When Renault introduced the Twingo GT, many motoring journalists scoffed, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times. They said it was slow, and that if you pushed it hard in corners it would understeer instead of "settling into a nice, smoky drift". Well, what did they expect? Criticising this small city car for not being a Porsche, even though it does have its engine in the back, is like "criticising it for not being any good at unblocking the sink".
True, city cars are "silly", says Clarkson, because cities are the one place you don't need a car, and city cars are too slow for anything else getting up motorways or hills, for example. But Renault has given this city car "real-world poke". It still has a tiny 0.9-litre engine, but it's turbo-charged and produces a "thrummy, off-beat" 108 horsepower.
That may not sound like much, but it's what you used to get from the original Golf GTI. "I liked it," says Clarkson. It's an amusing car that will make you smile. It looks "tremendous". And you can even just about get a family up the motorway in one. "A nifty, practical car that looks good and make you happy. All for £14,000."
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As a city car, the Twingo is smart, agrees Stephen Dobie in Top Gear. It's "absurdly manoeuvrable", with a turning circle half that of a London taxi, and is an "absolute doddle" to park and "uncannily easy to thread through congested traffic". Just don't expect true hot-hatch performance or to be able to carry more than a few bags in the tiny boot. It is a flawed but very enjoyable car, agrees James Taylor in Car, and the characterful GT is the most likeable model of the range.
Price: £14,085Top speed: 113mph0-62mph: 9.6 secondsFuel economy: 54.3mpg
Stuart graduated from the University of Leeds with an honours degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and from Bath Spa University College with a postgraduate diploma in creative writing.
He started his career in journalism working on newspapers and magazines for the medical profession before joining MoneyWeek shortly after its first issue appeared in November 2000. He has worked for the magazine ever since, and is now the comment editor.
He has long had an interest in political economy and philosophy and writes occasional think pieces on this theme for the magazine, as well as a weekly round up of the best blogs in finance.
His work has appeared in The Lancet and The Idler and in numerous other small-press and online publications.
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