There was a point at which enormously powerful EVs stopped being impressive. Perhaps it was when we started paying more attention to how many of these cars weighed more than a small moon and cost about the same as one. What you see here, though, isn’t that kind of electric car.
It’s the new Renault 5-Tech, and you’d be forgiven for wondering if you’ve seen it before, but you’ll be thinking of the concept version. This is the one coming to Renault showrooms in 2024, and it’s deviated only slightly.
Yes, it now sits a bit higher and the wheels are a more sensible size, but still fairly large for a small-ish car at 18 inches in diameter. On the size front, it comes in at 3.92 metres in length, about 9cm shorter than a Clio and 40cm longer than the old-school 5 this car riffs off for its styling.
It’s reasonably light, too, tipping the scales at around 1,500kg. And it’s not like Renault has achieved this by fitting a tiddly battery - you can have the car with either a 40kWh or 52kWh unit.
The bigger-battery model has an official WLTP range of up to 248 miles, and while that’ll likely mean more like 200 in ‘the real world’, that’s plenty for what’s billed as a city car. Meanwhile, the smaller one manages 186 according to the factory figure. Once you need more juice, 100kW charging capability makes a 15 to 80 per cent top-up possible in 30 minutes.
The 52kWh 5 gets a pokier motor, outputting 148bhp to the 40kWh 5’s 118bhp. Both are pretty quick, with the more powerful version dispatching the 0-62mph sprint in under seven seconds, and the entry-level 5 under eight. If you want to go faster, there is going to be an Alpine version eventually.
Even if you stick with the Renault version, this should be a fun-to-drive car. The French manufacturer is making a big deal out of the 5 having multi-link rear suspension, which is fairly unusual for a small car like this. It also has a quick steering ratio of 13.7.
Inside, there’s a 10-inch digital instrument cluster and an infotainment screen of the same size housed in one rectangular unit. It sits atop a minimalistic dashboard which still has - gasps - physical climate controls. There’s a special denim fabric made from 100 per cent recycled PET water bottles cladding various surfaces including those of the seats.
As far as the price goes, we don’t know that just yet. Renault has said before that it was aiming for around €25,000 (about £21,000), but it may end up costing a fair bit more. Not cheap for a small car, but in EV terms, that’s good value.