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Le petit Renault

by Guilherme Marques [email protected]

The Twingo has just been given a mid-life facelift and it now holds some of the funky appeal of the original

The Twingo was a revolution for Renault back in 1992. Its design, both inside and out, was a long way from the traditional Renault 9 and Renault 11, which, consequently, were making the French maker lose some significant points in market share across Europe.

In fact, the Twingo – Twist + Swing + Tango – was so aesthetically ahead of its time that the first generation went on for 15 years in Europe and is still produced today in some Latin American countries.

By the end of its run in the old continent, on June 28 2007, a total of nearly 2.5 million cars had left the Flins factory in France.

The second generation was – as is often the case when following a landmark model – deemed too conservative, although, obviously, it was a much more advanced car from every technical and engineering point of view.

The problem was in the design. So, come the first facelift, Renault tried to embody the current Twingo with some of that old magic and, it must be said, our press car, in a rather “look at me” pink colour, did have some twist, swing and tango to it.

The Twingo is the first model to feature the new Renault trademark front-end, with the new Clio and the electric Zoe to follow.

With cars growing in every direction, it is satisfying to see that the Twingo really is a small car, with its nimbleness making the city its natural habitat. The 1.2 litre engine carrying 75 horse power is adequate for everyday use, but never feels very fast or responsive, and on the highway its lack of grunt is obvious.

Still, with fuel consumption generally in the high fives or low sixes, it can make a case for itself.

The gearbox is far from precise, but the steering makes up for it, with decent feel and weight.

The small Renault has a nice balance through the corners and 75 horse power are rarely enough to upset the chassis, which, coming from the Clio II, is a more than tried and tested unit.

Inside, there is quite a lot of space for such a small car, although reaching the back seat is not as easy as it should be. The build quality is good, but the materials are not on par with some of the competition.

Still, the ride is comfortable, and for the four days I ran the car, I never felt anything but at ease with it. It is easy to live with, there is great visibility from the inside, it is practical and I could even fit the baby’s stuff in the back.

Does it have the charm of a Fiat 500? Of course not. But it also doesn’t carry its price tag. At €11,990, the new Twingo has a strong value for money factor, and, if you choose an adventurous colour like our pink, you can add a bit of funkiness to it.