Review

Renault Twingo hatchback

Price  £9,495 - £13,445

Renault Twingo hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Lots of space for rear passengers
  • Easy to drive and park
  • Sharp looks
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • Rivals are better to drive
  • Unrefined on the motorway

At a glance

The greenest
Dynamique SCe 70 S&S eco2 5dr £10,995
The cheapest
Expression SCe 70 5dr £9,495
The fastest
Dynamique ENERGY TCe 90 5dr £11,695
Top of the range
Dynamique S TCe 90 Auto 5dr £13,445

“The Renault Twingo is a small and economical city car that blends good looks with decent practicality.”

The Renault Twingo is a small city car that offers buyers something different. While most of its rivals – like the Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo – have their engine where you’d expect it to be at the front, the Twingo is rear-engined. This means its front wheels can turn at a tighter angle, giving it a very small turning circle, which is perfect for city streets. The Smart ForTwo and ForFour also have their engines in the back, but they’re both more expensive than the Twingo.

Renault offers the Twingo with two petrol engines. The entry-level 1.0-litre SCe 70 produces 69bhp, returns 56.5mpg (rising to 67.3mpg if you specify the stop-start feature) and gets the Twingo from 0-62mph in 14.5 seconds. There’s enough power there for city driving, but if you plan on venturing out of town from time to time, we recommend upgrading.

The more powerful TCe 90 engine is small, at 0.9-litres, but uses turbocharging to produce 89bhp. It’s faster than the SCe engine (0-62mph takes 10.8 seconds) yet still pretty efficient thanks to standard stop-start, with a claimed economy figure of 65.7mpg. This engine is also available with an automatic gearbox, although this adversely affects fuel economy by about 10%. Road tax is free for Twingos fitted with stop-start, and only £20-£30 a year for models without it.

On the road, the Twingo is competent rather than brilliant. The tight turning circle makes manoeuvring a breeze, but the high driving position and the slightly strange steering feel discourage you from driving it particularly quickly. This isn’t such a problem if you predominantly drive in an urban environment, but the Twingo isn’t hugely enjoyable to hustle down a winding B-road, as some city cars are.

Interior quality is reasonable and the dashboard layout is logical, but the VW up! and Hyundai i10 feel slightly more solid inside. The Twingo is certainly spacious, though: while it’s only about three and a half metres long, Renault has somehow managed to squeeze in four doors and four proper seats – although the rear windows pop out, rather than winding down. You won’t be able to lounge around and relax, but passenger space is actually pretty impressive for a city car. The 219-litre boot is slightly smaller than average as it sits on top of the engine, but it’s well-shaped and packing items is easy thanks to the lack of load lip.

You can have a Twingo in four main trims: Expression cars come with a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, LED running lights and electric windows, but miss out on essentials like air-conditioning. You’ll need Play trim for that, which also adds a height-adjustable driver’s seat and more personalisation options – a Twingo strong suit. It’s not until mid-range Dynamique trim that you get alloy wheels and the more powerful engine becomes available. Top-spec Dynamique S trim adds part-leather seats and larger alloy wheels.

A special edition ‘The Colour Run’ model comes with a sliding fabric roof on top of all the standard equipment of the Play model, as well as 15-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with the option of Renault’s exterior Touch Packs and interior Style Packs to further personalise its looks at no extra cost. These features suit the Twingo’s light-hearted personality, and this version looks like good value for money.

The Twingo came 67th out of 150 cars in our 2016 Driver power customer satisfaction survey, with a 47th place finish for reliability. Renault came eight out of 32 manufacturers, indicating that its past reputation for iffy reliability is just that – past. Safety is reasonable thanks to a four-star rating from Euro NCAP. While some rivals scored the full five stars, the Twingo was tested under new, stricter criteria, and offers decent adult and child occupant protection.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4 / 5

Two small petrol engines mean the Renault Twingo will be cheap to run

Engines, drive & performance

3 / 5

Renault Twingo is very good in town, but not as much fun to drive as rivals

Interior & comfort

4 / 5

Renault Twingo interior is modern and practical, but can be noisy

Practicality & boot space

3.1 / 5

Relatively spacious interior and practical boot make the Renault Twingo a practical choice

Reliability & safety

4.1 / 5

All-new car, but we expect good things

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 1 review
4 / 5
"The Renault Twingo is an attractive rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive alternative to the VW up! and Skoda Citigo."
Last updated 
9 Aug 2016
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