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Car group tests

Renault Twingo vs SEAT Mii

Can radical new Renault Twingo city car find a way past the excellent SEAT Mii?

In an age when cars are often accused of being too similar, the new Renault Twingo is a bold attempt by the French manufacturer to put itself back to the top of the city class by doing something different.

The radical, rear-engined Twingo shares components with the next-generation Smart ForFour, and alongside its novel mechanical layout, it hopes to attract customers’ attention with its cheeky looks and extensive personalisation options.

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However, there’s no shortage of talented cars in this class. The SEAT Mii shares the superb quality, grown-up driving experience and refinement of its Skoda Citigo and VW up! cousins, and adds a hint of Latin flair to the mix – especially in the fashion-inspired Mii by Mango trim. So, which of these trendy city cars will be our catwalk winner?

• Renault Twingo reviewSEAT Mii review

Click on the links above to read each in-depth review, then read on for our verdict.

Head-to-head

Customising

Customisation is currently all the rage in the small car class. Renault’s £200 personality packs match interior and exterior coloured trim into themes. SEAT is no different, and in addition to Mango-themed items like the bespoke key cover, the Spanish brand offers a host of exterior decals, plus a £399 rear spoiler and £200 side skirts. You can also order decorative dash inserts to give the interior a lift.

Packaging

Placing the engine at the rear has given the Twingo a short nose, while the rear-wheel-drive set-up and absence of front driveshafts allow for a really tight turning circle. It has a slightly smaller boot than the Mii, but a longer wheelbase gives it a fraction more rear legroom.

Production

The Mii is produced with the up! and Citigo at the VW Group’s huge Bratislava plant in Slovakia. The new Twingo is built alongside the forthcoming Smart ForFour at Renault’s Novo Mesto factory in Slovenia, where there’s been a £352million investment to prepare for the production of the two cars.

Verdict

Winner: SEAT Mii

SEAT’s link-up with Mango has given its sensible city car some fashion-inspired style. This special edition won’t be to all tastes, but even so, whichever version you choose, the Mii is all the city car you’ll ever need. Like its VW up! and Skoda Citigo sister models, the SEAT comes with a first-class cabin matched to class-leading handling and ride. It’s an impeccably engineered and fun-to-drive city car, so it wins this test.

Runner-up: Renault Twingo

The Twingo is a funky, affordable and likeable city car that’s cleverly packaged, spacious and efficient. Nimble around town and easy to drive, it’s not hard to see its appeal. However, it lacks the refinement, precise handling and performance of the SEAT – and isn’t as good an all-rounder. Also, while the Renault comes with lots of personalisation options, the SEAT has the edge for cabin quality.

Figures

 SEAT Mii by MangoRenault Twingo SCe 70 Dynamique
On the road price/total as tested£11,345/£12,510£10,995/£12,365
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£5,673/50.0%£4,431/40.3%
Depreciation£5,672£6,564
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£316/£632£248/£497
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,585/£2,642£1,721/£2,868
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost4/£264/B/£203/£258/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£94/£120/£94Free (4yrs)
   
Length/wheelbase3,557/2,420mm3,595/2,492mm
Height/width1,478/1,641mm1,554/1,646mm
Engine3cyl in-line/999cc3cyl in-line/999cc
Peak power74/6,200 bhp/rpm69/6,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque95/3,000 Nm/rpm91/2,850 Nm/rpm
Transmission5-spd man/fwd5-spd man/rwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel35 litres/repair kit35 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)251/951 litres188-219/980 litres
Kerbweight/payload929/361kg865/495kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient9.8 metres/0.33Cd8.6 metres/0.69Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/2yrs4yrs (100,000)/4yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers12,500 miles (1yr)/14810,000 miles/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.24th/32nd15th/12th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars89/80/46/578/81/68/4
   
0-60/30-70mph14.1/15.2 secs16.1/17.4 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th7.1/11.9 secs9.4/12.5 secs
50-70mph in 5th19.0 secs21.3 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph106mph/3,000rpm94mph/N/A
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph55.5/35.1/9.6m54.3/36.9/9.8m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph64/42/59/68dB63/47/60/70dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range44.4/9.8/342 miles40.9/9.0/315 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined47.9/70.6/60.1mpg56.5/76.3/67.2mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined10.5/15.5/13.2mpl12.4/16.8/14.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket147/108g/km/14%160/95g/km/12%
   
Airbags/Isofix/cruise controlFour/yes/£550Six/yes/no
Elec fr windows/sunroof/heated seatsYes/£690/noYes/£850/£250
Met paint/parking sens/alloy wheelsYes/£550/yes£495/£150/yes
Split/fold rear seats/air-conditioningYes/yesYes/yes
Sat-nav/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/£175/yes£600/yes/yes
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