Renault Twingo hatchback

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 huge 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
Top of the range
Dynamique TCe 90 Stop & Start 5dr £11,695

"The new Renault Twingo is a good-looking, quirky but practical city car."

The new Renault Twingo is designed to take on the best cars 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, 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 engine and a 89bhp 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol engine - and three trim levels called Expression, Play and Dynamique.

The mid-range Play model with the 0.9-litre engine is our top recommendation because it has all the equipment you need - even if it is slightly more expensive than the Citigo and the i10. While the Twingo isn't as much fun to drive as either of those rivals, it is a good-looking, practical city car that is 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 and returns 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 95g/km, 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, and they return slightly poorer figures of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 105g/km, meaning they cost nothing to tax in the first year and £20 annually afterwards.

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

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 can get quite loud if you work it hard but it quietens down at cruising speed. There’s quite a lot of wind noise from around the windscreen pillars in all models too, which can get intrusive.

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

The interior itself seems more solidly built than it did in the old car and Renault has kept the layout simple so that it’s easy to use. The 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 size to its city car dimensions. On paper the Twingo's 188-litre boot sounds small, especially when you compare it to the 251 litres in a Volkswagen up!. In reality, the boot is much more usable than the slightly bigger ones found in the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1 because the load lip is flush with the boot 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 cargo 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 because of the front seat head rests, which 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 storage 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 scored four stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring 78% for adult occupant protection and 81% for child occupant protection. While other cars in this class have five star ratings, it's worth bearing in mind that Euro NCAP have made the tests more stringent recently - four stars should not be regarded as a poor score.

Renault as a manufacturer has shown consistent improvement in its standing with customers in the last couple of years, though, jumping from 27th to 21st in 2013 and then 21st to 15th in 2014. Reliability and build quality had long been anchoring the manufacturer well down the list but the firm has improved to 19th out of 33 for reliability and 21st for build quality, which is encouraging.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine is completely new but the turbocharged 0.9-litre engine has been tried and tested in the Renault Clio and Renault Captur. The car comes with Renault’s four year-warranty, which offers unlimited mileage for the first two years and a 100,000 miles for the two years after that.

Safety equipment on the new car includes electronic stability control, hill start assist, emergency brake assist, a tyre pressure monitoring system and four airbags. The car is likely to score similarly to the Hyundai i10, which recently achieved four stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests – recent changes to the tests have made it more difficult for smaller cars to achieve the five-star rating.

Engines, drive & performance

4.2 / 5

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

The Twingo is available with two different engines – a 69bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine or a 89bhp turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol engine, which 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 and on to a maximum of 103mph. Unsurprisingly the latter feels quite powerful, even if it does get a bit noisy when revved, and is definitely the engine to go for if you plan to use the car on the motorway regularly. The suspension setup on the Twingo strikes a good balance between comfort and handling.

The car’s best feature is the 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 higher grip levels and handling that is more enjoyable than that of 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.

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, start/stop engine technology, special variable rate power steering to make the car more reactive at lower speeds, front fog lights, 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, which includes a seven-inch touchscreen, digital radio, sat-nav, Bluetooth connection, and a rear parking camera. It costs £600 – 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 
29 Aug 2014

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