Renault Twingo hatchback

£9,495 - £13,445

The Renault Twingo is a city car with a quirky edge. Unlike conventional rivals such as the Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo, the Twingo has its engine at the back. As a result, it's a bit shorter than most city cars and its front wheels can turn at a sharper angle. This gives a very tight turning circle, making the Twingo perfect for town driving.

Small cars are usually suited to small petrol engines and the Renault offers a choice of two. They’re both three-cylinder engines, but have quite different characters. The larger SCe 70 is the slower of the two, but still well suited to city driving.

The smaller turbocharged TCe 90 engine has more power and mid-range pull, so it's a better bet if you plan on making some longer journeys. It's also available with Renault's EDC six-speed automatic gearbox, whereas the SCe 70 model is five-speed manual only.

The automatic is also only available on the higher end Dynamique and Dynamique S trim levels and costs an extra £900, which bumps the Twingo's price up well over the £12,000 mark. At that point, it starts to look pretty expensive, especially when compared to some of our favourite city cars such as the Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10.

Regardless of your choice of engine, the Twingo has a comfortable ride, but it isn’t the best city car to drive. The aforementioned Hyundai i10 and Skoda Citigo (and its Volkswagen Up! and SEAT Mii sister cars) are a lot more fun. The Renault does have good visibility, though, as well as plenty of space in the front. There isn’t much room in the boot, but the seating system is quite practical: you can fold the front passenger's backrest right down to make space for larger loads.

Trim levels start with Expression and rise through Play, Dynamique and Dynamique S. The Expression model has a lot of equipment for an entry-level car, including LED daytime running lights, electric mirrors and DAB digital radio. Our pick is the Play, though, because it adds useful features such as air-conditioning and a height-adjustable driver's seat.

Unfortunately, the Expression and Play trims aren’t available with the more powerful (and better) TCe 90 engine – you have to have the less powerful SCe 70, but they do cost less than £10,000. There's no shortage of personalisation options to put your own stamp on the Twingo and there are plenty of equipment packs, too, but again they nudge up the price.

Renault has one of the better warranties on the market, at four years and 100,000 miles, while the brand's reputation for reliability and customer service is improving, with a strong recent performance in our Driver Power owner satisfaction surveys.

The Twingo only scored four stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, though, trailing a number of rivals with full five-star ratings. It does have a decent amount of safety equipment as standard however, including electronic stability control, hill-start assistance and emergency braking assistance.