2012 Renault Twizy review

  • New Twizy electric vehicle driven in UK
  • Range of around 60 miles
  • Priced from £6690
Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy
The Renault Twizy is a unique electric vehicle designed for urban driving. It's a quadricycle rather than a car and offers motoring in its simplest form; doors are an optional extra, there are no side windows and the suspension components are exposed.

At 2338mm long and 1396mm wide, the Renault Twizy is smaller than a Smart Fortwo. What's more, it's exempt from road tax and the London Congestion Charge thanks to its electric powertrain, which gives it 17bhp and a top speed of 50mph.

As with other models in Renault's ZE (zero emission) range, you buy the vehicle and then lease the battery; leasing will cost between £48 and £67 per month, depending on annual mileage and contract terms.

The official range is 62 miles, while a full charge of the battery takes around three-and-a-half hours and costs around £1, according to Renault.

What's the 2012 Renault Twizy like to drive?
The Twizy hasn't got power steering, which is an issue while parking, but it's easy enough to drive around town and a 6.8-metre turning circle is impressively tight.

Renault Twizy: a quadricycle rather than a car

A smooth power delivery and responsive brakes add to its appeal, and the gentle whine from the electric motor doesn't irritate.

However, the ride is extremely firm; even minor imperfections in the road surface make the Twizy feel unsettled and you'll want to swerve around potholes whenever possible.

The Twizy is strictly an urban vehicle, because it feels out of its depth on larger A-roads.

The absence of windows – and doors on some versions – means occupants get little protection from the elements.

Renault Twizy
Occupants are exposed to the elements in the Renault Twizy

What's the 2012 Renault Twizy like inside?
The Twizy's dashboard is extremely basic. The speedometer and estimated range are displayed on a small digital screen, while the only buttons are for the hazard warning lights and switching between drive, reverse and neutral.

There are two seats arranged in tandem, with the front one sliding back and forth to help the driver get comfortable. However, the backrest and steering wheel do not adjust and the passenger has to sit with their legs either side of the driver.

Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy: basic interior

Rear vision is compromised by the absence of a central rear-view mirror and rear window, too.

Unsurprisingly, the Twizy has little room for luggage. All you get is some mesh netting and a couple of small, lockable compartments – one on the dashboard and another behind the rear seat.

Aside from the £545 doors, the options list includes a leisure bag for £95, a water-resistant blanket costing £110 and a £270 Parrot Bluetooth audio system.

Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy: doors cost extra

Should I buy one?
The Twizy is an ideal option for anyone who wants the convenience of a scooter with some of the safety offered by a car. What's more, it's far from expensive, with a starting price of £6690.

Given that it has no heating or windows, however, the times when you'll be able to use the Twizy in the UK will be limited, and not overly enjoyable.

Read the Renault Twizy review for parents at Mumsnet Cars

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Dan Alcock

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