In-depth reviews

Renault Twingo (2007-2014) review - Interior, design and technology

Unusual packaging and characterful design set the Renault Twingo apart. The question is whether that's enough in this competitive market

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.5 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.0 out of 5

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With the Twingo, Renault’s designers have balanced just enough retro styling cues with a modern edge to make sure the car has plenty of appeal on city streets. There are hints of the Renault 5 in the shape, but the squat proportions and tiny overhangs mean it looks thoroughly up to date, with bright LED running lights mounted in the front bumper. 

The oversized Renault badge sits in the middle of the Twingo’s narrow grille, with the dainty headlight clusters either side, while at the back, the black glass bootlid and small lip spoiler provide a bit of visual attitude. Renault has mounted the Twingo’s engine in the rear, which means the front is short and the wheels have been pushed as far towards the corners of the car as possible, giving a compact stance.

The Twingo looks good, but that’s not enough in today’s city car sector, so Renault has added plenty of customisation details and option packs so buyers can further tweak the style. There are Fashion, Chic, Urban and Street options to go for, or you can customise the look of your model yourself with stickers and decals.

Inside, the Renault is just as unusual as it is on the outside. There are more coloured accents for the doors, air vents, steering wheel and storage box, and while the interior can’t quite match the premium ambience of the Hyundai i10, the big, Tonka toy-style door pulls and solid plastics do feel robust.

You can spot the Twingo GT by its twin tailpipes to improve the engine’s breathing, as well as the small air intake on the rear left bodywork. Inside, the GT gets a few sportier touches, such as Renaultsport badging on the sill, a new gearlever and some artificial leather on the seats, but the interior is fairly similar to other models.

Climate, cruise control and parking sensors are standard on the GT, but quality leaves a little to be desired, with hard plastics on the dash and facia. But it’s difficult to criticise the Twingo GT as it offers lots of kit for the price, alongside an interesting design with plenty of scope for personalisation. The standard R&GO system provides sat-nav through a smartphone app, or there’s the built-in option as part of the Techno Pack, which costs around £600.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Although the Play model doesn't get the optional R-Link touchscreen sat-nav of the most lavishly equipped Twingos, there is a smartphone cradle which allows you to connect via Renault’s R&Go phone app.

This clever device effectively turns your own smartphone into a touchscreen sat-nav, as well as giving it control over the car stereo – on top of your regular phone functions, of course. Sadly, the smartphone cradle looks and feels like a cheap aftermarket item, plus it obscures some of the buttons on the dash.

On the entertainment front, even the basic car comes with DAB radio and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Plus, you can upgrade to a six-speaker sound system with subwoofers on all models.

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The optional R-Link system is part of the £600 Techno Pack, which adds a seven-inch touchscreen, Android Auto compatibility and a reversing camera. It’s a good-value add-on considering the extra functionality it brings, but it’s a shame that Apple CarPlay isn’t supported.

Renault’s system is easy to use and works pretty well, although the touchscreen isn’t particularly responsive. Often we found that it took two or three touches for the set-up to register a button press.

The reversing camera is a useful extra; it makes parking in a bay much easier, because you can see exactly how close that bollard below your rear window line is to your bumper. However, we wouldn’t say it’s a necessity.

Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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