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Renault Twingo: Larey or Sophisticated? - Car Review

Review

Added: 12 Dec 2012
Last update: 12 Dec 2012

The first impression that the new Twingo provides is surprising. The sophisticated design combined with the bright “bermuda blue” paint that the test car came in, managed to look both classy and fun.

Certainly the interior is subdued, but when the exterior is so larey this was just the tonic. Everything looked and felt as well made as in a Volkswagen Polo.

Around town, the car mainly felt light and nimble, striking a nice balance between feeling neither weedy and vulnerable nor too wide and difficult to make sense as a City car. The Twingo is just 1,654 mm wide, which is very close to the more basic Peugeot 107’s width of 1,630mm and much narrower than an equally-well-made Vauxhall Corsa which is 1,713mm wide.

However, it’s not perfect in the City. The windscreen is also set low, or the seats are set very high, which makes you feel like you are driving around in the clouds. And if you are trying to read City street signs that are placed high up on building sides, the result is you have to stoop and peer up round the top of the windscreen.

Like so many small cars that want to be everything to everyone, the Twingo’s turning lock was also pretty poor. When deciding to give up on one Christmas shopping traffic jam, and realising I was in one the City’s wider roads, I attempted a U-turn. Which had to become an awkward 3-point turn.

That inner-city compromise is a corollary of the neutral, confidence-inspiring feel the steering system delivers in flowing country roads, or on the motorway.

The Twingo’s class shines through on the motorway, as it delivers a smooth, refined, assured ride. At no time did I feel intimidated by lorries and such, even though the little engine rather runs out of puff at 70 MPH on hills. I certainly wouldn’t recommend a student use the car to transport all their belongings at the end of term – the weight may well leave them a sitting duck in certain situations. The Twingo’s NCAP occupant rating may be 4/5, but there is no substitute in my mind to having the option of driving out of a situation with a bit of reserve power.

So perhaps my first impression was only half right. It is classy, but it’s not that much fun. The crazy paint job seems to have been more to try and convince the driver and passengers that the Twingo is a fun, spirited little car like the original Twingo, Ford Ka and Fiat Puntos used to be. In a dark silver it may well have opened itself up to criticism for being almost drab.

What’s the market like?

New cars like the one tested are just over £10,000. Nearly new cars lose just £1,000. But, assuming the latest version follows the path of its predecessor, one year old cars will be found for around £7,600 and two year old cars will be the real bargains.

As the graphs on our price guide pages show, two year old cars drop to nearly half the new price. Yet typical mileages will be just 10,000 so the car should still feel like new.

This is great value, especially when compared to the more flimsy-feeling Toyota Aygo is about the same money at 2 years old, but tends to have double the mileage on the clock.

Summary

A practical, versatile little City car, that is more sophisticated than a Toyota Aygo.

Keywords: used-renault-twingo-review


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