Possibly the most fun you could ever have in an electric car, the Renault Twizy may not be practical in terms of luggage space, but is very useful in the city.
The moment you look at the Twizy, you can’t help but smile from ear to ear, it looks out of this world and provides about as much comfort as a pram, but it’s a lot of fun to drive. As it is electric, it doesn’t have a conventional combustion engine, but a 13kw Lithium Ion battery that gives the little Twizy a total of 17bhp. As the car only weighs just 450kg, the torque from the electric motor provides decent acceleration and enough performance to make your way through traffic and urban areas at a decent pace. It has an impressive top speed of 80kmh and range of 90km from full.
The Renault Twizy is technically classed a Quadra cycle, not a car so it is technically set up like a four wheeled motorcycle. So the ride is not the smoothest and the Twizy tends to crash over the everyday lumps and bumps that Irish roads throw at you. This stiff setup does however result in good grip and handling making the Twizy immense fun to drive. It also feels reassuringly stable for such a small and tall little car. You can really have as much fun as you like with the car.
This is not the Renault Twizy’s strongest characteristic. Realistically it completely lacks any sort of refinement. Windows are an extra on the car and in a country with a climate like Ireland, they are a necessity. There is also no heating, so you are either hot in the summer or cold in the winter. The windows have gaps to prevent steaming up, but these also let the wind and rain in. It can be a cold and bumpy ride. Like a motorbike, there is space for a pillion passenger. It is awkward to get in and out of, but again, this also brings a smile to your face.
There is quite a solid feel to the Twizy’s build quality despite its plastic style appearance. Inside, the cabin is constructed from a moulded material with a certain durability about it that can weather any storm. Gear selection is controlled by two buttons on the dashboard. You simply select D for Drive and R for Reverse, while a bright blue digital read-out centrally mounted on the dashboard displays your speed and range.
The Renault Twizy gets a tubular frame designed by Renault-Sport to protect you from any potential impact (as much as possible). Its only passenger safety features are four point seatbelts and a driver’s airbag. If safety is a big issue for you, perhaps look elsewhere for electric enjoyment. As it is not classed as a car, it is not required to pass Euro NCAP crash testing. However Renault did enter the Twizy and it performed ok. It can also be charged at home via a three pin plug taking just 3.5 hours from empty to full.
Again, space and practicality are not the Twizy’s forte. It packs just a 31 litre cubby under the rear passenger seat. There is also small 5 litre glovebox located on the right of the dashboard and a storage net on the front driver’s seat. There is also an option to add a 50 litre ‘leisure bag’ accessory to sit on the rear seat.