Used test: Renault Twingo Renault Sport vs Fiat 500 Abarth vs Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart

With a new, quicker Renault Twingo around the corner, we find out whether now's the time to buy a used Twingo Renault Sport, or if you'd be better off with one of its rivals

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Renault Twingo Renault Sport with Fiat 500 Abarth and Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart

Our Verdict

If you want a hot hatch that won't break the bank, you won’t go far wrong with any of these three. All deliver thrills by the bucketload, but it’s the Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart that makes you suffer the most compromises.

It is affordable and unusual, but it’s also the most comfortable and practical car here. Yet these aren’t the sort of attributes to get your heart racing. The powerhouse engine is, but the Colt is let down by slack body control and poorly weighted steering. It's good, but not good enough, in this company.

There’s plenty to recommend the Fiat 500 Abarth, though. True, it has a mushy gearshift and an awkward driving position, both of which count against it, but while it’s pricey, its popularity has proven that if you want the 500’s style, you’ll probably be willing to pay for it. What’s more, it has a peach of an engine, and it’s great fun to drive.

But it doesn’t quite have the finesse of the Renault Twingo Renault Sport through a set of bends. Renault has a great reputation for making hot hatches, and once you’ve driven the Twingo Renault Sport, it’s easy to understand why. The expert know-how that has gone into honing the chassis bestows it with poise and precision that our other contenders can’t even get close to, so it thrills you more on every journey.

You could argue that the thrashy engine should count against it, but the noise just adds to the fun, and there’s enough speed to keep you giggling. Who cares about a firm ride and limited practicality? The fact that the Twingo is now the cheapest car here to buy simply seals the deal.

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Read more – the best and worst hot hatches

Read more – our full review of the all-new Renault Twingo

1st – Renault Twingo

For Amazing chassis; great steering; seriously cheap to buy

Against Harsh ride; noisy engine; needs to be revved; bland dashboard

Verdict The Twingo harnesses every bit of Renaultsport’s hot hatch experience. A properly engineered sports car, now available for a bargain price. Amazing.

Rated 4 out of 5

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2nd – Fiat 500

For Strong engine; good handling; great looks inside and out; safety kit

Against Less polished to drive than the Twingo; driving position; pricey to buy

Verdict Not quite as much fun as the Renault, but better to look at inside and out. Expensive, yes, but should hold its value too.

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full Fiat 500 review

Find a used Fiat 500 in the What Car? Classifieds

3rd – Mitsubishi Colt

For Impressive pace; most forgiving ride; roomy cabin; plenty of equipment

Against Doesn’t handle as well as it goes; odd steering; nasty dashboard plastics

Verdict It’s no mini Evo, but the Colt Ralliart is still good fun. If practicality, comfort and speed are your top priorities, it hits the spot, though the interior’s still naff.

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full used Mitsubishi Colt review

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Also consider:

Specifications: Fiat 500 1.4 T-Jet Abarth

Engine size 1.4-litre petrol

List price when new Β£13,600

Price today Β£5000-Β£15,000

Power 133bhp

Torque 152lb ft

0-60mph 7.8sec

Top speed 123mph

Fuel economy 43.4mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 155g/km

Specifications: Mitsubishi Colt 1.5 T Ralliart 3dr

Engine size 1.5-litre petrol

List price when new Β£12,249

Price today Β£3,500-Β£6500

Power 131bhp

Torque 118lb ft

0-60mph 7.2sec

Top speed 125mph

Fuel economy 41.5mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 161g/km

Specifications: Renault Twingo 1.6 Renaultsport 133 Cup

Engine size 1.6-litre petrol

List price when new Β£12,220

Price today Β£2000-Β£6500

Power 131bhp

Torque 118lb ft

0-60mph 9.6sec

Top speed 118mph

Fuel economy 40.4mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 165g/km

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