What is it?
Style is everything nowadays in the city car segment. It is no longer enough for cars like the Renault Twingo to merely offer a good value, solid dynamic package, when even rivals from Korea, such as the Kia Picanto, are starting to have greater visual appeal to the more fashion conscious motorist.
This revised version of the Twingo is Renault’s response to the segment’s trend. The Twingo gets a thoroughly contemporary exterior makeover as part of its mid-life revisions, along with some barely noticeable tweaks to the interior.
There’s also a response to the likes of the Citroen DS3, Fiat 500 and Mini with a much longer list of colour and trim options, designed to give an air of individuality to each Twingo that rolls down the production line.
What’s it like?
What Renault hasn’t made any revisions to is the chassis or powertrain line-up. So it’s business as usual in this Twingo, which remains a pleasantly polished dynamic proposition.
The ride quality was a particular highlight on our test car, which came equipped with optional 15in alloys. It was supple, composed and comfortable at all speeds, and didn’t have a tendency to send the shockwaves through the cabin one might expect of a car with large wheels and a short wheelbase.
The handling was also pleasing, with the lightweight 950kg Twingo showing a willingness to hold on and not wash away at the front end when pushed. Its slight tendency to roll, however, was heightened by a lack of grip offered from the driver’s seat. Another dynamic foible is the electric steering’s lifeless feel around the straight ahead.
As before, the base Twingo gets the 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine as fitted to our test car. 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. The anaemic engine also makes for a noisy companion at motorway speeds, proving to be fairly vocal sitting at around 3000rpm at 70mph.
One somewhat surprising feature given the noises coming from under the bonnet was the impressive economy. No matter how hard the engine worked, the Twingo never dropped below 48.0mpg, respectfully within reach of its 55.4mpg claimed figure.
While the styling changes have done wonders to lift the exterior of the Twingo, it’s disappointing the dowdy interior isn’t similarly fit for purpose. The perceived quality remains patchy and it’s a fairly miserable place to spend a journey with a lack of any real design flair those looking at the car from the outside benefit from. The driving position isn’t great for taller drivers, who will be hampered by the lack of reach adjustment from the steering wheel.
Should I buy one?
Renault has nearly struck gold with the revised Twingo, broadening its appeal with some handsome new exterior looks and keeping the excellent chassis and its fun-to-drive traits untouched. But the style conscious buyers Renault will be looking to attract will be put off by the interior and the enthusiast may be tempted to look elsewhere for the punch to match its poise.
Better news on the latter front is on the horizion: the Twingo is in line to get a torquey new 0.9-litre three-cylinder engine as its base powerplant next year.