Tuesday, 26 June 2012 4:33 PM
A petrol car that’s as efficient as a diesel.
If, like me, you never thought that that could be achieved, you’ll be pleased to know that the Renault Twingo 1.2-litre petrol returns 55mpg, which puts it on a par with my 10-year-old diesel Ford Fiesta diesel (in the garage having its injectors cleaned).
The particularly girlie grape-coloured model tested is the result of a slight redesign in February. It’s not only eye-catching thanks to the friendly nose and black alloy wheels it’s a practical hatchback perfect for city driving and tight parking spaces but it also handles a motorway commute with ease.
Inside there’s a typically quirky yet comfortable French interior with lots of curves and plenty of luxuries including air conditioning and electric windows. It’s strange to have the rev counter perched above the steering wheel and the digital speedo on the far left of the central display but the driver quickly gets used to this.
The windscreen wipers move from right to left in the reverse fashion to usual. Of course, France-built Renaults are left hand drive and it strikes me that the manufacturer has just switched the steering wheel from one side to the other leaving everything else alone. But that doesn’t bother me and if anything, adds to the carefree sense of holiday that I always feel on entering a chic Renault.
Space in the rear is tight to say the least but the rear seats do move back and forth as in the front, to make a larger boot. My daughter’s baby seat fits in when the front passenger seat is moved forward a little.
Despite its tiddly 1.2-litre engine it’s fun to drive especially when throwing it round bends and roundabouts. When the driver puts their foot on the clutch pedal they need to be careful - place it too high and it can intrude on the steering column resulting in it noticeably rubbing.
Parkers, the car experts, say: “Renault introduced the Twingo to UK buyers in 2007, providing an alternative to other small cars aimed at city drivers. It is actually the second-generation Twingo - the first only being offered for sale in left-hand drive in mainland Europe. The original won friends elsewhere for its excellent use of interior space and characterful styling. The second-generation model is less quirky than its predecessor, but promises more practicality and nippy engines. However, the Twingo isn’t as fun to drive as many small cars. In 2011 the Renault Twingo 1.2-litre 16v Bizu 3dr won the city car category in the Parkers cost of motoring awards. This model won the title thanks to its super-cheap purchase price and running costs.”
There are plenty of small hatches on the market such as the Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and Toyota Yaris and the Twingo is well up there with the best of them, in my opinion. It’s fun to drive and economical - a very successful marriage.
Renault Twingo 1.2 petrol (07 on)
New price range: £10,350
Used price range: £3,143 - £8,277