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Renault Twingo on course for late arrival

Date: 19 July 2006

Renault's quirky Twingo will enter the UK market toward the end of next year, with a diesel model likely to be included in the range for the first time.

The new Twingo's European launch was delayed for 12 months after Renault's chief executive Carlos Ghosn told the project's engineers and purchasing managers to "sharpen it up" and make it more profitable to produce.

Some of the changes included harnessing cost-effective concepts used in developing Renault's budget Dacia Logan, which is due to reach the UK market in 2009, priced from under £7000.

The second-generation Twingo should cost from around £7500 for a 1.4 petrol version with a more expensive 1.5 dCi diesel also on offer in either 68PS or 86PS form.

While Renault UK maintains the previous-generation Clio Campus will remain on sale for "a couple of years", the three-door Twingo will gradually replace it and provide fleet potential.

Unlike the original 1993 Twingo "micro MPV", which was left-hand-drive only with one engine, one gearbox and a single specification, the new small hatchback will offer a graduated specification choice and a GT variant. Interiors will vary from gaudy, bright fabrics to an upmarket Initiale specification with leather and air conditioning, while a semi-automatic clutchless Quickshift transmission will also be offered.

A minimalist, centrally mounted instrument cluster is retained along with the pioneering sliding rear seats, which are incorporated into a "variable format cabin".

A GT version, using either a 100PS or 120PS engine, reflects Renault's strategy of introducing GT-badged models across its range. This will include a Megane GT (with a 170PS 2-litre turbo petrol unit) later this year.