Renault 5 (1972 – 1984) Review

Renault 5 (1972 – 1984) At A Glance


+Great styling, reliable drivetrain, cool and classless

-Rusty and rare

The Renault 5 was designer Michel Boué’s legacy to the automotive world. Tragically, he would never see his labours bear fruit, dying mere months before the Renault 5 was launched in December 1971. The three-door hatchback was based on the utilitarian R4, sharing its longitudinal 845cc engine and torsion bar suspension layout (and differing left and right wheelbases). The styling was super-chic, though, and when it went on sale in 1972, the Renault 5 caused a sensation being a supermini pioneer, alongside the Autobianchi A112 and Fiat 127.

Wraparound plastic bumpers made the 5 Paris-friendly, and a wide range of engines gave the driver plenty of options – through the years, it received ever more power, and in 1979 a five-door version added even more practicality. As the the years rolled on and more rivals were introduced, the R5 never lost its appeal, remaining the best selling car in France until it went out of production. An all-time design classic, and becoming increasingly valued today.

Ask Honest John

How many Renault 5 Monaco 1720cc manuals are left on the road?

"How many Renault 5 Monaco 1720cc manuals are left on the road?"
Our how many survived data from the DVLA doesn't allow us to break down the info to that level, I'm afraid - we can only say how many Renault 5s are left ( Worth contacting the Renault Owners Club ( to see if they can help.
Answered by Keith Moody

I'm looking for a classic car to run around the city - what's a good buy?

"I'm looking for a classic car to run around the city - reliable, easy to park, won't rust away at the roadside and able to stand up to lots of stopping and starting. Probably automatic. What do you suggest?"
You've got plenty of choices here - but there are a few factors to take into consideration. How much have you got to spend? What kind of era are you looking for? And how worried are you about it getting dinged and scratched? For cheap and cheerful you could do a Renault 5, late-model Minis were available with a three-speed auto, or if you're feeling flush a Fiat 500. Fancy standing out a bit? Then a Datsun Cherry could be worth a look. If you're not too tall, then consider something like a Nissan Figaro (for modern cons and a sunshine lid) or a Suzuki Whizzkid.
Answered by Keith Moody

I want a bit of 1980s nostalgia - what do you suggest?

"I grew up in the 1980s in France and am now really keen to grab a piece of motoring nostalia from this era. I'd love a convertible ideally. I'm not a motoring expert at all, but probably can learn to do basic stuff. I've got a budget of up to £5K. Do you think it's realistic to find something matching my criteria? And what would you look for in terms of make/model. I've always loved the Peugeot Roland Garros convertible but not sure you can get it in the UK?"
Have a look at our roundup of usable (and affordable) convertibles from the 1980s and 1990s for inspiration ( If you'd like to use your car all year round, Citroen XMs (launched at the end of 1980s) are good value or you could go for a Peugeot 205 convertible (but watch for rust). There are few guidelines to follow when buying a car of this era. Although most were well rustproofed, the tinworm can still strike - especially if a car's been damaged in an accident. You'll also want to make sure that it's been well looked after so history is a must. Finally, try and find one that's been used - it's all well and good finding a timewarp low-mileage model but modern classics like these suffer from lack of use and their more complex mechanical components such as fuel injection can suffer, which will cause running and reliability issues. Go for something quirky and French and you'll come in well under budget - unless you go for a popular high-value model like a Citroen 2CV, Talbot Matra Rancho, Renault 5 Turbo, or Peugeot 205 GTi. You'll also enjoy the support of a great bunch of petrolheads via the club scene.
Answered by Keith Moody

Can you recommend a Renault specialst classic car garage?

"I have a 1980 Renault 5. Please can you recommend a classic car garage which is a Renault specialist?"
Without knowing where you're based or what jobs you need doing, it's not that easy to recommend a specialist for you. We could direct you to Renault Reborn in Louth, Lincs, (07946 590362) but they might be hundreds of miles away from you and you might not be looking for restoration focussed work. Why not give the Renault Classic Car Club ( a call? They'll have a list of all the specialists and hopefully be able to find one close to you.
Answered by Keith Moody
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