The Renault Twizy first saw the light of day at Frankfurt in 2009 as the Twizy ZE concept.

Among that motor show’s smash hits, it effortlessly stole the limelight from Renault’s original Zoe concept. Enclosed wheels and a state-of-the-art headlamp arrangement were the only features not to make the finished article. 

Renault can claim no intellectual ownership of the EV microcar concept; energy-efficient personal mobility machines have made regular appearances at shows for more than a decade. 

After what seems like the longest of long infancies, the market for electric cars is beginning to mature. Nissan’s Leaf, the 2011 Car of the Year, continues to blaze its uncompromising trail across Europe and the wider world. 

Meanwhile, in the shape of the recently introduced Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera twins, you could say that Britain has its first truly usable family EVs.

The Twizy needs no government incentive to earn a place among Britain’s most affordable EVs. Part-car, part-scooter, and entirely zero emissions (at the tailpipe), it’s exactly the kind of machine that, future gazers claim, will populate our burgeoning cities in years to come.

But what about here and now?

Top 5 City cars

  • Volkswagen Up
    The Volkswagen Up city car isn't revolutionary, it's just quantifiably better than the opposition

    Volkswagen Up

    1
  • Hyundai i10
    The Hyundai i10 is offered with either a 1.0-litre petrol engine or a 1.2-litre petrol engine

    Hyundai i10

    2
  • Suzuki Celerio
    The Celerio is an all-new city car from Suzuki

    Suzuki Celerio

    3
  • Fiat Panda
    Panda’s 4 star EuroNCAP crash score falls short of some rivals

    Fiat Panda

    4
  • Vauxhall Viva
    Vauxhall Viva 1.0 SE is priced from £7995

    Vauxhall Viva

    5

First drives

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Driven this week

  • Ford S-Max Vignale
    First Drive
    24 June 2016
    The Ford S-Max Vignale is the company's premium executive express. Can it really be worth the extra over the standard S-Max?
  • Volkswagen Scirocco GTS
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Still a really fun and likeable coupé but the extra power doesn't justify the VW Scirocco GTS's high price
  • Ford Fiesta ST200
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Fresh from testing it abroad, we've just got our hands on the Ford Fiesta ST200 for a blat on UK roads
  • Alpina B4 Biturbo Convertible
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Alpina's appealing BMW M4 alternative arrives in convertible form with a more relaxed nature than BMW's M car but still impressive performance and handling
  • Infiniti QX30
    First Drive
    21 June 2016
    Likeable for its fair refinement and comfort, and that quirky rarity factor, but small inside and with merely adequate handling