Renault Twizy (2012) Review

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Renault Twizy (2012) At A Glance

4/5

+Electrically powered with a 50 miles range. Quirky mix of a moped and small city two-seater. Ideal for city commuting. 5 year warranty from December 2019.

-Doors are an optional extra. Minimal protection from the elements. Can't be parked in motorcycle bays or driven in bus lanes. Top speed of 53mph.

Insurance Groups are between 10–11

The Twizy is a car that could only come from Renault. The French brand occasionally goes a bit loopy, giving the world cars that look more like concepts than production ready models. The Avantime and the Vel Satis are prime examples. They may be hit and miss but you could never accuse the firm of following the norm. So the Twizy is in good company.

So what exactly is it? Well it's sort of a mix between a moped, a quad bike and a small city two-seater like the Smart ForTwo. You need a full car licence to drive it, it's not classified as a motorbike but a quadracycle so you don't need a crash helmet, but it does carry two people - just about anyway - with the passenger sitting right behind the driver.

Prices start at £6,690 plus you'll want the doors which are £545. That's still affordable as a second or even third car if you live in London while the top model is £7,400 and gets the neat alloy wheels. You do have to factor in the cost of leasing the battery though. Prices vary depending on how many miles you want to cover each year and the length of the contract. But an average price is £54 which is for 6000 miles a year on a two year contract. It doesn't however qualify for the £5000 government electric car grant scheme as it's not classified as a car.

From January 2013 a new category comes in which means 16-year-olds can drive a vehicle weighing up to 350kg that's limited to 30mph. Details aren't clear at the moment but it will require a driving test including both theory and practical parts. If this is the case then Renault would no doubt work to make the Twizy 45 meet the requirements.

The Twizy may be more suited to Spanish beach resorts than UK roads and as a result the firm may only sell a handful here, but it's reassuring to know that cars like this are being built. Nothing is as innovative or matches it for sheer quirkiness and the motoring world is definitely a richer place for it.

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Need a congestion charge friendly car - suggestions?
"My wife needs a car that can travel through London's Congestion Charge Zone with no fee as it will be a daily journey, which will also be used for work post the commute racking up approx. 100 miles per day. What can you recommend?"
There is only one proper new car: The latest model Toyota Prius on standard 15-inch wheels that qualifies by emitting 70g/k, CO2. Otherwise she has to go for a plug-in hybrid, such as a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, or a purely electric car such as a Renault Zoe or a Nissan Leaf or a Volkswagen eUp. The Zoe is reasonably affordable from £17,995 including battery but unfortunately the eUp is £25k. As a further alternative she could go for a Renault Twizy from £6,995 but would need to be able to plug it in somewhere to travel 100 miles. She could also look for a second hand G-Wizz. Or go all out and get a Tesla Model S 70 from £58,300.
Answered by Honest John
Can my wife learn to drive in a Renault Twizy?
"My wife has never had a full driving licence. I contacted Renault to ask if their electric Twizzy model is approved for learner drivers, and for taking the driving test. Despite a few calls, they have been unable to answer the question. I imagine that it is very unlikely, but it would be interesting to know. Any ideas?"
In some markets it's classed as a quadricycle. I picked this up from a road test: "A lower-powered model called the Twizy 45 (4Kw, 5hp), that can be driven without a driving licence, will also launch, and will be ideal for those yet to pass their test. However, due to prohibitive legislation, it won’t be available in the UK just yet." And: "Quadricycle regulations came into force on January 19 2013 and have prompted a re-think about the Twizy model range in the UK by Renault. The French firm’s tandem two-seat electric vehicle comes in two different guises in Europe, the conventional Twizy and the Twizy 45. The UK market was initially set to receive the higher-powered Twizy only. However, following the new guidelines, Renault is now contemplating selling the Twizy 45 alongside the Twizy from next year. Head of Electric Vehicle Programme at Renault UK, Andy Heiron said: “We’re not saying it will be available in the UK yet, but if we can make it happen, we will. “If it does come to the UK though, expect the Twizy 45 to cost between £400 to £500 less than the Twizy, going off price comparisons from Europe.” That means the Twizy 45 would cost around £6,200 if it were to go on sale in the UK. However young motorists at 16 years of age would face the significant cost of insurance. “Premiums could be as much as £4,000,” Heiron told MSN Cars, but given the restricted nature of the vehicle, this is expected to drop quickly. The Twizy 45 falls under the European AM category for mopeds, meaning drivers would still have to pass a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training), driving theory and practical test. The test will not be as rigorous or as in depth as that for a proper car, however – a contentious point given young 16-year-old motorists will share roads with more powerful, safer and faster cars without as much training required for a full UK driving licence. However, the new initiative will mean younger drivers will have more experience of driving and road craft when making the transition to a conventional car."
Answered by Honest John
Faulty Twizy seat
"I bought a new Twizy on 18th May. On getting home found back seat faulty, it had been ripped from attaching rivet. Rang the garage (who I'm pretty sure new of the fault all along) and they said that they would pick it up and repair it. They picked it up on 30th May. To date, approx one month later they have not fixed it. They say they are waiting for parts from France. They have given me a replacement Twizy until mine has been fixed. What are my rights? Can I ask for my money back? Can I ask for compensation?"
If they can't fix yours ask them to transfer ownership of the replacement Twizy to you.
Answered by Honest John
Why aren't electric cars being aimed at older drivers in rural locations?
"I no longer drive conventional cars, but I live in the country and much enjoy travelling our lanes on my electric buggy. I am a fairly tough old fella and am not much deterred by the exposure to the elements that my buggy rides involve, but it occurred to me that the car designers/makers are missing an opportunity. There are increasing numbers of older people living in the country who don't drive far or fast and could manage very well with a good electric car, which ought to be much cheaper to make and to run than the conventional combustion engine-driven machines. However I almost never see electric cars down our way. What do you think? "
Electric cars are actually much more expensive to make than conventional cars because they are not made in volumes that achieve economies of scale, and the batteries are very expensive indeed. That’s partly why the original Mitsubishi i-MIEV was originally listed at a gobsmacking £38,000. There is, of course, the mass produced Renault Twizy, from £6500 (you rent the batteries), and the forthcoming Renault Zoe from £15,000.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Renault Twizy (2012) cost?