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Drive

The Renault Twingo

Smile again, because just over £9,000 is all you need to drive this trendy little car away from the showrooms
You could reasonably expect to be driving around like Noddy. Instead we were relishing in the exceptionally high and safe cornering ability of this car

More often than we think, it’s the little things that sell cars. On this new Renault Twingo, everybody is buzzing about the exceptionally good turning circle. Achieved in the main as a result of locating the engine to the rear, it manages a 45 degree turning angle compared to its predecessor’s 30 degrees. For a vehicle that is predicted to sell in the majority to city dwelling females, the ease of parking bonus will go a long way.


 

But it also went a long way for me too whilst attending the UK launch of the car. Never one for being able to follow straightforward directions it was really handy to be able to keep turning around on the notional sixpence when I hadn’t a clue where I was going.

Fun at sensible speeds

Personally, it’s the rear mounted engine that got me buzzing, making this little car a hoot to drive. Whilst our bright yellow TCE 90 Dynamique version was funky to look at, we were powered by a mere 898 cc 3 cyl in-line (albeit turbo-charged) engine. You could reasonably expect to be driving around like Noddy. Instead we were relishing in the exceptionally high and safe cornering ability of this car, using the rear engine advantage to have some ‘boys fun’ by powering around tight bends hard on the throttle. You can just about achieve that if you try really hard because Renault has tweaked the handling of this car to drive as far as possible like a front wheel drive car.

Even better, this low powered fun handling package is rewarding to drive at whatever legal speed you care to name. The moral of the Twingo in action then is ‘fun at sensible speeds’. Call it the Twingo Licence Saver if you like; lots of engaging fun without being naughty.

As it happens, my driving partner at the UK launch event we attended was, and still is, a woman. She loved the car, and rather selfishly wanted to take it home, mainly because it made driving fun, as opposed to meeting any stereotypical female buyer aspirations.

Looking more to Renault’s intentions with the rear-engined design, it certainly succeeds in creating a spacious, comfortable-for-four, and everyday, all-purpose city car. Standard DIY engine maintenance is even easier than in a standard front-engined car as oil, water and windscreen washers are located for ease of access under the (front) bonnet.

Up-beat

With rear and passenger front seats down, there is considerable and totally flat loading space again, again adding to the user-friendly flexibility of this vehicle. Interior finish and dash-design are fitting for this trendy Twingo; its up-beat inside, with lots of oddment space, and theme coloured ‘wrap around’ dash design with all the core instruments located directly ahead of the steering wheel. Heating controls are centrally located, and an optional detachable Sat Nav casing sits a-top of the dash.

Smile again, be happy, because just over £9,000 is all you need to drive this trendy little car away from the showrooms. The featured car here comes in at the top end of the price range at £11,695 due to the additional equipment (see spec), yet the usability, space and economy make it worthwhile indulging in what for many will be their only car.

The Renault Twingo Dynamique spec

Top speed: 103mph. Economy/CO2: 65.7mpg/99g/km. Engine: 900cc 3-cyl turbo. Power: 89bhp. Price: £11,695. Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive. Equipment: 15-inch alloys, cruise control, air-con, DAB, Bluetooth, USB. On sale: now.

- Kevin Haggarthy