Matt Kimberley profile picture Matt Kimberley 4 months ago 2
Blog

5 More Retro Hatchbacks We’d Like To See Reborn As BEVs

With eyebrows around the world going all ooh-la-la at the concept renders of the future Renault electric hatchback, we’ve identified the targets we’d like to see get an EV reincarnation next

Remind me later
5 More Retro Hatchbacks We’d Like To See Reborn As BEVs - Blog

Who doesn’t love a radical and handsome concept, right? From the Lamborghini Miura to the Range Rover Evoque, the most attention-grabbing concepts are always a big hit. With news that Renault is looking at rejigging the memory of the charming 5 hatchback into an all-new, staggeringly good-looking BEV, we’re firmly in the mood for more.

Don’t imagine the future 5 will look quite as advertised. As per the Honda e), when compared to the jaw-dropping concept the production version looked like it had been styled and dressed by its mum. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a pretty thing; it just lacks the concept’s drama. On that basis don’t expect the 5’s flared arches and wild air intakes to stay quite as they are. Also, if those enormous wheels end up being standard I’ll eat my own shoes. Anyway, here are some more classic superminis that definitely (maybe) deserve a new life in the electric era.

Peugeot 205

5 More Retro Hatchbacks We’d Like To See Reborn As BEVs - Blog

There’s actually nothing wrong with Peugeot’s cars right now. It’s currently churning out its best vehicles since its days of ultimate space and comfort in the late 1980s. But as much as the e-208 is a decent little thing, it’s very expensive. Perhaps a simplified ground-up new design in the mould of the genuinely wonderful 205 might give Peugeot the chance to find useful efficiencies and bring the price down to a more appealing level.

The 205 hatchback’s iconic lines (not designed by Pininfarina, as some mistakenly think) are as pretty today as they ever were. The sizing is a sticking point, as for all these cars; with modern crash safety regs you simply can’t make useful conventionally-designed cars that small any more, but there’s no doubt a reborn 205 would look every bit the Gallic champion. Stick a T16 badge on it and it could even make use of concept-style fat arches and wide wheels…

Vauxhall Nova

Irrational anger: building
Irrational anger: building

Oh, how I hate the Vauxhall Nova. The only car I loathe more is the Citroen C3 Pluriel. Ask me why, if you like, but you’ll need to clear your calendar for at least two working days. The Nova was an ugly, inefficiently designed rotbox whose paint had faded almost before it left the showroom. It was a tired, unappealing relic in its own time, but because of that, it was cheap. Cheap to insure, too.

Wannabe racers who couldn’t afford an A80 Supra would buy them and put the largest exhaust exits possible on them, in tandem with de-badging, ‘smooth’ bonnets (with vents) and tailgates, a respray in some lurid shade of fluorescent nightmares and, of course, a combination of back-breaking lowering springs and a body kit that left them scraping even the smallest speed bumps. The Nova was horrible in every way no matter what anyone did with it. And yet a lot of people quite liked it, oddly. Time for a reset?

Audi 50

5 More Retro Hatchbacks We’d Like To See Reborn As BEVs - Blog

The Audi 50 was one of the brand’s earliest collaborations with Volkswagen. As you can see, it’s basically a rebadged MkI Polo. But with Volkswagen ploughing its ID sub-brand, the chances of a new-age original Polo are slimmer than an under-fed earthworm. On the other hand Audi’s current wares only go down to the surprisingly porky A1, so a light, lithe city biffabout modelled on the 50 would be a hugely stylish and desirable way to underpin the range for the 2020s and beyond.

We think Audi could work wonders with the classy chrome-lined features of the 50, from the full-width grill from which the two round headlights gaze out, to the handsome shoulder line and cheeky fuel filler cap design on the C-pillar. It could look outstanding; we’d love to see a concept.

MG Metro

5 More Retro Hatchbacks We’d Like To See Reborn As BEVs - Blog

For the little MG a reincarnation would mean a chance to right so many of the long list of wrongs afflicting the original. It could have been brilliant if it wasn’t for truly awful build quality, rustproofing and recycling of already chronically outdated parts. The mock-wire-effect alloys, wedge nose and big ol’ graphics up the side made for an end product that was more bark than bite.

Picture this, but stylishly re-done with reliable battery power and at least adequate build and materials quality, for a bargain price. MG’s Chinese backers have the technology and the manufacturing might to make it happen. After all, the current petrol-burning 3 is a fizzy little thing with no small amount of enjoyment factor. Why not look to the future with a nod to the past?

Ford Fiesta MkII

Glorious in every detail
Glorious in every detail

The Ford Fiesta has been a thing for so long, we felt like we needed to specify a generation. The MkII, especially in riotous XR2 spec, was an absolute hero of its age. Flared arches, speed stripes and aerodynamic(ish) body trim, all enhanced by lower ride height and glorious pepper-pot alloys, made this generation of Fiesta the one that really caught people’s imaginations. It was a good job, too, because the third generation suddenly looked pretty limp by comparison. Nobody even mention the fourth.

We can easily imagine a ruggedly handsome re-style of the MkII, with cues from the XR2, powered by batteries and with looks to light up the car park on a Saturday night, much as the original did (albeit for more antisocial reasons). Something about this retro, boxy styling perfectly suits the electric age. We’d be lucky pups indeed if these pipe dreams become reality.