet on the performance of regular versions, but Renault’s sporting brand, Alpine, is preparing a hot variant of the car, called the A290, which will produce 215bhp. The target for this is a 0-62mph time of 6.9sec, making it a rival for the Abarth 500e hot hatch.
The 5 is expected to be able to charge at the same 130kW maximum speed as the Renault Megane E-Tech, meaning a 10- 80% top-up will take around 30 minutes at public rapid chargers. The 5 is also capable of feeding energy back into your home at times when tariffs are high.
Inside, the new 5 is expected to offer five seats, further visual references to the original, and a 9.0in infotainment touchscreen borrowed from the Megane.
To keep its price low, the 5 shares up to 70% of its underpinnings with existing Renault models, including the Clio small car and Captur small SUV. The anticipated starting price of around £22,000 is less than you’ll pay for an electric Fiat 500, let alone a Honda E or today’s Mini Electric. And while the Dacia Spring will be cheaper still, that makes do with a range of between 136 and 149 miles.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here