Renault Twizy: Third report

12 Dec, 2012 10:15am Richard Ingram

The Renault Twizy is the coolest car on our fleet – in more ways than one, as our man found out...

Our Twizy has felt a little neglected over the past few weeks. As the nights draw in and the days get colder, the number of people volunteering to take the electric Renault home has dwindled.

This is hardly surprising. With no heater and a cabin that’s open to the elements, the quirky Twizy is rarely at the top of anyone’s winter wheels wishlist. Yet it’s meant to be used as an all-weather commuter, which is why I decided to brave the freezing temperatures and lashing winds to see if the car makes as much sense when the sun isn’t shining. I made sure I was prepared, though.

Before climbing into the Twizy I pulled on a woolly hat, gloves and ski jacket. I also filled a hot water bottle and pulled my socks up to my knees! Unplugging the Twizy from the mains revealed a healthy 40-mile range, which was plenty for my 12-mile round trip commute, even taking into account the fact I’d be using the headlights to navigate through London’s evening traffic.

Once up and running, you do feel reasonably protected from the elements – unlike riding a scooter or motorbike, the windscreen and roof shield you from all but the strongest gusts and heaviest rain. However, sitting still in traffic will have you burying your hands in your pockets and furiously wiggling your toes in an effort to generate heat.

All this comes as a bit of a sticking point for the Twizy. The urban environment is where it should excel. But anything more than 10 minutes in the UK’s chilly winter climate leaves you (and your passenger) dreaming of more conventional forms of transport.

To add insult to injury, the in-built Parrot Bluetooth system was on the blink. This left me unable to make calls or even stream music – a few animated conversations and some tunes would no doubt have helped keep my mind off the cold.

However, it was pleasing to note the car’s attention-grabbing ability remained and, if anything, was amplified by the cold weather. Plenty of people still point and stare, while the flashes from camera phones are even more evident in the dark. The highlight, though, was chatting to a couple in a Porsche 911 on London’s Park Lane, as they admired the Twizy’s unusual profile and silent progress.

Momentarily, I forgot I was dressed as an Eskimo, and thanks to the impression the Twizy had on the general public, I actually found myself enjoying the journey home.

As we reported in our last long-term report, we’re expecting the delivery of some removable windows that attach to the optional scissor doors, but as of yet they remain unavailable. Renault assures us they’re on the way. However, they won’t address the issue of the lack of cabin heating, so I think I’ll need to keep my hot water bottle topped up for the time being...

Key specs

  • On fleet since: August 2012
  • Price new: £7,400
  • Engine: Electric motor, 17bhp
  • CO2/Tax: 0g/km/£0
  • Options: Scissor doors (£545), coloured alloys (£375), Parrot Bluetooth (£290), metallic paint (£195), storage nets (£75)
  • Trade-in now: N/A
  • Insurance group/quote: 10/£365
  • Mileage: 605 miles
  • Costs: None so far
  • Any problems?: Parrot Bluetooth system not working