Renault Twizy: Fourth report

21 Jan, 2013 10:15am Jack Rix

We’ve winterproofed our Twizy, but will the windows prove effective?

Here at Auto Express, we’re big fans of the Renault Twizy’s unique approach to personal transport, but lately we’ve become guilty of neglect. As the long winter nights and plummeting temperatures have closed in, members of the team haven’t been exactly queuing up to drive the Renault home.

As we demonstrated in our previous update, driving a Twizy in the winter isn’t impossible – you simply need to wrap up warm, as any motorbike rider will tell you. But things are hopefully about to get a whole lot more pleasant. Renault has listened to customer pleas for some sort of protection from the elements, and introduced a pair of retro-fit plastic windows – yours for £295.

We were among the first in the UK to get our hands on a pair, and once the large cardboard box arrived in the office we wasted no time in bolting them in place. According to Renault, we could do everything ourselves equipped with nothing more than an Allen key, so we plunged in and timed the procedure for good measure.

The initial thing to point out is that to fit the windows you need to have doors – themselves a £545 option. First job is to remove two screws from each door to allow some flex in the panels.

Then, by sliding a knife or something similar between the front and back sections, you can lever a small gap to clip in a bracket. You then reattach the screw through the bottom hole in the bracket.

The windows are attached in one direction, so you have to make sure they’re the right way around, and then you slot two locating pins into the brackets and secure them with a hand-tightened screw. Got that? Simple.

Renault informed us that the speediest fitting by one of its technicians was around six minutes – we took 11 minutes, which isn’t bad when you consider we had to study the instructions first before getting underway.

However, don’t expect a perfectly flush, watertight fit, as the windows are designed to provide some protection from the wind and rain, but not total protection. This means there’s a gap at the leading edge of the door, plus a large space towards the back. We’ve yet to drive our modified Twizy in the wet, and are looking forward to seeing how much water squeezes its way through – whatever happens it’s sure to be better than before.

Another concern I have with the newly ‘enclosed’ cabin is misty windows. The Twizy has a heated windscreen only – no heater or air vents – so it will be interesting to see whether the cockpit will retain sufficient ventilation to prevent fogging when the car is stuck in stop-start traffic.

The most obvious change on the road is the noise levels. Whereas before you could hear every gasp and comment from passers-by, now you feel more cocooned.

OK, so you still need to wrap up warm, and refinement isn’t quite up to Lexus standards, but it’s an improvement nonetheless.

We always knew running the Twizy through the winter was going to bring a series of compromises, but hopefully the new windows will make driving it a more attractive proposition until the spring.

Our view

“The windows are a novel addition, but adding them reminded me of the Mini Moke – which does little for the Twizy’s street cred.”
Dean Gibson, Deputy road test editor

Your view

“I’d have one if it did more than the claimed 60-mile range, and monthly battery charge wasn’t so steep!”
BenC30, via

“The Twizy offers an excellent way to get around for very little money. It’s a really great alternative to the car.”
TDIPower, via

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Doors and windows an optional extra? This will only give VW and Mini ideas!

So for £840.00 this vehicle can be equipped with a pair of doors and DIY windows.

I've just bought my younger daughter a comfy used five-seater hatchback for less.

The Twizy is something of an experiment so I can't criticise it for that, but it does show that the technology has a way to go before being competitive.

Had a bit of a play in one of these and quite honestly do not see the point. Expensive, impractical, uncomfortable and a burden to charge. Don't really see what the experiment is. We know electric vehicles can work, milk floats were proving this in the 1960's. The point is that until they can be charged in a practical manner, are cheap to buy, have a range worth bothering with and offer car like safety and comfort, don't bother.

Its funny that the people who leave comments are almost never owners )) ... well I am an owner and i have my Twizy color fitted with the new Renault Windows. I also drive a Jaguary XJR Supercharged 4.2 so I do love cars and I am not an alternative wierdo...
My Twizy gets driven 4-5 times a week on a 35 mile commuter journey. With the new Windows it is fairly dry and fairly snug and with a jacket and beanie hat not a bad place to be in the Winter.
I still get a rush of joy passing each garage and not having to fill up... I have done 3.500 miles since May last year and I am worried that I CHOOSE to use it so often that i will need to add miles to my battery lease.
This is a FUN great handling little car that I can park anywhere pretty much and which has low costs. I am not suprised the guys at Auto Express love it ))

Key specs

  • On fleet since: August 2012
  • Price new: £7,400
  • Engine: Electric motor, 17bhp
  • CO2/Tax: 0g/km/£0
  • Options: Scissor doors (£545), plastic windows (£295), coloured alloys (£375), Parrot Bluetooth (£290), metallic paint (£195), storage nets (£75)
  • Trade-in now: N/A
  • Insurance group/quote: 10/£365
  • Mileage/costs: 612/none so far
  • Problems?: Bluetooth not working