When the first Renault Twingo appeared at the Paris motor show in 1992, it was a huge breath of fresh air in a new car market that had gone stylistically stale.
The increasing use of customer clinics to assess styling proposals for new cars, as well as all-powerful marketing departments, had resulted in increasingly bland cars.
Renault’s then design boss, Patrick Le Quément, was determined to break the mould. The Twingo was perhaps one of the few ‘post-modern’ cars created outside Japan. Its soft monobox shape, almost toy-like detailing and primary colours flew in the face of the polished anonymity of most cars of the period.
Of course, being an entry-level town car meant that more risks could be taken with the design, but the Twingo effectively fired the starting gun that, eventually, resulted in much more daring mainstream designs appearing towards the end of the 1990s.
However, while the new Twingo has the spirit of the original car, it is actually stylistically influenced by the Renault 5 hatchback.
Renault styling boss Laurens van den Acker told Autocar: “Originally, I asked 15 designers to come up with a replacement for the original Twingo. One designer decided to reinvent the original Renault 5 instead, embracing that car’s proportions, and that was the winning entry. In any case, current pedestrian protection rules mean that we can’t recreate the original car’s sloping nose.”