Developing a car for a driver who has yet to pass his or her test must have been a tricky task, even considering the chassis tuning expertise that we know Renaultsport possesses. And given that Renault’s business plan is to sell lower-powered Twizys to European teenagers ineligible to drive a full-sized car, the dynamic manners of the car make perfect sense.
The Twizy is a simple, manoeuvrable, lively entertainer at everyday urban speeds and up to a fairly conservative threshold of grip. There is no ESP or traction control, though.
Once you’ve breached the Twizy’s lateral hold on the road – something that’s easy enough to do on a wet urban bend at entirely legal speeds – the car lets you know with absolute, non-negotiable understeer. And that understeer can only be managed by doing what we’d all want the giddy 16-year-old pilot to do: slowing down.
The car’s remarkable roll stiffness primarily defines its motive character. The body barely leans when negotiating tight turns or roundabouts. Instead, short springs and chunky anti-roll bars load up the contact patches of the Twizy’s skinny tyres the instant you turn the steering wheel. The car responds very quickly to steering inputs but never leans on its outside wheels hard enough to produce extremes of lateral grip.
That breezy, amusingly accessible handling is partnered with ride comfort that’s slightly compromised, though. Renault’s decision to dial out body roll from the Twizy has also dialled out most of the compliance from the chassis – particularly at the rear end.
The suspension deals with drain covers, sleeping policemen and broken urban asphalt quite abruptly and with little concern for your comfort. That responsive steering and narrow track make it easy to drive around disturbances in the road much of the time – but on the occasions when you can’t, you’ll wish that you could trade just a little of the Twizy’s body control for wheel travel.