Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Renault Twingo review

The Renault Twingo has a sporty rear-engined layout, but it's a bit of a disappointment

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.5 out of 5

Price
£9,885 to £12,590
  • Extremely manoeuvrable
  • Good looking
  • Rear passenger space
  • Lacks fun factor
  • Pricier than rivals
  • Wind noise at speed

Whether you think that the Renault Twingo is quirky, cute or charismatic, there’s no doubt it’s an interesting addition to the booming city car sector.

It has an unusual layout for the class, with the three-cylinder engine tucked under the boot floor, and whether you go for the 70, 90 or 100 versions, it drives the rear wheels. This means rather different packaging to most urban runabouts that frees up lots of room, while the layout also allows a turning circle that’s as tight as a London taxi’s – perfect for city living.

Advertisement - Article continues below

But the driving experience isn’t up to the increasingly exacting standards of the best choices in this market, especially when you’re out of town. Ultimately the Twingo lacks the refinement and ‘big car' feel you get from the city class leaders.

With tough competition in the city car sector, the Renault Twingo is one of the forgotten cars for sale in the class. With its rear-engined layout, it sounds like it should be sporty, but while a GT model was offered, the Twingo isn't much fun to drive.

Where it performs best is when it's used as a city car, where its super-tight turning circle and nippy engines deliver a drive that makes negotiating city traffic a breeze. But that's where the Twingo needs to stay, because if you venture beyond the city, the car's shortcomings become apparent.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The main rivals for the Twingo include the all-conquering Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii and VW up! trio, plus the Citroen C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo models, plus the Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and Suzuki Celerio. All these cars use a traditional front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout, but the Smart ForFour uses the same rear-engine format as the Twingo because they are essentially the same car under the skin.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The current Twingo is the third generation, and the second version to be sold in the UK. While the Mk2 offered an RS Renaultsport-tuned variant, the closest the current Twingo gets to a sporty variant is the Twingo GT. This has more power than the rest of the range, and while Renaultsport had a hand in its development, the VW up! GTI is a far better budget sports car.

The standard Twingo range is powered by either a 1.0-litre three-cylinder or a 900cc turbo three-cylinder. These are badged SCe 70 and TCe 90 respectively, and it's the TCe that we'd choose. It has better mid-range power, making it more useable around town where the Twingo performs well.

An update in 2018 saw the older trims replaced by Play and Iconic specs, while the GT is no longer offered in the lineup. The TCe motor can only be had in Iconic trim, while it can also be had with an EDC auto gearbox, although we wouldn't recommend this box if you can avoid it.

Thanks to its rear-engined layout, the Twingo has a high-set boot, but it also has good rear seat space. Room up front is good, too, although material quality could be better. Unlike some other cars that have their engine behind the cabin, the Twingo's design means there's no extra storage in the nose.

Prices for the Twingo start from around £11,000, which is a higher point than for some other rivals, although standard kit is pretty good for the price. But if you want to buy a new Twingo, you better be quick - Renault has confirmed that the current car will go off sale in the UK in 2019, with no plans for a direct replacement.

For an alternative review of the latest Renault Twingo Hatchback visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Advertisement

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 SCE Play 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £9,885

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 SCE Iconic 5dr [Start Stop]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £10,990

Fastest

  • Name
    0.9 TCE Iconic 5dr [Start Stop]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £11,690
Advertisement

More on Twingo

Visit New 2020 electric Renault Twingo Z.E. revealed
renault twingo facelift front quarter
Renault Twingo
24 Feb 2020

New 2020 electric Renault Twingo Z.E. revealed

The all-electric Renault Twingo city car will make its official debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, but it won’t make it to the UK
Visit Renault facelifts the Twingo but axes it from UK line-up
renault twingo facelift front quarter
Renault Twingo
22 Jan 2019

Renault facelifts the Twingo but axes it from UK line-up

Renault’s city car has received a fresh face, new powertrains and more customisation options, but it won’t make it to UK shores
Visit 8. Renault Twingo - Best city cars
Renault Twingo long-termer - front action
Renault Twingo Hatchback
7 Nov 2018

8. Renault Twingo - Best city cars

A rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive should have made for a really entertaining car, so it’s a shame that the Renault Twingo is actually pretty …
Advertisement
Visit Renault Twingo 1.0 Expression - cheapest cars to insure
Renault Twingo
21 Jun 2018

Renault Twingo 1.0 Expression - cheapest cars to insure

Small, French and group 2 for insurance, the Renault Twingo is a great option for those looking to save on insurance
Visit Skoda Citigo vs Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo
Skoda Citigo vs Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo - header
Skoda Citigo
21 Oct 2017

Skoda Citigo vs Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo

The Skoda Citigo has long been one of our top city cars, but can the revised model beat the Kia Picanto and Renault Twingo?
Visit New Renault Twingo Iconic Special Edition added to range
Renault Twingo Iconic Special Edition - front
Renault Twingo
1 Sep 2017

New Renault Twingo Iconic Special Edition added to range

New range topping Iconic Special Edition version of the Renault Twingo city car adds extra tech and unique styling tweaks
Visit Suzuki Ignis vs Renault Twingo
Suzuki Ignis vs Renault Twingo - header
Suzuki Ignis
7 Feb 2017

Suzuki Ignis vs Renault Twingo

Suzuki has taken cues from the crossover class with its new Ignis city car, but is it better than the equally individual Renault Twingo?
Visit New Renault Twingo GT 2017 review
Renault Twingo GT - front
Renault Twingo Hatchback
3 Jan 2017

New Renault Twingo GT 2017 review

The Renault Twingo GT is nippy rather than fast, and isn't as much fun to drive as its rivals
Visit Renault Twingo GT: prices, specs and release date
Renault Twingo GT - Goodwood front quarter
Renault Twingo
22 Nov 2016

Renault Twingo GT: prices, specs and release date

Renault reveals new sportier Twingo GT will go on sale in December, priced from £13,775
Advertisement
Visit Renault Twingo The Color Run review
Renault Twingo The Colour Run - front tracking
Renault Twingo Hatchback
9 Aug 2016

Renault Twingo The Color Run review

Special edition Renault Twingo The Color Run gets plenty of kit, but is let down by its underpowered 1.0-litre petrol engine
Visit Renault Twingo The Color Run Special Edition launched
Renault Twingo The Color Run Special Edition - front
Renault Twingo
9 Jun 2016

Renault Twingo The Color Run Special Edition launched

New Special Edition Twingo brings colour and personalisation to Renault's city car
Advertisement
Visit Long-term test review: Renault Twingo
image
Renault Twingo Hatchback
5 Jan 2016

Long-term test review: Renault Twingo

Third report: Trendy city car needs some TLC to get back to its best
Visit Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo & Hyundai i10
Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo & Hyundai i10
Kia Picanto
21 May 2015

Kia Picanto vs Renault Twingo & Hyundai i10

We see if Kia’s new Picanto can stand tall as the king of the urban jungle as it meets Renault and Hyundai rivals
Visit Smart ForFour vs Renault Twingo and SEAT Mii
Smart ForFour vs rivals - header
Smart ForFour
17 Mar 2015

Smart ForFour vs Renault Twingo and SEAT Mii

Smart fancies its ForFour as king of the urban jungle, but the SEAT Mii and Renault Twingo stand in its way
Visit New Renault Twingo automatic review
Renault Twingo Hatchback
20 Feb 2015

New Renault Twingo automatic review

New twin-clutch automatic box is big news in tiny Renault Twingo city car
Advertisement
Visit Renault adds new trims to Clio and Twingo range
image
Renault Clio
9 Feb 2015

Renault adds new trims to Clio and Twingo range

Twingo receives new flagship Dynamique S spec from £12,545, and Clio gets sporty GT-Line Look Pack for £400 extra
Visit Renault Twingo vs Peugeot 108 & Hyundai i10
Renault Twingo
13 Jan 2015

Renault Twingo vs Peugeot 108 & Hyundai i10

We see if turbo power gives the Renault Twingo the performance it needs to compete with rivals from Peugeot and Hyundai
Visit Renault Twingo vs SEAT Mii
Renault Twingo
16 Oct 2014

Renault Twingo vs SEAT Mii

Can radical new Renault Twingo city car find a way past the excellent SEAT Mii?
Visit New Renault Twingo TCe 90 review
Renault Twingo Hatchback
27 Sep 2014

New Renault Twingo TCe 90 review

Turbo Renault Twingo TCe 90 flagship lacks the wow factor
Visit Renault Twingo 2014 video review
image
Renault Twingo
11 Sep 2014

Renault Twingo 2014 video review

The new Renault Twingo has a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive set-up - like a Porsche 911. What's it like?
Visit Renault Twingo Dynamique 2014 review
Renault Twingo Hatchback
28 Aug 2014

Renault Twingo Dynamique 2014 review

Can the Renault Twingo compete with the cream of the city car crop?
Advertisement
Visit Renault Twingo (2007-2014) review
Renault Twingo hatchback front tracking
Renault Twingo Hatchback
8 Aug 2014

Renault Twingo (2007-2014) review

The Renault Twingo city car offers simplicity and economy but feels a little dated next to modern rivals
Visit Renault Twingo RS hot hatch spied
image
Renault Twingo
24 Jul 2014

Renault Twingo RS hot hatch spied

Forthcoming Twingo looks set to get the Renaultsport treatment, including revised three-cylinder turbo engine