What's the used Renault Twingo hatchback like?
The layout of a small car is usually a straightforward affair of engine in the front, powering the front wheels, and a small interior a small boot. Deviating from this norm costs money, which is not the done thing when making a city car.
But with the help of Smart, Renault was able to come up with an unconventional new car. The Renault Twingo shares its platform with the Smart Fourfour, meaning you have a car with its engine in the rear (under the boot floor) driving the rear wheels. The idea is that this frees up space for a bigger interior without compromising crash safety.
By having the engine in the rear of the Twingo, the boot floor is raised up so there’s therefore no loading lip, which makes sliding heavy bags or a suitcase in there a breeze. When you fold the rear seats down, they lay down flat. Even the front passenger seat can fold down onto its base to enable much longer items to be transported. The downside is that when all the seats are up, the boot is smaller than the rival Seat Mii's, even when the seat backs in the rear are put in a more upright position to increase overall capacity.
Out on the road, the Twingo isn’t very refined; there's a bit too much wind and road noise at speed and the ride isn’t particularly smooth. The Hyundai i10 has quieter road manners and is better suited to the odd motorway journey. The manual gearbox in the Twingo is a bit notchy, too, and isn’t as slick as the one in the Volkswagen Up.
The steering isn’t the Twingo’s best feature either. The SCe has rather vague steering, and, despite the more powerful TCe and GT models getting a variable-ratio steering rack (the aim of which is to make the car feel more agile at town speeds and more stable on the motorway), it still doesn’t inspire much confidence at speed.
On the upside, body control is reasonably good and there is plenty of grip. The GT has firmer sports suspension that doesn’t help the ride quality and is best avoided.