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

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka