This is the new Renault Twingo that’s due to arrive in showrooms this September. Renault’s smallest model bar the quirky Twizy, the third-gen Twingo is the first in the car’s 24-year history to come with five doors. The all-new model has been co-developed with Mercedes, which will use it for its Smart ForTwo and ForFour models.
Haven’t we seen this car before?
The completely new look is clearly a polished, showroom-friendly mix of the Ross Lovegrove-massaged Twin’Z concept, and the rally-centric Twin’Run concepts shown in 2013. Renault’s head of design, Laurens van den Acker, makes no secret of the fact that both of these concepts, in turn, are influenced by the legendary Renault 5 from the 1980s and that has carried over into the Twingo. If it’s only half as cool…
With next-to-no front and rear overhang, the new Twingo looks like a potential return to form for Renault, after the luke-warm reception of the Clio and the recent crook corporate nose slapped onto the Megane. The Twingo’s diminutive size also bodes well for supermarket carparks as well as the handling circuit.
There are also touches like the concealed rear door handles, like big-brother Clio, with personalisation high on the agenda, as per the Vauxhall Adam, Fiat 500 and the one they’re all imitating – the Mini. The Twingo can be had with colour coordinated profile graphics to match wing mirrors, grill inserts and cabin trim.
What’s beneath the funky skin?
That biggest single change is that the Twingo has gone from a conventional front-wheel drive, front-engined hatch to become a rear-drive mite sporting a rear-mounted engine, tilted for better packaging, including more interior space.
Following the trend of downsizing and turbocharging, there’s new powerplants, too: an 898cc three-cylinder turbocharged engine that’s already on sale in the Captur and Clio. It will make 89bhp, while there’s also an entry-level 69bhp naturally-aspirated engine too.
Renault says that the new set-up will provide more agility and give the Twingo a more playful character – but we’ll wait until we drive it to judge that. It should also easily eclipse the current car’s best of 62.8mpg and 104g/km of CO2 – the three-pot turbo already achieves a claimed 65.7mpg in the larger, heavier Clio.
So that makes a great case for a Twingo RS, yeah?
Sure does. We’d love to see what a Renaultsport-honed rear-drive hatch could do – the old Twingo RS was an absolute pearler. Renault ditched the Twingo RS mid-last year, and while it won’t confirm a new version will appear, it hasn’t ruled out handing one over to most talented tuners in Dieppe. We’d wager on a new Twingo RS appearing later this year with more power and less weight than the old 133PS (131bhp) version…
The new Twingo will be offered in more trim levels than the current model, which is down to a single mid-spec variant. Renault’s value-driven Dacia brand has taken up the slack, but for the 2014 Twingo there’s scope for more trim levels to be offered. The other good news? It should start at less than £10k – a handy £715 less than the Twingo’s current ask.