Unless you go for the quite brilliant 1.6-litre petrol-powered Renaultsport version, the Twingo comes with just one engine: a 74bhp 1.2-litre unit. There’s talk of a new 0.9-litre three-pot to come, but for the time being, the revised Mk2 Twingo range has just the sole powerplant after the 98bhp 1.2 petrol version bit the dust as part of Renault’s realignment of its entire UK range.
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. Peak power doesn’t arrive until 5500rpm; it’s very much a waiting game until that moment arrives. You won’t have the patience to see if the top speed of 105mph can ever be achieved.
The lack of power isn’t compensated for by a glut of torque, either. Peak torque of 79lb ft arrives at 4250rpm, so there’s no diesel-like surge thanks to a strong low end off the line.
The anaemic engine also makes for a noisy companion at motorway speeds, proving to be fairly vocal sitting at around 3000rpm at 70mph. Its five-speed gearbox doesn’t help this; its top ratio feels too short, especially when many of the Twingo’s rivals are now offered with six-speed manual gearboxes and the refinement and economy benefits these bring.
Still, at least the Twingo manages to slip below the 120g/km threshold with its CO2 emissions of 119g/km. And despite the rather sorry performance and the noises coming from under the bonnet, more than 50mpg is easily achievable in mixed driving conditions, which is just below the official figure of 55.4mpg.