From £10,065
Renault has nearly struck gold with the revised Twingo, broadening its appeal with some handsome new exterior looks

Our Verdict

Renault Twingo 2008-2013
Renault's baby received a cosmetic makeover in 2011

The Renault Twingo is fun, versatile and only slightly flawed. It’s a great effort

  • First Drive

    Renault Twingo 1.2

    Renault has nearly struck gold with the revised Twingo, broadening its appeal with some handsome new exterior looks
  • First Drive

    Renault Twingo 1.2 60 Extreme

    Good to drive and comfortable to be in, but let down by a high price and poor emissions
12 December 2011

What is it?

Style is everything nowadays in the city car segment. It is no longer enough for cars like the Renault Twingo to merely offer a good value, solid dynamic package, when even rivals from Korea, such as the Kia Picanto, are starting to have greater visual appeal to the more fashion conscious motorist.

This revised version of the Twingo is Renault’s response to the segment’s trend. The Twingo gets a thoroughly contemporary exterior makeover as part of its mid-life revisions, along with some barely noticeable tweaks to the interior.

There’s also a response to the likes of the Citroen DS3, Fiat 500 and Mini with a much longer list of colour and trim options, designed to give an air of individuality to each Twingo that rolls down the production line.

What’s it like?

What Renault hasn’t made any revisions to is the chassis or powertrain line-up. So it’s business as usual in this Twingo, which remains a pleasantly polished dynamic proposition.

The ride quality was a particular highlight on our test car, which came equipped with optional 15in alloys. It was supple, composed and comfortable at all speeds, and didn’t have a tendency to send the shockwaves through the cabin one might expect of a car with large wheels and a short wheelbase.

The handling was also pleasing, with the lightweight 950kg Twingo showing a willingness to hold on and not wash away at the front end when pushed. Its slight tendency to roll, however, was heightened by a lack of grip offered from the driver’s seat. Another dynamic foible is the electric steering’s lifeless feel around the straight ahead.

As before, the base Twingo gets the 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine as fitted to our test car. The engine needs to be revved to make progress that could ever be described as swift. Indeed, the claimed 0-62mph time of 12.3sec felt somewhat optimistic. The anaemic engine also makes for a noisy companion at motorway speeds, proving to be fairly vocal sitting at around 3000rpm at 70mph.

One somewhat surprising feature given the noises coming from under the bonnet was the impressive economy. No matter how hard the engine worked, the Twingo never dropped below 48.0mpg, respectfully within reach of its 55.4mpg claimed figure.

While the styling changes have done wonders to lift the exterior of the Twingo, it’s disappointing the dowdy interior isn’t similarly fit for purpose. The perceived quality remains patchy and it’s a fairly miserable place to spend a journey with a lack of any real design flair those looking at the car from the outside benefit from. The driving position isn’t great for taller drivers, who will be hampered by the lack of reach adjustment from the steering wheel.

Should I buy one?

Renault has nearly struck gold with the revised Twingo, broadening its appeal with some handsome new exterior looks and keeping the excellent chassis and its fun-to-drive traits untouched. But the style conscious buyers Renault will be looking to attract will be put off by the interior and the enthusiast may be tempted to look elsewhere for the punch to match its poise.

Better news on the latter front is on the horizion: the Twingo is in line to get a torquey new 0.9-litre three-cylinder engine as its base powerplant next year.

Renault Twingo Dynamique 1.2

Price: £10,350; Top speed: 105mph; 0-62mph: 12.3sec; Economy: 55.4mpg; CO2: 119g/km; Kerb weight: 950kg; Engine: 4cyl, 1149cc, petrol; Power: 74bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 79lb ft at 4250rpm; Gearbox: 5spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
23

16 December 2011

Over £10,000 for a 74bhp 1.1 Twingo. Forget it. I used to like this car, but it's slowly losing its appeal.

I hope that Renault is keeping the Renaultsport version, as that seems to be a fantastic little car.

The 0.9 should be interesting...

16 December 2011

Buy in that colour and the depreciation will be huge. Trully horrid for everyone bar Katie Price!!

16 December 2011

I always felt this car didnt really compete. Its half a size too big, so its not really up against a 107/C1/Aygo, or the small Koreans, but equally too small compared to the Fiesta etc.

This doesnt stop it being a good car, and being the Renault should we be suprised it appears to drive and ride so well? It sounds as if it could do with a more modern engine even if its actual economy is quite good (10% better than the recently tested UP it seems).

I suspect it will continue to be an also ran in the class, probably unfairly

16 December 2011

Liking the styling. Not the colour. Bit expensive. Trying to do a 'mini'.

16 December 2011

As good value as a specced up UP ?

Peter Cavellini.

16 December 2011

" it’s a fairly miserable place to spend a journey"

Don't think I've read as harsh a criticism of a car's interior for some time. But, its got privacy glass, so who cares..

16 December 2011

did it really need those Juke lights stuck on the front?

16 December 2011

looks quite boring and dated compared to fiat panda. looks more like a mild facelift. I guess renault are pinning their hopes on the new clio.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

16 December 2011

Way behind every curve, with Up and new Panda about to arrive for less money. Disappointing.

16 December 2011

[quote Autocar]Style is everything nowadays in the city car segment.[/quote] I was always taught that the thing about being stylish is that it also has to be pleasing to look at ............... and this misses the mark by quite a long way, in my view, with that fussy, mismatched arrangement of lights at both front and back and the plain boring interior is unforgivable. As the owner of the car, you will spend most of your time with the car looking at the interior, so that should be enticing and a nice place to be, from your comments and the photo it is no where near competing with the likes of the new Panda, Ka or 500. Hope the new Clio is a better effort than this.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

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