Spent the evening in one of my favourite cars last night and it got me thinking. It’s one of the cheapest hot hatches on the market, and in fact one of the cheaper new cars you can buy today.
The car in question is the Renaultsport Twingo 133, fitted with the optional Cup pack. First of all it looks fantastic in my opinion with its chunky wheel arches and sporty interior. Lairy, unique and looking far faster than it actually is, with possibly one of the nicest set of alloys around for any price.
The devil is in the detail with the Twingo RS, or rather the lack of it. I’m fascinated by the little touches that I’m guessing keep the price down to around £12K, which should be less if you ask nicely. There’s no auto electric windows, a hard plastic dashboard, and the usual two flashing indicator lights on the dashboard – one for both right and left – are replaced by a single one.
It’s not very fast the Twingo, but it is incredible fun and testament to the fact that all you need to make a great hot hatch is a peppy engine, a sorted chassis and some good tyres.
So how low could you go with this hot hatch business? Take the Nissan Pixo or Hyundai i10 for example (stay with me on this one). They are both good cars to drive, with nimble, fun handling, decent steering and, in the Hyundai’s case, discs all round.
Now you need to find a slightly larger engine from the ranges that would fit, and if not maybe a new exhaust, air filter and ECU tweak – anything that is a cheap way of squeezing out a bit more power.
Then fit some harder springs, a slightly larger set of wheels, some plastic wheel arches and a few bits of chintz inside. The end result should be a fun hot hatch for peanuts. Should.
So can you really make a viable Pixo RS for less than £10K or am I spending too much time daydreaming and not enough time enjoying the Twingo? Answers on a postcard…