City cars used to be nothing more than cheap automotive creations that carried you from street A to street B and combined easy parking with... well, not too many assets. However, all that has changed, customers now have much higher expectations for their urban vehicles.
Cars like the MINI or the Fiat 500 have turned the concept of a city vehicle into a symbol of being cool and Renault is trying to blow some of this magic dust over the Twingo with the recent facelift.
The Twingo now comes with more eye-candy, including two new color, one of which you can see on our test car, and more personalization options, while the interior has also received a few tweaks.
To convince us they were serious about the revamp, the French also added a few points to the efficiency chapter, so the new face hides an IQ that's a tad higher.
Has Renault managed to make the Twingo more attractive, or is the revamp just a list of changes that doesn't make too much sense outside of the dealership?
We've decided to answer this question by testing a crazy-looking example powered by the same engine as we had in our 2011 Twingo test car, but this time we took the little Renault much further.
Grab your sun glasses and your bold message T-shirt, open the window and use it to get inside the car and let's go, we've got a Twingo dressed in what supercar owners call "Baby Blue" to test!
The fresh styling cues of the Twingo do much more than just replace those of the model we tested last year - they're an indication for Renault's future design identity, as the car is the first to use the carmaker's new styling language, which will be seen on all future Renaults.
You can tell that this is a little car with a big attitude from the moment you spot the headlight eyelids (take this tuners!), the big Renault logo, as well as the positioning of the fog lights. The modifications have also brought the car closer to the image of the first Twingo.
These changes, together with a few ones brought to the rear end, such as more rounded lines, contribute to better aerodynamics and therefore increase the efficiency of the car a little bit.
Renault also made efforts to bring the Twingo closer to status vehicles such as the MINI or the FIat 500. Just look at the two new colors introduced by the revamp: the first is the Bermuda Blue shade of our test car, while the second has a name that speaks for itself: Fuchsia.
In addition to that, we have more factory-fitted decals, some of which can be assorted with certain interior details and more ally wheel designs.
While the result isn't the most masculine we've seen, the various combination of colors brings a strong personality to the car, with this being confirmed by the sea of heads our test vehicle turned while being driven through the city. We have to admit that this is a pretty nice effect for a car with such a low price.
The facelift focuses on exterior changes, so the cabin only received a few fresh goodies, but these will go unnoticed to most eyes. However, if you're interested in Buying a Twingo you will want to know what there are - you can find them in the next chapter.
The interior changes brought by the facelift only cover the materials and colors used and while this might not sound too interesting, our test car managed to capture our attention by using black leather (a pretty fine one) with red stitching on the central instrument cluster cover.
The same material was used for the steering wheel and we have to tell you that it's funny to see how the leather on a Twingo, albeit covering microscopic surfaces, feels nicer to touch than the entry-level one offered by Mercedes and BMW.
Unfortunately, not all the boxes on the interior quality list are ticked, as, for example, you can see the wiring of the roof light at the base of the plastic that holds the interior rear view mirror in place.
The seats lack any form of lateral support but they are comfortable, even if you use the vehicle for incredibly long trips like we did. Speaking of long trips, the two individual seats in the back also offer a decent level of comfort, which, coupled with the reasonable space, means that the car can truly cater for the transportation needs of four adults.
It's easy to find a good driving position and thanks to the fact that the Twingo relies on the exterior details rather than on its shape to create an original look, you don't have to deal with any strange shapes and thus the visibility is excellent.
The vehicle's interior has "versatile" written all over it, as the independent rear seats can be folded and turned into a table, can be pulled forward to increase the luggage space or removed altogether.
The cabin of the Twingo might not be as fun as its exterior, but the original layout of the instruments and the practicality, which includes front door storage spaces with draining holes (we discovered this when we accidentally spilled a water bottle) make it a good package and not just for city trips.
The Twingo is a city animal and we're not playing with metaphors here: despite the soft suspension and the no-feedback electric power steering, this car is like a pair of dancing shoes when driven inside the city.
So, if you're looking for a nimble car for, let' say... robbing a bank, the Twingo RS is a good option. If you just want to tackle the urban frenzy, the 1.2 16V model we tested will do just fine. The engine proved to be pretty versatile, so, if you're not in a hurry, you won't find yourself changing gears all the time.
Going past the handbrake play, which the Twingo is perfectly suitable for and moving into the area where 95 percent of the customers are situated, we'll tell you that the Twingo is just as easy to maneuver through the urban traffic as it is to park.
The suspension has a soft setting and the chassis is borrowed from the larger Clio, but the size of the car still means that you have to be careful when encountering potholes.
If you go for a color scheme such as that of our test car, which was dressed in Bermuda Blue and gifted with black stars, you will definitely draw attention wherever you go.
The luggage compartment is large enough to swallow your urban activity and, in most cases, you don't even have to slide the rear seats forward in order for the car to accommodate your stuff and since the access to these is facile you can also take your friends with you without them being annoyed by the frequent stops included in any city trip.
The fact that the Twingo is fun to drive on busy city streets and that when you can't move too much due to the traffic people smile at you make you want to see if the car is also nice to play with outside the city. This is exactly what we felt and thus we took the car out on an open road, for a pretty long trip.
The designers played with the lines and this didn't just lift the car's face but also enhanced the aerodynamics a little bit. However, once you get out of the city and the speed rises, you won't feel any difference in terms of wind noise.
The lack of soundproofing doesn't help either, so the Twingo is a car in which you feel you're going fast at 100 km/h (84 mph). While this might make passengers a bit uncomfortable during long trips it's actually a positive thing for the driver, as the Twingo is a car that keeps you involved all the time.
The tech specs of a car usually don't lie: a 1.2-liter naturally-aspirated engine, a suspension that's all about comfort and an electric power steering that seems to use butter as the main ingredient - all these give you the impression that the Twingo shouldn't be used for open road trips.
Well, this is not just an impression, the car is pretty unstable during high speed maneuvers, the steering doesn't allow you to read what's going on with the front wheels, so this is not quite the ideal car for outer-city journeys.
In our usual manner, we ignored this and took it on a a long drive. Don't get us wrong - the Twingo is not unsafe, but we just wouldn't prefer it for this kind of trips.
The ground clearance is rather modest, so you should be careful if you want to use the car weekend mountain drives.