- We like...Fun, go, orange seat belts
- We don't...Dull-grey cabin
Hot-shot baby car is quick, affordable and a blast to drive. Good enough to lighten your wallet for? Find out hereYou’ve got to hand it to Renault. What other car maker would bother to cram 133bhp beneath the mini-sized bonnet of a baby car like this Twingo? With its two doors, tiny boot, four seats and petite 3.6 metre length, this car is perfect for trundling around town, to the shops, or the park. But, bang in a 1.6 litre tuned petrol motor, stick on some fat wheels, tie the suspension down, install orange seat belts and... all hell breaks loose.
It’s not merely that it’s fast – although dashing from standstill to 62mph in 8.7secs is more than respectable – but it feels such a hooligan to drive. Add in super-quick steering and suspension that’ll help you change direction quickly and details such as a change-up light to warn when the engine is nearing its rev limit and what you have is a perfect machine for track-day wannabes. If that’s your plan, you can even opt for the competition-tuned Cup Chassis. There are all kinds of stickers and crazy add-ons you can go for, too. Our favourite are the pedal covers marked ‘pause’, ‘stop’ and ‘play’ for the clutch, brake and throttle (as standard they come in plain but shiny metal).
While the extras list is long and absorbing, it ds also draw attention to how plain the car is without them. Sure, it’s spoilered and body-kitted, so that it looks the part on the outside. But by contrast the inside is dull. Take away those orange belts and the rev counter (in a pod straight-ahead from the driver) and it could be an entry-model Twingo, costing less than £8000.
Look at it another way and the under-dressed cabin, suggests, at least that Renault has spent its budget on the good stuff. And, for the price, it’s an entertaining car. In an uncouth, point-and-squirt kind of way, at least. And while it’s a practical and even roomy four-seater, it’s not for every day and every journey. A 50-mile trip along M-roads in it made us quickly aware of its shortcomings as a motorway cruiser – it rides restlessly and is too noisy at a constant speed.
But it’s an easy drive and its tiny size puts you right in the action, making a hoon along a windy road at speed memorable. Yet, while we’re happy if a sporty car gives off a roar, with this Twingo it’s a rough note. We don’t think you’ll blip the throttle just to hear it. The engine is at least practical, keeping its emissions respectable and even promising up to 40mpg.
Would we buy one? If we were young, eager to drive and looking for a car with an eye to taking it at full pelt around a circuit, yes. On the right day, and in the right place, it’s heaps of fun.
To view new and used Twingos, go to motors.co.uk
- Engines1.6 petrol
- 0-60 mph8.7secs
- Insurance groups8E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: