First off I accept the Renault Twingo has never meant much to Irish motorists. However, two decades after it revolutionised the small car segment with the first-generation Twingo, Renault has taken a fresh look at its city car.
The brand’s engineers and designers started from a blank sheet of paper and took their inspiration from the legacy left by the original Twingo and the Renault 5. The result is a new, innovative and agile car that Renault says is great fun to drive.
Last week saw Renault take the wraps off the new Twingo, the appeal of which includes a choice of four striking colours and a truly assertive personality.
In 2008 Renault said its engineers and designers set out to create the next-generation Twingo with the aim of rekindling the innovative spirit that was such a hallmark of the original Twingo released in 1992.
The aim was to create an even roomier and more agile city car, despite its smaller footprint, and this is how the idea of switching to a rear-mounted engine took form, in spite of the higher development costs this entailed.
Renault’s thoughts found an echo in those of Daimler which, at the same time, was exploring ideas for the next-generation two and four-seat versions of the Smart. After early talks, a strategic cooperation agreement was concluded by the two firms in 2010, marking the official green light for the joint-development of the new Twingo and the next versions of the two and four-seat Smart.
Positioning the engine at the rear is a significant plus for a small city car since it frees up the front end and considerably improves the turning circle. Indeed, the new Twingo is surprisingly manoeuvrable in built-up areas, and parking calls for only a few turns of the steering wheel.
Combined with the use of a smaller block and the positioning of the wheels at the car’s extreme corners, the rear-mounted engine also frees up extra cabin space, while the new Twingo also boasts the sort of wheelbase and roomy interior more generally associated with models in the next segment up.
Renault claims that thanks to its pleasantly agile handling, spacious cabin and small front end, the new Twingo delivers all the fundamentals that made the initial Twingo such a hit on the Continent.