Renault Twingo hatchback

£9,495 - £13,445

The Renault Twingo competes with city cars including the Skoda Citigo, Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10. However, unlike those models, which have their engines mounted in the front, the Twingo's engine is in the back. This makes it shorter than most cars, yet just as spacious inside. The front wheels can also turn more freely, so it has a tighter turning circle – which is great when you’re driving in town.

Ensuring it makes the most of its dinky size, the Twingo is available with a choice of two small but reasonably powerful petrol engines. However, they’re quite different in character, with the larger SCe70 being slower but still responsive around town. Meanwhile, the smaller turbocharged TCe 90 is a lot more powerful and a better all-rounder – it's good in town and on the open road. However, it's only available in the more expensive Dynamique and Dynamique S trim levels. Prices for these start at around £12,000, which is more than you’ll pay for one of our favourite city cars – the Skoda Citigo.

Whichever engine you choose, the Twingo is reasonably comfortable, but not especially fun to drive. In this respect, the Volkswagen up! and Hyundai i10 are more entertaining. Visibility is good (at least for those in the front) and the cabin is reasonably roomy. The boot is quite small, but you can make it larger by folding down the rear seats. You can fold down the front passenger seat backrest, too, enabling the car to carry longer loads.

There are four trim levels, starting with Expression and moving through Play and Dynamique, to Dynamique S. Expression is well equipped, with DAB digital radio, electric mirrors, LED daytime running lights and side protectors, but Play gets our vote thanks to additional features such as air-conditioning and driver's seat height adjustment.

The problem is that Expression and Play are only available with the less powerful SCe 70 engine. However, they just dip under the £10,000 mark. There are plenty of opportunities to brighten up your Twingo with personalisation and equipment packs, but don’t go over the top or you’ll lose even more money when you sell the car.

Renault's reliability record is improving and any lingering doubts should be taken care of by the company's impressive four-year/100,000-mile warranty. The Twingo scored only four out of five stars in Euro NCAP's latest crash tests but it has decent standard safety kit, including tyre pressure monitoring, electronic stability control, hill-start assistance, emergency braking assistance and four airbags.