1985 Renault 5 TR 1.2 from UK and Ireland


Reliable, even though it made a lot of fuss


Clutch cable snapped.

Gear linkage.

Heater matrix.

Starter motor.

Passenger side door lock.

General Comments:

A faded red relic that just kept going. Bought as a stop gap car, and ended up keeping it for years.

Generally it never felt all that strong, although I'm well aware at 190,000 miles it should not even really have still been going. Most of the plastics inside the car were cracked or cracking and broken. The speedo needle bounced up at down in between 30mph and 50mph, and the heater fan had a mind of its own.

Comfort wise it was OK; the seats were pretty tired and ripped. I put seat covers on them so the foam didn't get ripped. You could do a reasonable distance in it without much discomfort as the suspension was very soft. That meant the handling wasn't great so you couldn't hustle the little thing down a B road without thinking you were about to tip over.

The car was shockingly difficult to start cold and frosty, or slightly damp... you'd be there for ages coaxing her into life, coughing and spluttering. I'd have to sit, keeping my foot on the throttle, trying to keep her running enough to warm up, as driving her cold wasn't an option, as you'd just kangaroo up the road at about 10 mph, which was less than great. Probably why the starter failed, as it would get a morning work out. That said, she never actually broke down once going, aside from the odd random stall, and she'd always start again quickly and get me to my destination.

The car went in the end when the heater matrix dumped coolant into the foot well, wrecking my new shoes, and the gear linkage broke on the way to the garage to have the heater looked at.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th January, 2016

1st Feb 2016, 22:34

Well at 260k miles the poor thing had lived a long and effective life.

9th Feb 2016, 22:01

Having read a load of these R5 reviews, I have come to a simple conclusion. The cheap lower powered models offer cheap no frills and no thrills motoring - are damn reliable and go on forever - 260k miles on this one!!!

R5 Turbo - all the reviews reveal one thing - they are all thrashed and are therefore unreliable and expensive to keep going.

My conclusion? Buy yourself a low end model and sit back and enjoy cheap motoring.

10th Feb 2016, 01:02

Reading your review brought a lot of memories back of mine. It was a 1988 F 1.2 TR like yours, but in silver. Mine did the dumping coolant thing at around 100k. Being poverty stricken, I didn't fix it but wore a hat and gloves and fitted a cigarette lighter powered heater, which was next to useless! I remember some mornings the ice was thicker on the inside of the screen than the outside! It was my first car, so I'll always have a soft spot for it. Didn't have it much longer as I got the chance of a newer, lower mileage Fiesta from a family friend, so the 5 was sold very cheaply. However I think it would have carried on for a while had I kept it.

1985 Renault 5 TL 1.1 from UK and Ireland


Great little car, it always starts, and has never let me down :)


I have had two wheel bearings and the carburettor diaphragm replaced.

Slight rust on front right wing and under front window, although for its age, it's not bad at all.

General Comments:

I love everything about this car (almost).

It's light with a kerb weight of only 700kg.

It's fairly nippy for a 1.1.

It looks great.

Not so good up hills ha ha.

Avoid standing water, as this car will rust!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th July, 2012

1985 Renault 5 TSE 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland


If you can find one in fair nick, buy it!


Brake Hoses required replacing. Front to rear pipes on their way out as well.

Alternator issues which turned out to be poor wiring after all.

Interiors wear badly.

General Comments:

Excellent driving position, very comfortable seats that I've never seen on another car. They roll forward and back and are so comfortable.

The engine is a little noisy at 75mph+ in 5th gear, but the other gears are very well spaced and 60mph takes no time at all.

Fuel economy is better that many smaller engined Renaults because the engine doesn't have to work as hard.

Easy to work on compared to other French cars. Expect the unexpected when tackling a problem on these cars though. My alternator problem turned out to be the regulator connections!

Engine has lots of torque, it pulls up hills as well as much larger engined cars, and is a beauty when overtaking going up hill.

Comes with a good electrical spec (electric windows, remote central locking and electronic ignition module) but the electrics need to be looked after.

Handling is nothing like the R5 GT Turbo, but B road performance is still good.

Getting rarer now, but far superior to other standard model Renault 5s. If you can find one, choose it over the other models and you won't regret it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd December, 2003

23rd Jan 2004, 07:05

I agree the Renault 5 TSE is a far better car than the standard 5 in many respects. It is far better equiped and has better performance than the later 1.4 models, even the GTL. Mine has served me well now for 3 years with very few problems. The TSE is a very rare model of a very common car and as a result is special. Take care of your 5 and it will take care of you!

23rd Jan 2006, 14:23

I would like to update my earlier review. My 5 TSE is now on 136k and still going strong. I commute to work 40 miles away and have just completed a 700 mile tour of the UK. The drivers seat is beginning to show wear, but I have not had a single breakdown or mechanical fault with the vehicle. For a £50 car this has proved 100% reliable and is still very enjoyable to drive.