• Renault Twingo
    The Twingo is a compact, rear-engined city car
  • A stubby front end is made possible by the rear-engined configuration
  • The wide shoulders with inset tail-lights are a surprisingly evocative nod to the original mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo
  • The exaggerated rake of the rear screen also references the R5
  • This recess looks as if it should hide a release switch for the rear hatch; in fact, the button's next to the numberplate lights
  • White accents on the steering wheel, doors and fascia are also available in blue, black and red
  • The instruments are clear and readable
  • Passenger space in the front is good, but entry-level cars do without reach adjustment for the steering wheel
  • Air conditioning is standard on Play models and up
  • A universal mount for smartphones is standard across the range
  • There's plenty of visual interest in the Twingo's cabin
  • There's decent legroom in the back but headroom is very limited
  • Rear windows pop out for ventilation
  • The boot is a bit shallow, for obvious reasons, but it is usable
  • Optional full-length sunroof looks a bit untidy when furled
  • The bonnet slides about eight inches south to reveal the fluid bottles underneath
  • The naturally aspirated Twingo gains speed slowly because of its lack of torque
  • The rear-engined layout was supposed to improve pedestrian protection but has had mixed success
  • The Twingo's poor front-end purchase and sluggish performance disappoint
  • The stability control will interfere unless you drive in an incredibly restrained and smooth fashion
  • It stops well, but only because it usually isn't going fast in the first place
  • It's fresh, different and likeable but lets itself down on detail

The new Renault Twingo is an attractive addition to the city car ranks chiefly because it’s handsome and unusual.

The car is fresh and appealing to look at and comes across as likeable and charming – and among younger buyers, that may be more than half the battle. But the car is likeable mostly in spite of its handling, performance and practicality.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The Volkswagen Up is the quality option. The Panda is more fun, though, but the VW still just has the edge

Truth is the Twingo’s rear-engined configuration brings more apparent compromises than gains – as the sanitised handling, disappointing refinement and flawed cabin packaging attest.

Add given the car’s sluggish performance, mediocre real-world economy and unexceptional value for money and you’re left with a lot to overlook for the sake of some amiable visual character and a tight turning circle.

Too much, clearly, for us to be able to declare the new Twingo much more than a competent new city car.

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