Renault Twingo Review: Model | Twingo | Car Buyers Guide

2009 Renault Twingo Review


If a couch potato dons a pair of Puma runners and Jamaican running shorts it doesn't make him an Olympic sprinter. In the car world we're overrun with Sport this and GT that so it's with some trepidation that we accepted the invite to Renault's launch of the Twingo Renaultsport.

After all, the Twingo is just a city car. It's not a bad one at all, but it's made to a price, with value-for-money higher up the list of its maker's priorities than the car's dynamic prowess. Yet the Renaultsport badge has adorned some cracking drivers' cars in the past few years, so surely Renault wouldn't want its image tarnished?

Seeing the new Twingo Renaultsport in daylight is a good start. Gone are the cute, but at times awkward, looks of the regular car. New bumpers, side sills and a roof spoiler play a part in that, but the car's sporty new stance is thanks to significantly wider track – front and rear – that necessitated the fitment of beefier wings. The new alloys help too, of course.

Inside, the addition of sports seats, a leather steering wheel and blood-orange seat belts manage to lift the interior ambience and give the Twingo a higher sense of quality than the regular models in the range, though the driving position is far from sporting and the steering wheel, nice as it is, doesn't adjust for reach.

Buyers have plenty of customisation options inside and out, including colour-matched ignition keys and the cringingly named 'power pads', which replace the Renaultsport pedals with versions that feature MP3-player symbols. Turning the garish key to bring the engine to life is promising though, as the 1.6-litre unit barks into life and it sounds even better on the move, though it gives its best in the mid-range, which is kind of odd for a tuned naturally aspirated engine.

The Renaultsport Twingo isn't over endowed with power by any means, so it won't scare insurers or new drivers, but it makes great use of the 133hp available, with excellent traction and a chassis that deserves the Renaultsport tag. Even the basic car corners quickly with little body roll, loads of grip, a modicum of feedback and adjustability. Buyers can also specify the Cup chassis, which, along with sexier alloys, stiffens the whole caboodle up further. It's a hoot, though sadly a little too uncomfortable for our roads.

When the Twingo Renaultsport arrives on Irish shores, it should just beat the Fiat 500 Abarth to the chase and though prices for neither car have been announced, mainland Europe pricing for the Twingo makes it a few thousand euro less than the Fiat. It should make for an interesting battle.


Interior image caption: Inside, the addition of sports seats, a leather steering wheel and blood-orange seat belts lift the interior ambience




Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133



1,598cc 4-cyl



133hp, 160Nm



5-sp manual



0-100km/h 8.7 seconds


Top speed




7.0 litres/100km


CO2 emissions



CO2 Tax Band

D (€430 p.a.)





Boot capacity

165 - 285 litres


Base Price




Looks, personality, drive



Cup chassis' ride is too hard for Ireland






Login to leave a comment

Login with Facebook Login with Twitter