Twingo: cute for GT

21 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Twingo: cute for GT

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A Week at the Wheel | Cambs, England | Renault Twingo GT |

Inside Out:

Renault’s original Twingo’s principal charm was its cutesy looks that melted hearts and gave it widespread appeal. The new car is an evolutionary design with many cues from the first but much of the cuteness has been lost and the new Twingo is significantly bigger too.

Nonetheless it is very much a contemporary city car with compact dimensions and a squat wheel-at-each-corner stance. Our test car was finished with the optional Renaultsport stripes which, whilst not to all tastes, certainly lend an air of fun and sporting intent.

The interior is on the basic side, its modular design to allow easy derivation of left and right hand drive plain to see, but it is bright, colourful and practical. The dash is minimalist in terms of gauges with a rev counter above the wheel being the only dial, the digital central speedo and fuel gauge sited in a pod in the middle of the dash. Stowage spaces abound and the cabin itself is spacious.

Given the sporting pretensions slightly more supportive seats would have been welcome but there is no arguing with the flexibility offered by the rear seats’ ability to fold away.

Engine Transmission:

A compact 1.2-litre, four-cylinder may not sound like the basis of a warm hatch experience but the addition of a turbo gives it an all-round ability that enables it to offer the best of several worlds. Peak power of 100bhp, combined with a relatively low weight, gives the Twingo chuckle-inducing speed and the torquey nature of the engine delivers a broad, linear spread of accessible power.

The turbo’s presence is always there to be felt – and heard – but not at the expense of fuel consumption, as when driven off boost the small engine delivers economy comparable with a non-turbo version. Our overall figure of 40mpg is the least most users would expect to see.

Ride Handling:

The GT badge may induce dismissive smirks from onlookers but they underestimate the Twingo’s chassis’s capabilities. We’ve always been fans of French hatches and the Twingo further builds on the long held expectations of that fine blend of agility and suppleness; it manages to be comfortable and compliant around town yet engaging and amusing on the open road. Proof again that Renault can make small fun cars that ride and handle, a fact accentuated by comparison to our recent outing in the new Fiat 500.

Equipment, Economy Value for Money:

Given its budget pricing, it is not a surprise to find a lack of gadgets and gizmos in the Twingo. However, everything one could expect to need is present, including air-conditioning, electric windows and a reasonable stereo. Rivals at this end of the market are not plentiful; the Fiat Panda 100HP springs to mind, but Renault’s pricing is entirely reasonable and sensible.

Running costs should also be minimal.

Overall:

It’s hard not to like the new Renault Twingo. Granted, the charm and cuteness of the original has been diluted with time – blame legislation, safety and market forces for that – but what hasn’t been lost is the way that the package feels right and offers a fine combination of fun, personality and practicality.

Dave Jenkins – 17 Jul 2008

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