Renault Twingo Bizu tested
* Bargain-basement Twingo * 6595 and reasonably equipped * On sale until June...
What is it?
We've always liked the Twingo for its cute looks and grown-up driving manners, but Renault's city car has always looked a little expensive next to some rivals, most of which have more equipment. Not any more. This new Bizu special edition drops the Twingo's starting price to just 6595, making it one of the cheapest new cars on sale.
What's it like to drive?
Thankfully, it's just like any other entry-level Twingo. The 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine isn't exactly electrifying, but it feels reasonably zippy away from the mark, and it's flexible enough for an easy life. The dinky dimensions and light steering means threading the Twingo through crowded city streets is a doddle, too. The steering gets heavier out of town, and we'd prefer a little more weight and feel in bends.
There's a bit of body lean through corners, too, but the pay-off is a ride that's surprisingly supple for such a small car. Unfortunately, the notchy gearshift doesn't feel anywhere near as civilised, and the engine gets a little rowdy and breathless on the motorway.
What's it like inside?
The interior has cheerful design, robust plastics and an impressively substantial (if not especially classy) feel. The standard of the materials is a lot easier to forgive when the car is this cheap, though. Unfortunately, there's no height adjustment for the driver's seat or reach adjustment for the steering wheel, so the driving position is somewhat like-it-or-lump-it, and it feels awkwardly high. Still, the cabin has room for four (just about), and a reasonable boot.
Should I buy one?
If you're looking for affordable style, then yes. There are plenty of super-cheap cars out there, but let's face it - many of them look a little, well, awkward. That's a big turn-off for young, style-conscious buyers, and now that the chic little Twingo has a bargain-basement pricetag, it'll be very appealing.
That pricetag shaves 2300 off the price of the normal entry point into the range, the 1.2 Expression. Sure, the Bizu does without the Expression's rev counter, front foglamps and rear headrests, but that's all replaced by a Bluetooth handsfree phone system, which most buyers would rather have anyway. You still get the Expression's electric front windows, remote locking and a CD player.
Running costs are just as low as the pricetag, too, with average economy of 55.4mpg, CO2 emissions of 119g/km, and a group 9 insurance rating.
Sound good? Well, you'd better get in quick the Bizu is on sale only until the end of June.