• Mar 18, 2011
Every automaker and their sister-company is getting in on the premium, stylish hatchback game. Mini is still the original, but the Fiat group has risen to the challenge with the 500, Alfa MiTo and new Lancia Ypsilon, Audi entered the fray with the A1 and Citroën is fielding the DS3. Most take their cues from a classic precursor, and now reports suggest that Renault could claim its share with the rebirth of what we knew as Le Car.

Launched in Europe in 1972, the R5 was an innovative vehicle and a hot seller in the old world. Unfortunately it never gained much ground in the U.S., where it was marketed as Le Car, but it did rack up considerable success in racing on both sides of the Atlantic.

If approved, a new version of the R5 based on the Clio would likely follow a similar approach as the Mini and 500, not to mention Volkswagen's New Beetle and upcoming Microbus. A return to the American market is tipped to be unlikely, but it wouldn't be entirely out of the question for Renault to offer "Le Nouveau Car" through dedicated sections of partner Nissan's dealerships here, not unlike the Fiat 500 and Chrysler.

[Source: Inside Line]


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  • 61 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think the R4 was more of an Iconic Renault product. The R5 was a huge success for the company but it wasn't the long time seller like the R4 was. My family owned three R5's over late 70's early 80's. two 3 doors and one 5 door.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I remember Le Cars coming through the auctions in the mid 80's. They would sometimes bring as much as $200 - if they sold. I wanted to buy one just for the heck of it, but my uncle refused to haul the thing home for me. I have no personal knowledge of them, but I can't imagine the Le Car having any worse build quality than the VW Rabbits of that day.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am dreaming. I must be. This car was one piece of ..........well, you know. What's next? The Yugo??? Good Lord, let the engineering nightmares lie in peace. (Buried Deep!)
        • 3 Years Ago
        The original R5 was a terrific machine, particularly with the 1.4 litre turbocharged engine. The exclusive mid-engine turbo version was a sensational beast.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ..they were complete rustbuckets after a few years.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Really? The LeCar? Why not just go all in and bring back the Alliance, too? LOL!!!!!
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Alliance turbo, sure.
      • 3 Years Ago
      To all the folks saying how this car was a POS ...

      Let's put thing into perspective here ... Europe in the early 70s is not Europe today ... Cars, European, Japanese, or American, are not the same .

      For the French, this car played a significant role and was to a certain extent, le people's Car of the time.

      The Fiat 500, the Beetle and the Mini were by no means great cars by today's standards and were all plagued by serious design flaws. We chose to accept some as part of the car's personality.

      Today's car companies are simply building on the percpeptions or reputation of these cars to sell over-priced Super-minis --which is, in all cases, the exact oppostite of what these cars were.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I had an '81 LeCar in the late 80s and loved it. It was roomy for its size, zippy around town, frugal on gas, comfortable on long trips, and of course very distinctive. The vertical radio placement and the horn on the turn signal stalk were a little odd, but that was part of the charm. It didn't have a glove box but had two "glove shelves." The steering wheel had kind of an odd angle to it, and if you were a little too ham-fisted turning corners, you'd hit the stalk that turned the wipers on. It did provide my mechanic some "learning experiences," though. Still one of my favorite cars.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My brother-in-law had one of these, it was the worst piece of right off the show room floor crap I've ever driven. However, I never had the chance to drive a Yugo.

      The thing I remember most about this car was how bad the interior was laid out. Everytime I'd down shift back into 1st gear, I'd hit the stalk on the steering column and turn on the windshield wipers.
        • 3 Years Ago
        eat me road rage
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bring back the R5 Turbo and we talk Renault!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Love it or hate it it does provide automotive variety. I love quirky cars of all sorts and I think the Le Car qualifies I am tired of looking at the same variation on a lame theme SUV's everywhere
      • 3 Years Ago
      I always lusted after the R5 Turbo II, but have scratched that itch with my substantially quicker '07 MINI Cooper S, with its PSA/BMW motor. Still love the chunky rear of the Turbo II, and it would be really fun to see that car built into a new Retro model.

      I agree that the French did appear to adore the R5, even making a market for the Supercinq way after the model had passed it's sell by date. But it was a love like an F150. Sometimes, strangely, love comes from ubiquity and utility rather than good design.

      Citroen's DS would be a much more obvious retro redux.
      nwgaprs2
      • 1 Year Ago
      I had a LeCar. Wish I still had the little thing. It was like a little tank! But, when it fell apart, it went down in a blaze of glory. If they are released for sell here in the US, I think I will get another one. Maybe red with air conditioning this time.
      Hubris
      • 3 Years Ago
      Am I high, or did Stephanie Zimbalist drive a Le Car for awhile on Remington Steele? Possibly not a fair question, as most people who have been watching old Remington Steele episodes recently are likely high themselves.
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