However, for many export markets the entry level version was excluded from the range and front wheel disc brakes were offered on the more powerful 956 cc "Renault 5TL" along with such attractions under the bonnet/hood as an alternator, and in the cabin reclining back rests for the front seats.
The early production R5 used a dashboard-mounted gearshift, linked by a rod which ran over the top of the engine to a single bend where the rod turned downwards and linked into the gearbox, which was positioned directly in front of the engine.
The R5 borrowed mechanicals from the similarly popular Renault 4, using a longitudinally-mounted engine driving the front wheels with torsion bar suspension.
The Renault 5 was targeted at cost conscious customers, and the entry level "L" version came with the same 782 cc power plant as the cheaper Renault 4 and drum brakes on all four wheels.
In 1972, it was priced in France at below 10,000 francs.
OHV engines were borrowed from the Renault 4 and larger Renault 8: there was a choice, at launch, between 782 cc and 956 cc according to price level.
A "5TS/5LS" with the 1,289 cc engine from the Renault 12 was added from April 1974.