From £8,8456
Special-edition Twingo is packed with kit for a reasonable price, but a practicality deficit and a gutless engine leave us feeling cold

Our Verdict

Renault Twingo

Will Renault storm the market with its rear-engined city car?

  • First Drive

    2016 Renault Twingo GT review

    The Twingo GT is the most enjoyable to drive Twingo there is, but it's not enough to warrant buying one before better rivals
  • First Drive

    2016 Renault Twingo The Colour Run review

    Special-edition Twingo is packed with kit for a reasonable price, but a practicality deficit and a gutless engine leave us feeling cold
27 July 2016

What is it?

This is Renault’s latest attempt to get younger drivers behind the wheel of its funky rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive city car.

As part of a 2016 sponsorship deal with The Colour Run (TCR) – an increasingly popular series of UK-based 5km-running events in which competitors are bombarded with rainbow-coloured powder (think Indian Holi Festival) - Renault has taken the opportunity to produce a vibrant special-edition Twingo.  

Based on the mid-range Twingo Play, the TCR comes packed with a range of kit including air conditioning, daytime running lights, electric front windows, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, a USB socket and Renault’s R&GO infotainment system.

However, to set this special edition apart from the rest of the standard styling packs, the TCR also receives an electric panoramic fabric folding sunroof, 15in ‘Exception’ alloy wheels, special edition decals, custom floor mats and the choice of any compatible Exterior Touch Pack and Interior Style Pack.

Considering that an equivalent Twingo Play is a whopping £800 more expensive, the £10,495 TCR certainly looks like good value. 

What's it like?

This is essentially the same Renault Twingo that’s been on sale since 2014, with the same base 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 69bhp and 67lb ft.

Even in a car this light – just 864kg - the engine needs to be worked hard if you want to get anywhere even remotely quickly. Uphill sections usually require you to change down at least one gear in order to maintain momentum and the engine also feels and sounds rather gruff and unrefined. A notchy five-speed gearbox and a vague clutch further rob the driver of any real enjoyment.

Dynamically the Twingo feels most at home in a city environment. With light steering, an 8.9m turning circle and short overhangs, you’d be hard pushed to find something more maneuverable, apart from perhaps a black cab. However, the Twingo suffers from a firmer ride compared with the best competition, no doubt in part due to the necessary stiffness of the rear suspension to support the weight of the engine.

Country roads uncover even more of the Twingo’s dynamic shortcomings. For a rear-engined, rear-wheel drive hatchback the little Renault is disappointingly numb and uninspiring. The light steering provides little to no feedback, the stability control cuts in far too early during cornering and the brakes feel over-assisted - a Renault 5 Turbo this is not.

Interior wise, the cabin is the same as that found in the Twingo Play, with some nice touches to set the TCR apart as its own unique edition. The bold Powder Blue paint scheme is carried over into the cabin with a set of coordinated plastic panels, the seats have attractive contrast inserts and the floor mats are adorned with colourful TCR logos. Some will find the interior sickly sweet, but we think the vibrant upholstery adds to what is otherwise a rather simplistic cabin.

Ergonomically the Twingo is a mixed bag. There’s plenty of room up front, the driving position is reasonably good and visibility is pretty decent. However, rear space is limited, with only two seats and limited head room due to the extra space taken up by the panoramic sunroof.

Unfortunately, putting the engine in the rear has also eaten into available boot space, with the Twingo only providing 188 litres. For reference, the Volkswagen Up gives a comparatively generous 251 litres. Thankfully, both rear seats fold flat, bringing the storage space of the Twingo up to that of its competitors. But we can’t help but feel that Renault missed a trick by not providing a Porsche 911-esque front boot. 

Should I buy one?

With its unique layout, the Twingo has always looked - on paper, at least - like an enticing choice. However, its lack of grunt, vague handling and limited practicality mean it has never stacked up in the real world compared with the best competition, and this special edition has done very little to change that.

Ultimately, the TCR’s biggest selling point is that it’s £800 cheaper than an equivalent Twingo Play. However, with engine choice limited to that gutless 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, we’d rather spend our money on the more engaging and equally practical VW Up. 

Neil Winn

2016 Renault Twingo The Colour Run 

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £10,495; Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, petrol; Power 69bhp; Torque 67lb ft; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 864kg; 0-62mph 14.5sec; Top speed 94mph; Economy 56.5mpg (combined); CO2 rating/BIK tax band 112g/km, 19%

Join the debate

Comments
8

27 July 2016
Let's face it, VW couldn't make it work - and on the evidence of the current Twingo / Smart range neither can Renault. It seems there are just too many disadvantages to overcome, while the potential positives of good handling and traction and light uncorrupted steering have not been realised. This special edition doesn't change anything. It's just a desperate attempt to increase sales numbers at a slightly more realistic price. What Renault needs is something more akin to the original Twingo - now that really was a fun little car.

27 July 2016
But the slow numb steering without a doubt is deliberate. Same applies to over-active stability system. So the potential advantages for handling - weren't realize due to fears about deadly consequences for consumers unfamiliar with the handling of rear engined cars - and undoubtedly someone at headquarters with no doubt worried about law suit consequences on top of it all.

27 July 2016
This car has failed. They are selling pre-reg cars in Germany for 7,000 euro.
drastic measures are needed now.
They need to build a three door version and hope to capture the fiat 500 demographic.
3 door photoshop images of this car look great.

I tmay cost to engineer the 3 door model but anything is better than sellign cars at a loss.

27 July 2016
dipole wrote:

This car has failed.

Really? It has failed? You know in Europe, the VW up from Jan to May this year only sold around 6k more cars. If you take Up/Mii/Citigo sales vs the Twingo/forfour sales, then there is a 12000 difference in sales. Not bad when you consider that the up! is sold over 3 brands.

27 July 2016
superstevie wrote:
dipole wrote:

This car has failed.

Really? It has failed? You know in Europe, the VW up from Jan to May this year only sold around 6k more cars. If you take Up/Mii/Citigo sales vs the Twingo/forfour sales, then there is a 12000 difference in sales. Not bad when you consider that the up! is sold over 3 brands.

Can't edit, so I have to quote myself....

So I think the only way this car has failed is that it isn't as fun to drive as it could have been. Plus, the interior isn't special enough.

27 July 2016
The Up, CitiGo and Mii aren't discounted anywhere near as much as the Twingo and they and the facelift is being built in the factory only in the last few weeks.
The only car I'm seeing in the class with heavier discounts is the C1.
The Twingo needs a 3 door version and if the reviews for the electric version of the twingo when/if it comes are good then there is a very good chance I'll buy one.
If you sell cars at a loss or low profit it is easy to get the volumes but that doesn't keep a car company in business.

29 July 2016
dipole wrote:

The Up, CitiGo and Mii aren't discounted anywhere near as much as the Twingo and they and the facelift is being built in the factory only in the last few weeks.
The only car I'm seeing in the class with heavier discounts is the C1.
The Twingo needs a 3 door version and if the reviews for the electric version of the twingo when/if it comes are good then there is a very good chance I'll buy one.
If you sell cars at a loss or low profit it is easy to get the volumes but that doesn't keep a car company in business.

Do you know that they are making a loss on them?

30 July 2016
a manufacturer is lucky to make 500 euro on the average citycar.
if they are selling them for 7000 pre-reg then they are losing money. if the pre-reg cars are on garage lots in quantity then they are losing money.
you don't need to have access to internal accounts to know they are losing money on this car.
The objective for any manufacturer is to get a factory working at near 100% occupancy and they are getting nowhere near that.

They really need to gamble on a Twingo ZE EV and 3 door model now to turn things around. If they can't get traction with this platform which they have invested hundreds of millions of euro in then they have to go back to the drawing board and design a new platform years before they've recovered the development costs on the current platform

I'd prefer to see them make a success of the Twingo. I had a top of the range version with dual clutch gearbox for two days and it was a genuinely interesting car.

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