It’s a car that sounds – to me, at least – like a chocolate bar. The Twingo is a little confection from Renault, the latest of a whole bagful of sweeties from manufacturers out to grab a piece of the city car market. The Fiat 500 set the agenda for this particular sector, with other notables such as the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Up!/Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii following suit.
Now the French manufacturer has pitched in with a decidedly singular contribution, for their little five-door hatchback features a rear-mounted engine. The original Twingo, from 20 or-so years ago, (which wasn’t sold in the UK) was a distinctive little motor, its successor was bland in style, but the all-new car is a return to form. It is as cute as a button, with an appearance that will appeal to the young – and young-at-heart – and there is a host of low-cost personalisation options for both interior and exterior.
The rear-engine layout means there is much more space inside than its competitors and allows for a tight turning circle, making the car an absolute cinch to parallel-park.The boot is small, but with the power unit under its floor, the load area is level with the bumper lip, rather than forming a well.The interior has a light and airy fun feel about it, hard plastic finishes offset by high-gloss inserts.
Rear side-windows are of the pop-out variety.There is no shortage of kit, including LED daytime running lights, double optic halogen headlights, rear height-adjustable headrests, auto-activation in reverse gear for rear screen wiper, 12-volt power socket, front passenger reading light and central console compartment.And there are safety features including anti-lock brakes, of course, and emergency brake assist, electronic stability control, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring system and speed limiter.
Lovely options included electric panoramic fabric folding sunroof (£850) and special Inca yellow paintwork (£225). Practicality?There’s a split-folding rear seat back and a folding front passenger seat, plus two front and one rear cup holders and a front console storage box.The single-litre three-cylinder petrol engine makes for chirpy performance and the five-speed manual gearbox is easy-shifting. Flush Magazine’s Twingo Play SCe 70 proved a compact treat.
Renault have come up with a motoring breath of fresh air.
Price: £9,995 OTR. As tested: £11,130.
For more info visit www.renault.co.uk