The Renault Twingo is the city car with a twist. It packs an engine in the rear and a surprising amount of space inside. It also looks pretty funky too.
The Twingo comes with a choice of two, three cylinder petrol engines. The first is a 1.0 litre SCe70 available in two guises. The first comes with 70bhp or an option with start/stop technology. Both are mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The second engine is a 900cc SCe90 with turbo power and is really the option to go for. The 70bhp feels underpowered and a little breathless, despite the Twingo’s compact size. Even the added power is not enough to invigorate the driving experience but it’s enough.
This is where the Twingo becomes a little disappointing. Its rear engined, rear wheel drive setup gave it something to be really excited about, but the truth is, rivals like the Volkswagen Up! and Hyundai i10 are better fun to drive. The suspension has been engineered to give a good balance between comfort and handling and it paid off. The Twingo grips well in the corners and its steering is direct but not very engaging. If you are looking for the maximum fun from your Twingo, the SCe90 is the the option to go for.
The Twingo is available with three different trims to choose from. These are Expression, Play and Dynamique. The entry level Expression offers a good level of specification including DAB radio with Bluetooth capability, electric windows, 15 inch alloy wheels and daytime running lights. Play adds air-conditioning and two tone alloy wheels while Dynamique brings further creature comforts and driver aids like a leather steering wheel and gear knob, exterior chrome touches and pin stripe details. Driver aids include lane departure warning and cruise control with speed limiter.
The Twingo gets a funky styled dashboard that’s appealing to the eye with a combination of customisable contrast colours. Its switchgear and toggles are parts you’ll recognise from other current models in the Renault line-up and feel both solid and robust to the touch. Despite its great design, the quality of material used on the dash feels a bit rough and ready to the touch. There are also a detachable cubbys in the front that remove to reveal some cup holders. While a clever idea on paper, in the car, it’s feels a little gimmicky.
The Twingo scored 4/5 stars in the Euro NCAP crash test which is a strong score and in line with the majority of its competitors. It comes with a decent level of safety technology as standard too that includes electronic stability control, emergency braking system, hill-start assist, tyre pressure monitor and a full set of airbags.
This is where the Twingo gets interesting as it is probably one of the most practical choices when it comes to city cars. Its rear engine set up means interior space is very good. Front seats passengers fair well while the rear is spacious enough to cater for two adults comfortably thanks to good leg and headroom. There are also storage pockets located beneath the rear seats, but the rear windows only pop open and do not wind down, which can make it feel a little closterphobic. The boot may only be 181 litres but the Twingo’s versatility in this area is impressive. The opening is well designed so it’s easy to get objects in. The rear seat bench also folds upright to make 219 litres of space and then fold flat to open up the cabin to an impressive 980 litres of space.