Review

Renault Twingo hatchback

Price  £9,495 - £11,695

Renault Twingo hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Very manoeuvrable
  • Stylish design
  • Good rear passenger space
Cons
  • Not much fun to drive
  • Wind noise at speed
  • More expensive than rivals

At a glance

The greenest
Dynamique SCe 70 Stop & Start 5dr £10,995
The cheapest
Expression SCe 70 5dr £9,495
The fastest
Dynamique TCe 90 Stop & Start 5dr £11,695
Top of the range
Dynamique TCe 90 Stop & Start 5dr £11,695

"The new Renault Twingo is a good-looking and quirky yet practical city car."

The new Renault Twingo is designed to take on the best models in the city car class – namely the Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10. The first thing to note about the Twingo is that it has its engine in the back, which has allowed Renault to create more space inside the car and also make it extremely agile around town.

The Twingo has a distinctive look and, as is usual these days, there are a number of ways you can personalise it to make your car stand out even further. If you're not sure exactly what to go for, the Twingo is available with several personalisation packs put together by Renault, featuring different exterior and interior accessories and costing £200.

The car has a very small turning circle that makes it very manoeuvrable around town, and the engines are nippy enough at low speeds. There is a choice of two: a 69bhp 1.0-litre petrol and an 89bhp 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol. There are three trim levels called Expression, Play and Dynamique.

We'd recommend the mid-range Play model with the 0.9-litre engine, because it has all the equipment you'll need, even if it's slightly more expensive than the Citigo and i10. While the Twingo isn't as much fun to drive as either of those, it is a good looking, practical city car that's very easy to use in busy towns and cities.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.1 / 5

Two small engines will be cheap to run

The all-new Renault Twingo uses a range of smaller engines than the previous model for better economy. The Dynamique SCe 70 model with stop-start technology (which turns the engine off when the car is stationary) uses a 1.0-litre petrol engine, returns 67.3mpg economy and emits 95g/km of CO2, so the car costs nothing to tax.

The Expression SCe 70 and Play SCe 70 models use the same engine but do without stop-start, so they return slightly poorer figures of 62.8mpg economy and 105g/km emissions, meaning they cost nothing to tax in the first year and £20 annually after that.

The range-topping Dynamique TCe 90 model uses a 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol engine for extra speed, but it's also impressively economical. Despite being the fastest car in the new Twingo line-up, it's capable of 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

Engines, drive & performance

4.2 / 5

Very good in town, but not as much fun to drive as rivals

The Twingo is available with two different engines – a 69bhp 1.0-litre petrol or an 89bhp turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol. Both are adequate without being brilliant. Models with the less powerful engine are capable of 0-62mph in 14.5 seconds and a top speed of 94mph, whereas the 0.9-litre engine gets the car from 0-62mph in a much more spritely 10.8 seconds, going on to a maximum of 103mph.

Unsurprisingly, the latter feels quite powerful, even if it does get a bit noisy when revved. It's definitely the engine to go for if you plan to use the car on the motorway regularly. However, if you’re after a city car that’s also good on out-of-town roads and motorways, then the Volkswagen up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii trio are still the better choice, thanks to better ride and superior cabin refinement.

The turbocharged Twingo has a variable steering ratio, which increases the steering lock faster as you turn the wheel. It feels strange, and as the non-turbo car doesn’t have this feature, it feels more natural and consistent to drive. The suspension set-up on the Twingo strikes a good balance between comfort and handling.

The car’s best feature is its very tight turning circle, which makes parking and town driving very easy. The problem for Renault is that there are cars in this class that are more than just competent – the Volkswagen up! and Hyundai i10 are both more fun to drive, offering more grip and more enjoyable handling than the Twingo. You never feel hugely connected to the road in the Twingo, partly in thanks to the high seating position and slightly strange steering feel.

Interior & comfort

3.9 / 5

Interior is modern and practical, but can be noisy

The Twingo is bigger inside than the previous model thanks to the car’s rear-engine layout, which means legroom in the back is better and headroom is good, too.

The turbocharged petrol engine in the top-of-the-range model gets fairly loud if you work it hard, but it quietens down at cruising speed. And there’s quite a lot of wind noise from around the windscreen pillars in all models, which can get intrusive.

However, the seats are pretty comfortable and the suspension is soft enough that all but the biggest jolts are dealt with before they reach the cabine. Yet the Twingo still feels less settled than a Hyundai i10.

The interior itself seems more solidly built than the old car's and Renault has kept the layout simple so that it’s easy to use. Cabib plastics don’t feel as robust as they do in the Volkswagen up! or the Hyundai i10.

You can mix and match interior trims to liven up the cabin. For example, the Touch pack lets you choose black, red or blue steering-wheel inserts and centre-console and air-vent surrounds, while Dynamique models get leather on the steering wheel and gearshifter.

Practicality & boot space

4.3 / 5

Relatively spacious interior and practical boot

The Twingo is never going to be the most spacious car on the road due to its compat dimensions. On paper, the car's 188-litre boot sounds small, especially when you compare it to the 251 litres the Volkswagen up! offers. In reality, the boot is much more useable than the slightly bigger ones found in the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, because the lip is flush with the floor.

You can also lock the rear seats in an upright position to increase boot space to 219 litres, but you may spend much of the journey apologising profusely if there’s anyone sitting on them – it isn’t comfortable!

If you’d rather carry luggage than people, the back seats fold down flat to create 980 litres of space, which is impressive. The front passenger seat also folds flat (unusual in cars like this) offering you a bit more room to try and wedge in flat-packed furniture, skis or a curtain rail for a particularly wide window.

Visibility for the driver is good, because the driving position is pretty high, making manoeuvring around town and between parking spaces easier. It’s not so good for those in the back, as the front seat headrests make seeing the road ahead difficult. The pop-out rather than wind-down rear windows also make it harder for back-seat passengers to get fresh air.

There are plenty of storage spaces dotted around the cabin, including under the rear seats. It’s worth noting that you only get pockets in the rear doors if you go for the top-spec Dynamique trim, and similarly the entry-level car doesn’t come with height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

All-new car, but we expect good things

The Renault Twingo was awarded four stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring 78 per cent for adult occupant protection and 81 per cent for child occupant protection.

Renault as a manufacturer has shown consistent improvements in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey in the last couple of years, jumping from 27th to 21st in 2013 and then 21st to 15th in 2014. Poor reliability and build quality had long kept the manufacturer well down the list, but it's now improved to 19th out of 33 for reliability and 21st for build quality, which is encouraging.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine in the Twingo is completely new, but the turbocharged 0.9-litre shares its fundamental design with an engine found in the Renault Clio and Renault Captur. The Twingo also comes with Renault’s four year-warranty, which offers unlimited mileage for the first two years and a 100,000-mile limit for the two years after that.

Safety equipment on the new car includes electronic stability control, hill-start assistance, emergency braking assistance, a tyre-pressure monitoring system and four airbags.

Price, value for money & options

3.9 / 5

Good equipment levels, though some rivals are cheaper

There are three trim levels available in the Twingo: entry-level Expression, mid-range Play and top-of-the-range Dynamique. Standard kit on Expression cars includes LED daytime running lights, electric front windows, remote central locking, power steering and a trip computer.

Play models get a height-adjustable driver’s seat, air-conditioning and 15-inch two-tone wheel trims. Top-of-the-range Dynamique models get 15-inch alloy wheels, stop-start engine technology, special variable rate power steering to make the car more reactive at lower speeds, front foglights, cruise control, a lane-departure warning system and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.

An R-Link infotainment system is available as an option on top-spec Dynamique models. This includes a seven-inch touchscreen, digital radio, sat nav, a Bluetooth phone connection and a rear parking camera. It costs £600, so think carefully about whether you really need it, as the standard R&GO system lets you run apps from your phone via a Bluetooth connection anyway.

Other options include an electric fabric panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, an upgraded sound system and personalisation packages.

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 1 review
4.0 / 5
"The Renault Twingo is an attractive rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive alternative to the VW up! and Skoda Citigo."
Last updated 
6 Oct 2014

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