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Renault Twingo Test Drive Review

Date: 15 September 2014   |   Author: Tristan Young

Renault believes the main fleet job of its new Twingo is to depose the Mini from estate agent fleets.

If it's going to do that job it needs a few key elements to be just right. The car needs to be stylish to convey a successful business and act as a staff-retention tool; be manoeuvrable to cope with the demands of an urban environment; have low running costs; and be reasonably practical. The new Twingo is impressive on all these counts.

While style is subjective, the Renault city car manages a sporty version of cute without looking like it's trying to copy other cars already on the market. And its looks shouldn't be underestimated when it comes to resale values.

As with almost all current smaller cars, there are a host of customisable options for colours and trims. However, Renault has also made some packs available to simplify the process and make residual value predictions easier.

What really sets the Twingo apart from rivals, however, is that the engine is positioned in the rear of the car below the boot floor, with drive going to the rear wheels. This has two advantages. Firstly, the way the engine is positioned means there's far more room inside than you'd expect from a city car because the cabin can extend further forward than normal. And secondly, because there's no engine under the bonnet (only the battery, screenwash and cooling system) the front wheels can turn far more than normal. This gives a class-leading turning circle and makes the car incredibly easy to park.

Despite the engine's position, there's still a half decent-sized boot, which at 188 litres is only eight litres shy of that in the Citroen C1.

The driving experience has been tuned to feel as similar to a front-drive car as possible and that means absolutely no waywardness from the rear of the car - a good thing given the way some estate agency staff drive.

There are two petrol engines available, both three-cylinder units. The 1.0-litre produces 70hp and is remarkably smooth and refined for the class, and while it is in no way quick, and would struggle up motorways, the engine is responsive and fine for town driving. With stop-start fitted the car also comes in at 95g/km for CO2 and an official 67.3mpg.

The 900cc engine, meanwhile, has a turbo and produces 90hp, which adds decent nippiness, but because of the way power is delivered it's less easy to drive smoothly. However, it has the advantage that it's almost identical for efficiency, with a CO2 figure of 99g/km and a fuel figure of 65.7mpg.

While whole-life cost figures have yet to be published, the good looks, clever packaging and efficiency stats should see the new Twingo placed competitively against rivals.

P11D price £10,995
Model price range £9,495-£11,695
Fuel consumption 67.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 95g/km (12%)
BIK 20/40% per month £13/£26
Service interval 1yr/12,000mls
Insurance (1-50) group 3
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 188/980 litres
Engine size/power 999cc/70hp
Top speed/0-60mph 94mph/14.5secs
On sale September 2014


Stylish city car that will appeal to a select few fleets