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 sterile and numb to drive.
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 sterile and numb to drive. The steering has zero feedback, and the variable rack fitted to higher-powered cars feels very strange.
With that out of the way, we can focus on what’s good about the Twingo – and there’s certainly a lot. First of all, the styling is like nothing else on the road. Thanks to its rear-engined layout, the nose of the car can be stubby, and it means the passenger compartment is larger – giving more room for people in the front and back of the car.
Stylish touches like an all-glass tailgate and LED daytime running lights add to the ‘fun’ feel, while those who want to be noticed can specify different graphic packs to jazz up the exterior. Inside, too, a colourful dash is loaded with tech, and even base cars come with a smartphone mount on the infotainment system.
The problem is, even base cars are very expensive – while some city cars have prices starting in the £7,000’s, the Twingo begins at £9,495 – and if you want air-conditioning, you’ll have to cough up a fiver short of £10,000.
The two engine choices both have their flaws too. The entry-level SCe 70 is smooth, but underpowered – it needs thrashing to make any progress, which means the quoted fuel economy will drop like a stone. The turbocharged TCe 90 has enough power for decent progress, but the power delivery is quite lumpy, and it’s only available with the odd-feeling variable ratio steering.
A roomy interior, good fuel economy and stylish design will win the Twingo many fans, but it’s not at the top of the class for us.