Thursday, 18 August 2022

...and great fun

It was no surprise to me that the new Renault Twingo picked up another award last week

It was no surprise to me that the new Renault Twingo picked up another award last week in the all-important city car sector.

My drive last year of the new Twingo at its UK launch here in the Cotswolds confirmed my belief that this car has now fulfilled a potential displayed years before when it first appeared in France. That car, which was for Continental consumption only as it was rigidly produced in left-hand drive, was an immediate hit with European drivers. I recall seeing it in France and the image of that little car has stayed with me ever since. Even then it was perceived as an early “fun” city car: the original Twingo name comes from an amalgamation of the words twist, swing and tango.

It took a while for the Twingo to reach our shores, but this latest generation â?? and this week’s drive the new Renault Twingo Dynamique Energy TCe 90 â?? is a much more sophisticated car.

It has all kinds of innovative ideas put into practice. Old fellows such as myself can leave their CD collections at home when it comes to the Twingo. Twingo’s R&Go is an application that turns a smartphone into a touchscreen for your dashboard.

You mount your phone on a fitted universal smartphone cradle and the app presents the features in a menu with large buttons. The key features are: phone with digital keypad, call history and contacts, phone calendar, SMS (messages read out); media: input source for the stereo and control the radio, play music from the phone, access internet radio; navigation: 3D vehicle navigation. Find my car feature: phone automatically saves the location of your car and gives pedestrian navigation back to it. Vehicle: eco driving score, fuel consumption info, trip computer and rev counter. The application is free to download for customers.

So because the new Twingo is fully adapted to 21st century driving, a panel of 27 motoring writers waxed lyrical enough about it - describing the car as chic, a cracker, and funky - that they made it top city car in the UK Car of the Year Awards. (The Twingo had already picked up TopGear Magazine’s city car of the year award for 2014.)

One comment about the Twingo stands out in the award citation that it was “brave enough to try a novel approach to vehicle engineering in this sector.”

This was Renault’s innovative rear-engined layout for the Twingo. My experience of rear-engined cars is that the driver is fully aware of the fact, that is, you can usually hear the noise behind you.

But of course in 2015 you would not expect to be aware of the rear-mounted engine as you might have been, for example, while driving the wonderful Renault 8 Gordini. Indeed, you are not conscious of the fact that the thrust from the Twingo comes from a cleverly mounted rear engine and rear-wheel-drive.

However, this is no doubt what gives the car its lift and energy, something that becomes apparent as soon as you sit behind the wheel. It might be argued that the Twingo has its limitations on motorway driving, which after all forms a large part of any driver’s life on the road these days. I acknowledge this argument, but you have to remember that the Twingo is principally designed as a city car and I found it perfectly willing and able to tackle motorway driving with gusto and enthusiasm.

The new five-door, four-seater Twingo has been on sale since September last year priced from £9,495 and has made inroads into the sector already.

Because the engine is mounted at an angle of  49 degrees to the vertical, the Twingo still has a good boot with up to 980 litres of space (seats folded).

For city driving and all-important manoeuvrability it has a turning circle of less than 8.6 metres. This is achieved because the movement of the front wheels is not restricted by the engine. The new Twingo is available in five versions, powered by a choice of two three-cylinder engines â?? a 1.0-litre 70hp normally aspirated unit or a 0.9-litre 90hp turbo. Their efficiency speaks for itself: fuel economy is up to 67.3mpg, with CO2 emissions as low as 95g/km.

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