Renault Twingo

The Essentials

  • Price from £10,350
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 55.4mpg
  • What is it? Renault's city car is good to drive and surprisingly practical, but it's off the pace in some areas.

Great

  • Great to drive around town
  • Surprisingly spacious inside
  • Cheap to run

Gripes

  • You'll have to pay extra for curtain airbags
  • Blandly designed cabin
  • Not that much cheaper than the bigger Clio
  • Drive

    Fun, quiet, comfortable and nippy around town

  • Inside

    Comfortable but driving position will be set too high for some

  • Safety

    Front and side airbags standard, curtain 'bags cost extra. No stability control. Deadlocks as standard

  • Reliability

    Shouldn't be any problems here

  • Space

    Surprisingly spacious and versatile-  rear seats slide to balance leg and luggage room

  • Standard and extras

    Some rivals offer more treats, and basic spec doesn't have air-con

  • What's it like to drive?

    For such a small car, the Twingo has a surprisingly grown-up feel on the road, with a comfortable ride and decent high-speed stability. Refinement is pretty good, too, although the VW Group trio of the Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and VW Up have the edge in both areas.
    For the standard Twingo, there's just one engine  a 1.2 petrol that's up to the job, but only just. Plenty of gearshifts are needed to maintain reasonable pace.
    The Renaultsport model is a different beast altogether  thanks to stiffer, lower suspension, a range of other tweaks and a 131bhp 1.6 engine it's a superb little hot hatch. You need to work hard to get the best out of the engine, but that's all part of the fun. The steering and handling are pin-sharp, especially if you go for the Cup version which has stiffer suspension. Even then, the ride isn't jarring for such a sporty car.

  • What's it like inside?

    On the outside, the Twingo has a certain amount of French chic. Inside, it's like you've stepped into a delivery van, with a design and materials that are functional in the extreme. Rivals such as the VW Up are much classier.
    There's a distinct shortage of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel, too, although the basic driving position is pretty good and visibility is excellent.
    The most impressive aspect of the Twingo's cabin is its practicality. Thanks to its tall, boxy shape and sliding rear seats, there's space for four adults to sit in decent comfort. With the rear seats slid right back the boot is tiny, but you can push them forward to create decent load space, or fold and tumble them to get bigger items in.

  • How reliable is it?

    It's short on flair and feels pretty cheap inside, but the Twingo's cabin feels sturdy enough. Renault's long-term reliability record is patchy, however.
    The brand has a much stronger reputation for safety, but the Twingo lets the side down a little. It has front and side airbags, but curtain airbags cost extra. Only the Renaultsport version comes with standard stability control as standard. The pre-facelift model scored four out of five for adult safety in Euro NCAP's older-style crash tests.

  • Should I buy one?

    There's very little choice when buying a Twingo and the standard model  although well equipped and cheap to own isn't as sound a buy as the best cars in the class. It's not as classy as some, or as cheap as others, although Renault's four-year warranty and servicing package is some compensation.
    If you're after an affordable hot hatch, however, the Renaultsport model should definitely be near the top of your list.