Review: Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012)

Rating:

Quite cute and very roomy for four. Not a bad drive. Brilliant sliding rear seats. Sharp steering only 1.6 turns lock to lock.

Lacks the practical charm of the original and cute looks of the original.

Recently Added To This Review

27 February 2018

Report of failure of pedal box of 2009 Renault Twingo at 43.077 miles. Replacement cost £208. Read more

17 September 2013

Strange report of problems filling the tank on 26k mile 4 year old Twingo. Diagnosed as stuck anti-splash valve, which is integral to the tank, so new tanke needed. New tank fitted after 70% contribution... Read more

12 May 2010 New Twingo launched

Expression becomes the entry-level version, priced from just £7,695. This replaces the previous Freeway version and comes with new interior upholstery. I-Music replaces the Extreme and features... Read more

Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012): At A Glance

The biggest enemy of the new Twingo is the Fiat 500. Twingo prices are a bit lower, starting at £7,500 for the base model, rising through £8,375 for the Dynamique, to £9,995 for the TCE 100 GT tested here.

So it's not bargain basic and cheap like the original Twingo that found lots of friends for its 1959 Mini simplicity, low price and Kermit-like cuteness.

Renault was so afraid the old Twingo would steal Clio sales (and profits) they never made it right-hand drive. And that low end of the market (£5k - £6k new) is now mopped up by basic version of the Fiat Panda, Ford Ka, Citroen C1, Peugeot 107, Toyota Aygo and Kia Picanto.

Starting at £7,500, there's obviously a bit of money to be made from the new Twingo, for Renault and its dealers alike, if they can find a market for the car.

What does a Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012) cost?

List Price from £10,730
Buy new from £10,495
Contract hire from £158.33 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 3600–3607 mm
Width 1654–1688 mm
Height 1460–1470 mm
Wheelbase 2367–2368 mm

Full specifications

Really, it's almost identical in size and concept to the Citroen C2, that has sold steadily for Citroen. And it's a more practical car than the C2 because the back seats slide by about a foot, giving a choice of bootspace or decent rear legroom, assuming in an 11' 10" car you're never going to need both.

BMW plays for much higher stakes in the cuteness market. Its MINI is really nothing more than a small BMW in a very desirable disguise. Which is why BMW can start them at an eye-popping £11,625 without, alloys, aircon or discount.

Renault is looking at a much more price-sensitive market. The kind of people who want a trendy little car, but baulk at forking out eight to nine grand for a three year old MINI. Precisely the same market that FIAT might have snatched away with the simply gorgeous, must-have, perfectly recreated 500.

Park a 500 next to a Twingo, then ask 100 people to stand beside to the car they like best and you'll soon see which one is going to sell at full price. There isn't even a Twingo under 120g/km.

So Renault is going to have to pull a few rabbits out of its hat.

The rear-sliding seat is one of them. You don't get that or the rear legroom in a 500 or even in a MINI (or in a base model Twingo Extreme), and the rear load and passenger carrying capabilities of both 500 and MINI fall far short of the Twingo's.

The Twingo's rev counter in a column pod and digital speedo in front of the passenger are a bit different looking, but they're so far apart that if you try to read both you end up with eyes like Marty Feldman's.

 

Child seats that fit a Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012) like to drive?

Driving it, the gears are all very short, including top at just 20mph per 1,000rpm. So it's a bit raucous.

The short wheelbase means it's very darty and feels like you're driving on a racetack on an ordinary road, even though you're not going very fast. This will help testosterone teenagers impress their mates and their girlfriends without wiping out everyone in the car.

There's going to be a much quicker RenaultSport version with about 140bhp and I guess they'll do a sort of junior race series for them.

That might be the car's saviour. Get enough clever marketing behind a race series and the Twingo could acquire the kind of street cred that Vauxhall Corsas used to enjoy. Start a club. Run rallies and events. Maybe a spot of stunt driving. Grab the attention of the 18-30 crowd. You know when you've been Twingoed.

In trying to gauge the Twingo's appeal I gave rides to people at both ends of the age range. The 65 year old playboy liked the twinkling lights of the dashboard and digital speedo at night. The 17 year old girl, heavily into teenage fashion, just immediately liked it.

So, while it isn't a FIAT 500, it could have more appeal than I thought.

Remember that couple of Scottish birds in the Thelma and Louise commercials for the Peugeot 106? They made the 106 into a kind of icon and sold a lot of them.

We've got the MINI. We've got the FIAT 500. Maybe there is a market for an anti-retro different little car.

One that with those siding rear seats can seat four very comfortably indeed.

 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 50–55 mpg 12.3–15.0 s 119–130 g/km
Gordini 100 50 mpg 9.8 s 132 g/km
Gordini 133 42 mpg 8.7 s 155 g/km

Real MPG average for a Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

85%

Real MPG

28–55 mpg

MPGs submitted

33

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Renault Twingo (2007 – 2012)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Do any small cars have sliding rear seats?

My wife has a 2014 Hyundai I10, which we use for shopping and transporting our two grandsons in Isofix car seats. The boys are growing, now 6 and 3, and have started to complain of lack of legroom. We need to change, but don't really want anything a lot bigger. Would a car with sliding rear seats give us more rear leg room? We do not usually have much in the boot, when we have the boys?
The previous model Renault Twingo could be obtained with sliding rear seat that gave a lot more legroom and almost no luggage room: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/renault/renault-twingo-gt-2008-road-test/ You could also get them in the original Smart ForFour: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/smart/smart-forfour-2004-road-test/? and the Mitsubishi Colt: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/mitsubishi/mitsubishi-colt-5-door-2004-road-tes/? But it's not a feature I've seen in small cars since then.
Answered by Honest John
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