- We like...happy looks, fuel economy, low emissions
- We don't...boring cabin
Buzzy city car looks great but makes a racket on the moveTwingo. A perfect name for a chocolate bar. Instead, it’s a cheery roller-skate of a car, the smallest that Renault makes. The Twingo comes in two flavours at present: a 1.2, 75bhp and this one, which squeezes 100bhp from its 1149cc motor courtesy of a small, efficient turbocharger. A third, full-on performance Twingo is due soon.
For now, we’re in the GT, the fastest Twingo you can buy. But it isn’t that quick, dashing from rest to 62mph in a leisurely 9.8sec, although the turbo gives ‘overboost’ – an added spurt of power – if you floor the throttle. You’re unlikely to do that often, though, because of the racket the engine makes. It gets thrashy and harsh as the revs rise and it isn’t a sound you’ll enjoy. Still, it is at least economical, its best overall 47.8mpg coming within a whisker of what the 75bhp Twingo manages. And its 140g/km CO2 emissions are low for a 100bhp car. There’s group 5 insurance to consider, too, and the promise of cheap cover that it brings.
The GT feels nippy and nimble, at least, its quick steering and firm-ish ride suggesting that this is a sporty car, after all. The Twingo snicks easily through its gears, too, although the change isn’t that precise and fifth gear in ours gave a definite ‘crunch’ as you pushed it home.
And the way it looks sits well with its GT badge, especially if you pick the stripey bonnet and roof stickers, darkened rear windows and silver spoiler fitted as extras to ours. But, once inside, it all falls away. The steering may have a leather-covered rim, but it’s a standard number, as used in innumerable other Renaults. The cabin trim is bland and unremarkable and the seats are squishy, flat and covered in some dull, dull fabric. A GT sticker on the door sill is a rather feeble attempt to bring some life to the party. It’s as if Renault spent its development budget on the car’s oily bits and body, then ran out of cash. The one point of interest is the big, centre-sited instrument pod, housing a giant digital speedo.
The cabin is comfy, though, and its two rear seats slide individually to offer more leg room or, when fully, forward, a huge boot in a tiny car. They also tip and tumble to create a mini-van.
If you’re thinking about buying a Twingo GT, you’ll have also looked at its closest rivals, the Fiat Panda 100hp and Citrn’s C2 1.6 VTS. Each looks every inch the mini-racer, without and within. But the Twingo is cheaper than either, uses less fuel and has cleaner tailpipe emissions.
So if you want a weeny performance hatchback, it’s probably not for you. But if you want a quick-ish town cruiser that’s economical, practical and looks sharp outside, it’s worth thinking hard about.
- Engines1.2 petrol turbo
- 0-60 mph9.8sec
- Insurance groups5
Motors.co.uk value verdict: