Renault Twingo (2014-2019) Review
The Twingo is a cute and characterful city car – not least because of its rear-wheel drive layout.
Strengths & weaknesses
The Twingo finds itself in a city car market that boasts a number of popular and successful rivals – the Volkswagen Up/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii triumvirate and Hyundai i10 spring immediately to mind – so Renault had to up its game to gain a foothold in the metropolitan market.
To do this, the French carmaker teamed up with Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz and Smart, to develop the outgoing model (which shares a platform and components with the Smart Forfour).
The new Twingo retains the cuteness factor of previous generations in its design, at the same time adopting the French brand’s next generation of styling, to give it an air of sophisticated modernity. But it’s still cute.
It’s also an appealing overall package - the smart (no pun intended) design combining with the kind of funky, youth-oriented cabin and practicality that enables most grown-ups to sit in the rear without feeling too cramped. There’s also an R&GO connectivity system that makes the most of your smartphone, or the R-Link multimedia system to offer more features. This technology will have particular appeal to younger buyers, who will appreciate that Renault has built this is a car with them in mind.
The i10 and Up/Citigo/Mii (which are three versions of the same Volkswagen Group car) are all fun to drive, so the Twingo has its work cut out in this department. It does succeed in a couple of areas. First, mounting the engine in the rear means that the front wheels have more room to turn, so the Twingo has a tighter turning circle, which is a real boon in town. If you’ve ever envied a London cab’s ability to turn around, envy no more. The second feature is a fairly high-set driver’s seat, which improves all-round visibility, and comes in handy when parking.
Otherwise, there’s nothing particularly impressive about the Twingo’s handling, but it’s perfectly accomplished for all that. Plus it rides decently, too, not feeling unduly disturbed by the speed humps that are a regular feature of our towns and cities today.
The Twingo was notably more expensive than its rivals, even the more desirable Volkswagen Up, but used car prices have seen this difference diminish.
Because the technology used in the Twingo was more up-to-date than rivals that were introduced before it, new buyers saw the Twingo as money well spent, while used buyers will notice that the touchscreen that controls many of the car’s features has aged well.
|Warranty||2 years/100,000 miles|
|Boot size||188/980 litres|
|Tax||From £140 to £160 in first year and £140 thereafter|
Best Renault Twingo for...
Best for Economy – Renault Twingo Dynamique SCe 70 S&S
The addition of a Stop & Start system to the lower-powered, non-turbocharged SCe 70 improves efficiency to 67.3mpg and lowers CO2 emissions to 95g/km.
Best for Families – Renault Twingo Dynamique Energy TCe 90 S&S
The more powerful turbocharged model shaves 3.7 seconds off the 0-62mph time, compared to the SCe 70, but barely hampers fuel efficiency, making this the best-all-rounder in the range.
Best for Performance – Renault Twingo GT TCe 110
Best for performance: Renault Twingo GT TCe 110 Introduced at the end of 2016, the GT is a warm city car, rather than a hot hatch, but its 9.6-second 0-62mph time is the quickest in the range – making it fun to drive.
2014: The third-generation Renault Twingo makes its debut Geneva Motor Show.
Late 2014: Goes on sale in the UK.
December 2016: The Dynamique S trim level gets updated and GT version added to the line-up.
Understanding Renault Twingo names
Trim level Dynamique
There are five trim levels – Expression, Play, Dynamique, Dynamique S and GT – that increase in price as they add features to the specification.
Engine TCe 90
The Twingo range has two petrol engines, expressed as SCe 70 for a 70hp non-turbocharged unit and TCe 90 for a turbocharged 90hp version.
Renault Twingo Engines
SCe 70, TCe 90, TCe 110
There’s a choice of two three-cylinder petrol engines in the Twingo, a turbocharged 0.9-litre engine and non-turbocharged 1.0-litre unit.
The larger, but lower-powered, unit produces just 70hp, and consumes fuel at a rate of 56.5mpg, which improves considerably to 67.3mpg with the Stop & Start system: CO2 emissions are 112g/km (95g/km with S&S). The 0-62mph time is a pretty relaxed 14.5 seconds, so it's not a quick machine, by any means, but as a city car that’s par for the course.
The addition of a turbocharger to the 0.9-litre engine improves performance (and, compared to the base SCe 70 version, efficiency) considerably: 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km are good for owners’ pockets, while the reduction of the 0-62mph time to 10.8 seconds adds a welcome element of pep. Replacing the five-speed manual gearbox with an EDC six-speed dual-clutch doesn’t hamper the acceleration, but it does reduce the fuel economy to 58.9mpg and increase CO2 emissions to 108g/km.
The GT version ratchets up the power of the turbocharged engine to 110hp and trims the 0-62mph time to 9.6 seconds – which is still not quick, but tangibly feels more fun, especially in conjunction with the sportier suspension set-up. Efficiency and emissions are compromised (54.3mpg and 115g/km), but not radically so, or enough to hamper your enjoyment of the specialist RenaultSport division’s tweaks.
Renault Twingo Trims
Expression, Play, Dynamique, Dynamique S, GT
Renault offers five trim levels with the Twingo, with some specific to one or other of the two engine options.
The base Expression level is available with the R&GO connectivity feature, which enable smartphone syncing and a range of functions via a special app, including navigation, telephone, internet radio and multimedia and trip computer functions. The system works via Bluetooth, with USB connection behind the built-in cradle. Also available on Expression are body-coloured bumpers, door handles and mirrors, a rear spoiler and LED daytime running lights, electric front windows, central locking, height-adjustable steering wheel, for airbags, tyre pressure warning, ESC stability control, hill start assist and emergency brake assist.
Cars in Play trim add air conditioning, height-adjustable driver’s seat, 15-inch alloys, front foglamps, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob, white instrument backlighting and storage pockets in the rear doors.
Dynamique adds stop/start for better economy, while Dynamique S (which is only available with the TCe 90 engine) has 16-inch alloys, sporty decals and a ‘touch pack’ (comprising front grille insert, door mirrors and door protectors) on the exterior and another on the interior (steering wheel, centre console and air vent flashes), plus an aluminium pedal set and red/black part leather upholstery.
The range-topping GT version (introduced at the end of 2016) adds features including 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, sports suspension, GT body kit, twin chrome exhaust pipes and tinted rear windows.
A number of customisation options existed, allowing buyers to inject some of their own personality. This included interior style packs, a full-length electric sunroof, rear parking sensors and audio system upgrades. Take this into account when choosing a used Twingo, as it may affect resale value.
Renault Twingo Reliability and warranty
The Twingo performed well in the Auto Express 2016 Driver Power survey, appearing at 48th place in the list of most reliable models.
Renault comes a creditable 11th in the table of most reliable manufacturers, thanks to a good showing from some of the company’s models, such as the Zoe and Kadjar.
The warranty covers four years and up to 100,000 miles, which is slightly better than the average in the car industry - although not quite as good as Hyundai’s five years and Kia’s seven years.
Used Renault Twingo
This Twingo had a relatively short lifespan, but owing to its popularity there are many examples on the used car market. While the SCe 70 engine was popular, owners spent more to upgrade to the more powerful TCe 90. Fortunately, their costs are very similar used.