Categories: News

Twingo, R5, 4L: the three future neo-retro stars of Renault will make you fall in love

Renault is going to launch a real seduction operation with no less than three electric city cars, planned by 2026, each more charming than the last!

How do these new developments fit together? What are their strengths? And which one will you be looking forward to?

R. DEMARETS

We tend to forget it, but Renault was – along with BMW, Nissan and, of course, Tesla – one of the pioneers of the electric car, at a time when the latter only aroused polite curiosity. Launched in spring 2013, the Zoe sold less than 6,000 units in France during its first year on the market! The takeoff of the French market for “battery-powered” cars is very recent: before 2020, they had never reached 2% of registrations. Seven years is a very long time, and we can understand the weariness of Renault, which preferred to settle for a major replastering of its Zoe in 2019. However, this was very bad timing, since a growing number of more modern and more seductive rivals. Suddenly, the avant-garde Zoe became “has-been”: too banal, no longer in the game. Since then, Renault has worked harder with the help of its ally Nissan, by developing a platform dedicated to electrification (the CMF-EV, since renamed AmpR Medium) on which the Megane and the Scenic E-Tech are based. A good start, but the fight now comes down to price.



R. DEMARETS



R. DEMARETS



R. DEMARETS



R. DEMARETS



R.DEMARETS

The challenge of the first prizes

However, what is missing from the manufacturer’s electric range are affordable and attractive models, for that matter. Because the competition is not idle! In addition to Tesla, whose Model Y was the best-selling new model in the world last year (all engines combined), we must now take into account the very ambitious Chinese brands (MG rose to 18th place in sales in France in 2023, ahead of Mini!). The Europeans are not to be outdone, notably Stellantis which is preparing its weapons: the Citroën ë-C3 will arrive in April with a first price of €23,300 excluding bonus (and even €19,990 in 2025!), followed by a Fiat Panda 100 % electric. Fortunately, Renault is preparing its response in the form of a three-stage rocket: first the R5, which will be unveiled at the next Geneva Motor Show (February 26 to March 3), then the 4L in the fall. As for the third stage, the one which should put Renault electric sales into orbit, it will be the highly anticipated Twingo, which will however make us wait until 2026. Common point between these three models: if they are moving full throttle towards the all-electric horizon of 2035, they are keeping an eye in the retro! It’s a bit of a hobby of the general director of the Renault Group, Luca de Meo, who helped to resurrect the Fiat 500 and Abarth in his previous functions, with the success that we know. Let’s start with the R5, which will arrive first. For René Demarets, our design specialist, it’s a success: “The stylists have well interpreted lines that were not easy to grasp, such as the trapezoid profile typical of the R5 of the 1970s, or the fold in the rear fenders.” However, they did not hesitate to beef up the look of the newcomer, “particularly at the level of the front shield, which expresses power while showcasing the work of the aerodynamicists.” Based on a modified Clio platform, the R5 will adopt a rare earth-free engine (like the Megane E-Tech) and two battery sizes (40 or 52 kWh), for a range of 300 or 400 km. Finally, its sophisticated multi-link rear axle should provide an excellent comfort/handling compromise. As for its compact size (3.92 m * compared to 4.08 m for a Zoe), it should make it a queen of cities, hoping that habitability does not suffer too much! There remains one problem: with a starting price just under €25,000, the R5 is not the “discount” city car we were hoping for. This is precisely where the new Twingo will come in, which will start at just under €20,000! Here again, it’s neo-retro, “but which remains modern in its treatment” would like to clarify our friend René. “And the Twingo returns to a unibody profile, going against the current fashion for all SUVs. It’s a bet!” No sharp corners: here, curves are law, as on the first Twingo.

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