Replacement for the Twingo is tipped to be rear-engined and upmarket
2 April 2012

The Renault 5-inspired successor to the Twingo will be positioned as an innovative, premium city car and is likely to adopt a rear-engined, rear-drive layout.

The Twingo follow-up is due to arrive in 2014. It will be part of an ambitious roll-out of new and refreshed Renault models over the next five years as the car maker attempts to bolster sales. The strategy also includes a Nissan Juke-style crossover, a new large saloon and at least one vehicle inspired by the striking R-Space concept first shown in 2011.

See Autocar's image of the new Renault city car

The new model is the first fruit of Renault’s platform and drivetrain co-operation with Daimler. A key element of that tie-up, when it was announced in 2010, was Project Edison, an initiative to create a modular platform to underpin the next Smart Fortwo and — in lengthened format — the Forfour and Twingo.

That platform is based on a rear engine/rear-wheel drive layout, and it seems highly likely that the Twingo successor will be a sister car to the Forfour, sharing that car’s rear-drive set-up.

That’s borne out by comments made by Renault marketing boss Stephen Norman at the Geneva show earlier this month. Although he stopped short of confirming the rear-drive plan for the Twingo successor, he did say it would feature a “totally unexpected mechanical innovation”.

Renault is keen to set its new car apart from the crowd, and Norman said the car will “have impressive spaciousness for its size”. With the next Clio due to be offered as a five-door only, the Twingo successor is likely to be a three-door only. An all-electric version is likely, too.

While the ‘5’ and ‘Twingo’ names are still being considered for the new model, it seems more likely that it will adopt a new name. Although the new offering will be inspired by the philosophy behind the Renault 5, the manufacturer wants to position it as a thoroughly modern vehicle.

“This is not going to be a retro car like the Fiat 500 or BMW Mini,” said Norman. “The Renault 5 issue is a philosophical checkpoint [in that] the positioning will be similar to the 5 when we launched that in 1972: slightly hedonistic, with some form of snob appeal. We won’t pitch this new car against the Citroën C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo.”

With the new car sitting below the Clio in a revised model line-up, the Twingo name could then be attached to a two-seat, rear-drive sister car to the Smart Fortwo.

Richard Bremner/Matt Burt

Join the debate

Comments
20

2 April 2012

How can a city-car be rear drive and upmarket ? VW got sense and changed the Up to FWD at the last minute. Renault need to wake up and smell the coffee.

2 April 2012

I have to agree with Uncle Mellow this is not a wise move on Renault's part.They need to replace their mainstream models and make them truly competitive before they even think of anything else.Have they forgotten the disaster of the Vel Satis !!

2 April 2012

[quote Flash Harry]I have to agree with Uncle Mellow this is not a wise move on Renault's part.[/quote]

They used to have their own version of Bangle, called Patrick Le Quement. They are only now getting over his term. His ideas must have sounded modern when voiced but in execution they were regressive, cack-handed and downright clumsy. Anything has to be better. There EV models show they can be ultra-modern.

2 April 2012

[quote Uncle Mellow] How can a city-car be rear drive and upmarket ?[/quote]

why are these two mutually exclusive?

2 April 2012

[quote curious_insider][quote Uncle Mellow] How can a city-car be rear drive and upmarket ?[/quote] why are these two mutually exclusive? [/quote]Of course. [Oops "their]

2 April 2012

No Renault, no, when will you learn?! When the Twingo was launched in the UK you stuck only with the higher end models and it didn't work, why will it work a second time round, most people want a cheap ctiy runaround, not a high end one, the high end small cars are covered by the 500 and MINI, Vauxhall think they can do it with the Junior, I expect that to fail too.

2 April 2012

Most customers wouldn't know or care that it was RWD - just ask a non-petrolhead owner of a 1-Series and they'll be clueless.

Still, it would make it much more fun to drive than the competition. And if Renaultsport get their hands on it, it should be an absolute riot!

2 April 2012

[quote curious_insider]

[quote Uncle Mellow] How can a city-car be rear drive and upmarket ?[/quote]

why are these two mutually exclusive?

[/quote]

Was wondering that myself too...and actually, a RWD, rear-engined city car has several advantages over a front-engined, FWD car - which is why VW considered the idea but ultimately scrapped it because of (I presume) costs.

 

- Follow your own star -

2 April 2012

I'm all in favour of manufacturers innovating and exploring different concepts in their drivelines, rather than simply accepting the status quo of front transverse engine and FWD, which arrived at the same time that F1 went to rear-engine RWD - 50+ years ago. Surely with EVs, hybrids and ever more compact ICE powerplants, it's about time we saw some interesting new concepts which suit 21st century transportation and driving.

Will be interesting to see how they go with it, though. As was already pointed out, VW couldn't make it work for the Up! family, and their volumes are likely to be substantially higher than Renault's. Mercedes tried with the A-class and gave up, and from what I understand, smart has lost a lot of money for Daimler since it was founded.

2 April 2012

I think Renault ought to be commended for this. Yes, some of their recent 'dare-to-be-different' cars have been laughable (the Avantime being the obvious example) but a rear-engined Twingo might just work.

Renault's current range, while commendable enough (I drive and love a six-month-old Clio dCi), is rather dull and could do with a huge injection of brio (if that is the right word) to distinguish it from what everyone else is doing. VW doesn't need to do this - people will buy its cars anyway - but without this level of market penetration, Renault has got to think of new ways to bring the punters in.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?