Good to drive and comfortable to be in, but let down by a high price and poor emissions

What is it?

This car was not intended for the UK market. Originally Renault was only going to import the better equipped and more powerful Twingo Dynamique, GT and the RenaultSport Twingo.

But now there’s been a change of heart, officially because of the UK’s growing demand for cheaper, greener, cars. And the base Twingo, complete with a 1.2-litre petrol engine, has come to these shores. With 59bhp and 69lb ft of torque it’s no firecracker, and although it’s cheaper than the rest of the range, it still looks pricey compared to city car rivals.

What’s it like?

Good, but very much outclassed here in the UK.

The Twingo Extreme has many strong points; it rides very well, has class-leading boot space, four Euro NCAP stars and fits a full spare tyre into a car weighing just 950kg and measuring 3800mm in length. The chassis, which proves such a joy in the GT, also shines in this base car, though even on the 6000rpm redline you won’t be going anywhere very fast.

Even so, the interior feels cheap, the engine is thrashy above 4500rpm and tyre noise resonates around the cabin at most speeds. You even lose the two individual, sliding rear seats that make such a practical and novel feature in the pricier Dynamique model, which also gets a more powerful 75bhp, 16-valve engine.

But the real clincher here is a CO2 output of 132g/km, which is simply too high for this class. A Toyota Aygo produces 109g/km, and it is now the norm for a city car to emit less than 120g/km. Fuel consumption is also below average, at almost 10mpg below the popular 1.0-litre Aygo.

And that’s not the limit of the baby Renault’s problems – it’s also more expensive than both the Aygo and Hyundai’s brilliantly-specced i10.

Should I buy one?

With figures such as these and competition ever cheaper, more efficient and better quality, it is difficult to find a good reason for the Twingo Extreme’s presence here in the UK, and even harder to see why you should buy one.

But the Twingo is a very likeable car, and if you fall for the cute looks and old-school handling ability then you’re better off digging a little deeper for the extra needed for the Dynamique.

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Anonymous 13 April 2008

Re: Renault Twingo 1.2 60 Extreme

Seems an odd decision. I wonder how much scope for discounting the dealers will have?

dc_manchester 4 April 2008

Re: Renault Twingo 1.2 60 Extreme

I never understood Renault UK's approach to marketing the new Twingo when it was first launched. They seemed intent on positioning it as some kind of premium small car when it was clearly a vehicle designed as a cheap city car. It needs to be priced to rival the C1, 107 etc. it is never going to be as desirable as the Mini and Fiat 500.