Twingo willing,

economical and fun

Renault Twingo, front action 2
Renault Twingo, front static 3
Renault Twingo, front action
Renault Twingo, front static
Renault Twingo, side action
Renault Twingo, dashboard
Renault Twingo, engine

ODDLY in these days of a rev counter being fitted to every car, Renault decided not to fit one to its smallest city offering the Twingo.

In fact, this car is a complete departure from everything the company has done for many years, going back to a rear engine and rear wheel drive layout.

However, it's not the only small car with such a layout, since it shares the chassis with the latest smart ForFour.

Having sampled a lower powered version some time ago, this time Renault let me experience the TCe 90, with a turbocharged version of the same 900cc three cylinder engine.

During many days of varied driving, the little four seater returned 48.5mpg, which, while nowhere near the government figure, is still pretty damned good.

And it's no slouch either - quicker than a number of cars that claim to be ‘sport' models from other makers.

I thought it might feel rear heavy with the engine at the back but it doesn't. It is just as well balanced as any front wheel drive small car, despite power steering that doesn't have much road feel.

Drive is through a five-speed gearbox and, with plenty of low speed pulling power, fourthis a marvellous gear for quick progress.

The little engine revs sweetly and is smooth enough, but it is quite noisy once the revs begin to rise - the fault being a lack of soundproofing I think.

It will happily keep up with the motorway flow, but when cruising, there is no space for the left foot beside the clutch, so it has to go underneath.

The low speed ride in town is a little knobbly, but comfort is much better above 30. The handling is safe and sure, and the road holding sticky with only a little roll. It was great fun on one of my cross country test routes - an absolute delight to drive quickly.

There's not much sideways support in the seats, which is a shame in a car so agile, but there is just about room for another adult to sit behind my six foot frame.

The engine is under the floor of the boot, leaving a fair amount of luggage space, and there's a folding back seat to increase it.

In Dynamique trim, the Twingo comes with stop/start, aircon, hill start assist, stability control, alarm, audio remote, cruise and alloys.

There is no steering wheel reach adjustment, but I found that with the height adjustment for wheel and seat, I was able to get comfortable.

FAST FACTS

Price: £12,055

Mechanical: 90bhp, 898cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:103mph

0-62mph: 10.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: 8

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Bik rating: 16%

Warranty: 4yrs/100,000 miles

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