RENAULT’S latest baby, the rear-engined Twingo, certainly has the cute factor... but there is much more to this clever little car.
Launched last September and now starting to appear on our roads in some numbers, this is the third generation of the French car maker’s smallest model – and the first all-new rear-engined car from Renault for many years.
Why put the engine in the back? Well, if it is done right you get better grip with the weight of the engine over the rear driven wheels, the lighter front end means more agile steering and a tighter turning circle, the engine needs less space, so more room for passengers and with engine and exhaust as far away from the driver as possible you get a quieter car to drive.
Our test car was the top-of-the-range Dynamique ENERGY with the TCe 90 engine with stop start technology.
There are two brand new engines on offer, our car’s smaller but more powerful 900cc turbo-charged unit and a normally-aspirated 1.0-litre petrol. The former puts out 90bhp and the 1.0-litre is 70.
So thanks to that rear engine design and a reasonable amount of power our TCe 90 is great fun to drive, being quite nippy with good handling. Performance figures are 0-62 in 10.8 seconds and the top speed is 103 mph.
As you would expect from a small city car, fuel consumption is excellent with more than 72 mpg on a run and almost 58 around town. Inside it is all very modern. Standard features include hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring, electronic stability control and DAB radio. Our test car had a few extras, including smart 15in ‘Exception’ alloy wheels, air conditioning and cruise control.
It’s as cool and cute as a Fiat 500 but with more room and the practicality of five doors – looks like Renault could be onto a winner.
The new Twingo is available in three trim levels and is priced from £9,495.
●● The new Renault Twingo