Renault Twingo review
The headlights, grille and bumpers are all new, while the rear tailgate and lights have also been redesigned.
The new-look nose features an enlarged Renault logo sitting in the middle of a narrow grille that flows directly into the headlights. These, and the foglights, are positioned next to the grille, with ‘eyelids’ on the headlights giving the car a ‘face’.
There are no mechanical changes to go along with the new looks – this is a face-lift in the strictest sense of the word – but Renault has introduced a range of personalisation options. These include new roof decals, as well as the option to choose different colours for the door mirrors.
Inside, there are new patterns on the upholstery, with the edgings picked out in contrasting colours and all the stitching coordinated.
What’s it like to drive?
With no mechanical changes, there’s no surprise that the ‘new’ Twingo drives just like the previous one.
Our test car came with the entry-level 1.2-litre engine and, while it gives reasonable pace around town and will get up to the legal limit on the motorway, you won’t get anywhere especially quickly – or quietly: the engine is noisy when revved, and there’s plenty of noise on the motorway. More modern rivals, such as the VW Up, really show it up in this respect.
Around town, though, the Twingo isn’t too bad to drive: its light steering and tiny size mean it’s an easy car to thread through congested streets. However, on the open road, it’s not such fun: the shortage of feel in the steering combines with the obvious body roll and unsupportive seats to make this a car you won’t drive just for the hell of it.
To make matters worse, our test car suffered from an uncomfortable ride. Whether driving at low speed around town or at higher speed on the motorway, ruts and ridges were only too obviously felt inside.
What’s it like inside?
As before, one of the biggest disappointments in the Twingo is that the boldness of the exterior isn’t really reflected inside. Yes, it’s a distinctive design, with the bulbous instrument housing and the rev-counter planted on top of the steering column, but the swathes of hard grey plastic do nothing to endear the car to an owner - they feel as cheap as they look.
At least there’s a reasonable amount of space inside. Although the driver’s seat is set rather high, there’s plenty of head- and legroom in the front, while the two sliding rear seats allow you to choose between legroom and boot space.
The only drawback is that you can have one or the other in reasonable quantity – but not both at the same time.
Should I buy one?
The Twingo certainly looks better than ever, but it’s now starting to feel its age, especially the 1.2 75 Dynamique model we drove.
The engine doesn’t perform well and is unrefined when you work it hard, while the handling is far from the best.
Upgrading to a different model in the Twingo range, with more power and sharper handling, is certainly worth considering. The 1.2 TCE and Renaultsport models are better buys.
However, with the arrival in this class of three major new models – the Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and VW Up – the Twingo now feels distinctly average. Before you think about buying a Twingo, we recommend you try at least one of its VW Group rivals.
What Car? says…
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