Hardly anything like a rear-drive car. The new Twingo, by Renault’s own admission, has been tuned to be as similar to a typical front-drive city car as possible.
Even though the car’s weight distribution is balanced 55 per cent rear and 45 per cent front, there's hardly any sense that the Twingo is moderately tail heavy. It’s even hard to place the source of the engine’s prominent warbling note when you're hard on the gas.
The Twingo’s driving position is higher and more upright than normal and none the worse for it. The dash is flat and upright, as are the door panels and the overall effect makes the cockpit feel quite spacious and liveable for car this compact.
That effect is magnified when bowling along at 70mph on the motorway, where the Twingo is quite hushed and feels unusually capable of longer, high-speed, journeys than nearly any other A-segment car (save for the exemplary VW Up).
There was a reasonable amount of wind noise and whistle around the A-pillars and wing mirrors, but it is possible that this was more noticeable due to a lack of noise from under the bonnet. The Twingo also felt pretty well tied down at motorway speeds and straight running, perhaps another benefit of the rear-mounted engine.
On more winding roads, it was possible to get this car flowing quite nicely, once the engine was operating around its peak torque levels (frustratingly, the Twingo does not have a rev counter as standard). The shift action is little overlong, but then the linkage has to reach back into the rear of the car.
It is possible to pull a series of B-road curves in to a satisfying whole, once you’ve got the engine on the boil. Despite its resolutely ordinary set-up (although this model does get steering which is usefully half-a-turn quicker than on the normally-aspirated car) the Twingo has some country road potential.
Our test car had covered just 250 miles or so, and felt very tight and took some revving to get going. That will improve over time, but it has quite a decent pace. In general, the Twingo’s ride was pretty good, though it was disturbed by short-wave undulations and broken surfaces. The tyres also kicked up something of a racket on coarse surfaces.
Naturally, the Twingo was at one with the city environment, especially thanks to its exceptionally tight turning circle.