Renault's third-generation city car impresses about town, but this naturally aspirated Twingo won't be to everyone's liking

What is it?

Renault’s all-new Twingo, tested in the UK for the first time. The new city car is most notable for being rear-engined and rear-wheel drive as it enters its third generation, what with it being a sister car to the upcoming Smart Forfour

Two three-cylinder engines are on offer: a 1.0-litre naturally aspirated unit and a 0.9-litre turbo. It’s the former we’re testing here. 

What's it like?

As our first drive of the new Twingo in France at the end of August revealed, the new Twingo feels distinctly like a conventional front-driver in the way it goes. If you want to replicate old-school city car charm and thrills from a bygone era, best head into the classifieds. 

What you get with this new Twingo is a charm of a different kind. It’s a car that makes you feel good to look at inside and out; the cabin is spacious, the materials respectable, the colours are cheerful. 

To drive, it’s got all the character that all good city cars should have. It actually feels a bit like a Fiat Panda, or that could be the mind playing tricks what with some of the interior shapes, sense of space and the lofty driving position. 

The ride is comfortable and supple enough except over the most high-frequency of surfaces. The steering is far too light though, though the car corners respectfully, and can raise a smile if you keep the momentum going through a series of bends. 

This Twingo is at its best in the city, something you’d hope would be the case given its brief. There the light steering is more welcome as you weave through traffic. Parking and manoeuvres are a doddle thanks to the exceptional turning circle. 

The 1.0-litre engine is also zesty enough around town and can sound quite fruity with enough throttle, but this engine is also this car’s weak point. Its sluggish performance when accelerating beyond 30mph makes driving outside the city limits a chore.

When you eventually get up to motorway speeds, the engine sounds and feels like it’s struggling, and careful planning is needed for any lane change or upcoming roundabout if all momentum is not to be lost.

That lack of refinement also rears itself when the car is stationary without the stop-start system engaged. So bad are the vibrations, it feels as if 100 mobile phones are going off on vibrate at once and a couple of folk outside are rocking the car. Better hope that stop-start system, which seems a bit too selective about the scenarios when it works, kicks in.

Should I buy one?

The Twingo won’t be for everyone, but for those that are sold on its many charms should opt for the turbocharged 0.9-litre version, which adds even more character and more rounded performance to go with it.

This naturally aspirated version is only for you if you never make it outside the ring road.

Renault Twingo Dynamique SCe 70

Price £10,995; 0-62mph 14.5sec; Top speed 94mph; Economy 67.3mpg; CO2 95g/km; Kerb weight 865kg; Engine 3cyls, 999cc, petrol; Power 69bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 67lb ft at 2850rpm; Gearbox 5-speed manual 

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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, autocar.co.uk website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

Add a comment…
superstevie 9 October 2014

Seen a yellow one on the road

Seen a yellow one on the road today, looked great.
david RS 9 October 2014

Too high...

Too high...
marj 8 October 2014


So we find out no more than the test in France, other than French and British roads are pretty much the same....